Bresnan steps up to blow India away
England beat India by 319 runs at Trent Bridge yesterday to defeat the world's best Test team for the second match in succession.
They now have an unbeatable position in the series and one more win from the next two games, or two draws, will enable them to leapfrog their opponents at the top of the Test rankings -- something many feel they have already done following the crushing nature of their victory here.
It was a pounding, delivered with the swaggering elan of the two finest sides of the past 30 years -- the West Indies under Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards, and Australia under Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh.
England are not yet as consistently ruthless as those teams, but successive wins against India appear to have given them an appetite for world domination, judging from the one-sided nature of the cricket here.
India scarcely turned up once Stuart Broad had kept England in the game with bat then ball over the opening two days. Whereas the destiny of the Lord's Test was not obvious until after lunch on the final day, this never looked in doubt even before Ian Bell's reprieve at tea on Sunday.
India were simply blown away by a superior force in all the three disciplines, with Tim Bresnan the stand-out performer yesterday after making 90 with the bat and taking his first five-wicket haul for England.
Bresnan has now played in eight Tests and England have won them all. Only Eldine Baptiste has a better record, ending up on the winning side in each of his 10 Tests for the West Indies during the mid-1980s.
Brought in here as a replacement for the injured Chris Tremlett, Bresnan did exactly as he did in the Ashes series over the winter, which was to take wickets in that deceptively simple way of his -- bowling straight and hitting the pitch hard.
Denied a Test hundred by a snorter from Praveen Kumar that the bowler in him would have appreciated -- it leapt from a good length to take the shoulder of his bat -- Bresnan the bowler basically assumed the enforcer role England's coaches once envisaged for Broad.
It was certainly effective, his 5-48 being the best of his Test career.
Bresnan terrorised India's middle order after James Anderson and Broad had made the initial inroads, Anderson uprooting VVS Laxman's off stump with arguably the ball of the match.
Abhinav Mukund, who might have been out first ball for the second time in the match had Bresnan not dropped a difficult catch off Anderson at second slip, became his first victim.
A left-hander, Mukund looked as if he might stonewall for two days until Bresnan produced a savage throat ball which the batsman gloved to Andrew Strauss at first slip.
With no time lost to rain during this match, the pitch was not refreshed, which made the bang-in ball more of a necessity by day four.
And boy did Bresnan enjoy banging it in, especially against Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, two of the less stoic among India's stroke-players.
Only Sachin Tendulkar refused to be cowed, though India's tail did swing the bat effectively after tea after the bowlers had tired.
Still tantalisingly poised on 99 international hundreds, Tendulkar set off as if wanting to get his century of centuries before he ran out of partners.
Anderson, so often his nemesis, was driven for several fours, a fate all the bowlers suffered until he had reached his 50 -- at which point Anderson returned to dismiss him lbw with a ball almost identical to the one he had got him in the second innings at Lord's (darting in at middle and off stump), though on that occasion he did at least offer a stroke.
It was the seventh time Anderson had dismissed Tendulkar in Tests. (© Daily Telegraph, London)