Lords of Lord’s

As test number 2000 was played at Lord’s last weekend, there was no millennium bug in the England side, who claimed victory over India in the first test by 196 runs. With 29 overs to spare, a superb performance from England brought India’s batting to a swift end on Monday, bowling the visitors all out for 261.

The first innings displayed Kevin Pieterson’s mastery with a bat as his score clocked 202 not out. His 18th test century, and fifth at Lord’s, Pieterson said he had ‘never worked so hard’ after receiving his man of the match award. It’s true, you rarely see him have to graft so arduously, and for such an applaudable result, but he wasn’t the only one shining. Stuart Broad proved to the critics that his skills were up to test standard taking 4 wickets for 37 in the first innings and another 3 in the second. Unfortunately for Broad his captain missed a sitter of a catch in the slips on Sunday, denying the 25 year old of his name on the Lord’s board of 5-wicket haulers.

Still, the sun was shining and the crowd were in high spirits as India fell flat with the bat. The visitor’s main weapons, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid gave a respectable show of skill but Broad’s choice to bowl at length and Anderson’s bullet pace in the second innings seemed to nullify the confidence of the world-class batters.

Though England scaled 474-8 in the first innings, India caused a stir taking three wickets for two runs in the second innings which left England vulnerable at 56-4. A tense few overs for England displayed young blood Ishant Sharma’s dangerous form, which will be a threat to watch out for when the second test begins at Trent Bridge on Friday. Despite this early upset, England held on to declare again at 269 for six, dropping only two more wickets. They proceeded then to destroy India’s hopes of clawing back the 457 runs that they trailed when returning at the crease, to become the victorious Lords of Lord’s on the final day.

Although plenty of jubilation is deserved, it’s crucial that England don’t get ahead of themselves now. You see, the point to remember amid the rapturous celebration of England’s performance, is that this is India, the best test side in the world. They will come back strong and hard, and cling onto their No.1 title with all the grit and determination of the professionals that they are.

Let’s hope England can stay grounded and get their psychological game right to enter the next test focused and ready for a fight. We don’t want to see a repeat of old Beefy’s antics circa 1981…

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The Beautiful Game

Ambassadors In Sport and ChristChurch, London run a project to bring children from the Vauxhall Gardens Estate together to play football. A popular event, attracting around 80 youngsters each week from ages six to 16, it has a lot to offer. I volunteer every Monday night and recently produced this video to encourage others to get involved too. A taste of what is happening in SE11. I also blogged here about it recently …