England finished on 229 for the loss of 5 wickets on day 1 of the first test match in Chennai. The fact that this series is going on after the Mumbai attacks is really wonderful as this would help to shift the focus of the people in India. England had a great start to the day when Pieterson called right at the toss and decided to bat first. Everyone knows that the key to success in India is to bat first and bat big. England did the first part right but let the advantage slip by scoring too slow and losing too many wickets.
The tourists at one stage were 164/1 and were looking good for a big first innings total but to finish on 229/5 was a poor effort. The fact that Paul Collingwood got a rough decision to be incorrectly given out by Billy Bowden did not help their cause either. While rest of the English top order looked scratchy, it looked as though Andrew Strauss was batting on a different pitch. Batting beautifully throughout the day he scored 123 before getting out caught and bowled to Amit Mishra.
Eventhough England batted poorly, nothing can be taken away from the Indian bowling on a flat batting track. As Harbajan rightly pointed out after the days play England could have easily scored 300 at the end of the day. Zaheer’s brilliant spell with the old ball and Harbajan’s twin strikes made sure that India finished up with a slight advantage on day one.
England still have Flintoff and Matt Prior in their ranks and they would be hoping for a total of 350-400. Day2 is going to be vital for England’s chances in this series. India would be hoping to get an early wicket to put pressure on the lower order. Its going to be an interesting day of test cricket.