With this Test series still in the balance, relations are visibly souring out on the pitch. Yesterday, both sides appeared more preoccupied with scoring points off each other in the match referee's room than by making runs out in the middle. This was no great loss, however, given the caution adopted by both sides on this excellent batting pitch.
Still smarting over Michael Vaughan's dismissal on the first day, England and their captain, Nasser Hussain, were quick to stir up a phoney war of words as India set off chasing their first innings total of 336. The incident which caused the coaches of both sides to seek an audience with the match referee, Denis Lindsay, came after the England captain had stationed himself at mid-off to Ashley Giles, 50 minutes after tea, when India were 85 for 3.
In England's occasionally overplayed pragmatism at recognising their own limitations, Giles had been ploughing away over the wicket into the rough. That meant that the non-striker, in this case Shiv Sunder Das, was on the off side. Hussain asked Das if he could move wider, as he was blocking his view of Sachin Tendulkar, who despite being on 45, had only played one shot in front of the wicket off Giles.
Usually, as a courtesy, the batsman obliges the fielder, but Das refused to budge.
At the end of the over, in what was widely and erroneously assumed to be a complaint by Tendulkar over Giles' negative bowling tactics, fingers were jabbed and bats pointed with enough vehemence for the umpire, A V Jayaprakash, to move in and tell both Hussain and the batsmen to get on with the game.
Further frank exchanges at drinks, a few minutes later, again saw both umpires tell the parties concerned to cool it. Tendulkar, who ended the day unbeaten on 50, looked incensed, and for once his bat was not the only thing he used to make a point with during play.
With adrenalin and testosterone mixing freely, something was bound to give. In the end it was, Das, his Zen-like concentration broken by the spat, promptly chopped on from Andrew Flintoff, who bowled superbly well in a display that possessed both fire and conviction.
After play, Lindsay said he was determined to oversee an incident-free series. "I went to see both coaches after play," he said. "I asked them to remind players of their responsibilities to the game. A few little things are happening out there."
One of those little things could be revenge. Since his savage inauguration as England captain in 1999, when New Zealand won 2-1, Hussain has shown himself to be a brilliant and ruthless leader. This tour appears to have added cynicism to those qualities and he knows full well that five Indian players, the captain, Sourav Ganguly, Tendulkar, Das, Harbhajan Singh and Deep Dasgupta all have one-match suspended sentences hanging over them until the end of January 2002. After Vaughan's undignified, though lawful dismissal, winding them up so that they react and incur a ban, may seem an obvious way to get even.
It would be a shame if England stooped so low over such a trivial matter. As underdogs here they have been widely and generously praised for the fighting spirit they have shown since losing the first Test in Mohali. Young players, in the term so beloved of the England coach, Duncan Fletcher, have come to the party, something both Flintoff and James Foster did again yesterday with performances of real Test quality.
Foster's nerve appears to be steadying with every match, particularly with the bat. After starting yesterday's play on 255 for 6, England lost Craig White, expertly psyched, then bounced out by Javagal Srinath, after just 16 runs.
Four weeks ago collapse would have been imminent, but Foster has learnt to score off more than just bad balls, especially when the spinners are bowling. Crisp driving and clever placement of deliveries he previously blocked, as well as a useful 28 from Giles, saw England past 300.
A maiden half-century looked certain, but like his captain on the previous day, he edged Srinath to Dasgupta. One ball later, Giles followed lbw after missing his heave at Sarandeep Singh, which set the stage for Anil Kumble to trap Hoggard lbw and claim his 300th Test wicket, a feat loudly acclaimed by his home-town crowd.
Kumble is a clever bowler, something no one would yet accuse Flintoff of being. But if brain is something that usually improves batting, it is not essential for bowling fast. Yesterday, Flintoff clocked 92mph, the fastest ball of the series. Unfortunately, he also has the accolade for the fastest dismissal too, his last four Test innings lasting a total of 13 balls.
For the second day in a row, the use of floodlights allowed play to go on, though with Flintoff operating at full steam there were many who wished it had not. Hurtling in with his new, but not yet smooth action, Flintoff removed Dasgupta for a duck.
Pace on its own is not usually enough to get class batsmen out and Vangipurappu Laxman, who came in at No 3 whipped his first ball from Flintoff, for four through midwicket. A superb pull shot for another boundary off the same bowler followed, but such dominance was short-lived as Flintoff produced the ball of the match. Bowled from wide of the crease, the ball jagged back eight inches at pace to leave Laxman, a very dangerous batsman, powerless as his middle stump was knocked back.
Later, when Das also fell, Flintoff had surely secured not only his best figures in Test cricket, beating the 2 for 31 against South Africa two year's ago in Port Elizabeth, but a place on the February's tour to New Zealand.
Second day; England won toss
ENGLAND First Innings
(Overnight: 255 for 6)
M A Butcher run out
97 min, 51 balls, 4 fours
M E Trescothick c Laxman b Srinath 8
34 min, 25 balls, 1 four
*N Hussain c Dasgupta b Srinath 43
96 min, 64 balls, 5 fours, 1 six
M P Vaughan handled the ball 64
178 min, 138 balls, 8 fours
M R Ramprakash c Dravid
b Sarandeep Singh 58
164 min, 133 balls, 5 fours
A Flintoff c Tendulkar
b Sarandeep Singh 0
3 min, 4 balls
C White c Das b Srinath 39
117 min, 93 balls, 6 fours
ÝJ S Foster c Dasgupta b Srinath 48
200 min, 142 balls, 4 fours
A F Giles lbw b Sarandeep Singh 28
101 min, 80 balls, 3 fours
R K J Dawson not out 0
12 min, 4 balls
M J Hoggard lbw b Kumble 1
9 min, 10 balls
Extras (b8 lb9 nb3) 20
Total (510 min, 123.3 overs) 336
Fall: 1-21 (Trescothick) 2-68 (Butcher) 3-93 (Ramprakash) 4-206 (Vaughan) 5-206 (Flintoff) 6-219 (Ramprakash) 7-271 (White) 8-334 (Foster) 9-334 (Giles) 10-336 (Hoggard).
Bowling: Srinath 29-9-73-4 (7-2-20-1, 5-1-19-1, 6-3-10-0, 7-2-16-1, 4-1-8-1); Ganguly 13-3-39-0 (nb1) (7-0-30-0, 6-3-9-0); Kumble 29.3-6-74-1 (6-1-16-0, 3-0-11-0, 3-0-11-0, 2-0-3-0, 8-4-18-0, 7-1-15-0, 0.3-0-0-1); Harbhajan Singh 27-7-59-0 (nb1) (5-2-12-0, 11-1-28-0, 3-1-5-0, 8-3-14-0); Sarandeep Singh 21-5-54-3 (nb1) (1-0-4-0, 6-1-12-0, 1-1-0-0, 9-2-29-2, 2-0-6-0, 2-1-3-1); Tendulkar 3-0-19-0, Sehwag 1-0-1-0 (one spell each).
Progress: First day: Play delayed until 10am because of a damp outfield. Hours of play for remainder of Test rescheduled to 10.00-17.00. 50: 74 mins, 13.4 overs. Lunch: 82-2 (Hussain 41, Vaughan 4) 26 overs. 100: 147 mins, 31.5 overs. 150: 205 min, 47.3 overs. Tea: 176-3 (Vaughan 56, Ramprakash 33) 58 overs. 200: 268 min, 65.1 overs. Bad light stopped play 4.20-4.46pm 231-6 (White 17, Foster 3) 76 overs. 250: 332 min, 80.5 overs. BLSP 5.19pm-close 255-6 (White 30, Foster 14) 86 overs. Second day: Play began at 9.44am. New ball taken immediately. 300 in 449 min, 108.3 overs. Lunch: 325-7 (Foster 45, Giles 22) 119 overs. Innings closed: 1.04pm.
Vaughan's 50: 126 min, 93 balls, 7 fours. Ramprakash's 50: 141 min, 125 balls, 4 fours.
INDIA First Innings
S S Das b Flintoff 28
150 min, 105 balls, 4 fours
ÝD Dasgupta c Trescothick b Flintoff 0
15 min, 7 balls
V V S Laxman b Flintoff 12
26 min, 18 balls, 2 fours
S R Tendulkar not out 50
139 min, 103 balls, 9 fours
R S Dravid not out 1
31 min, 26 balls
Extras (b4 lb3 nb1) 8
Total (for 3, 182 min, 43 overs) 99
Fall: 1-8 (Dasgupta) 2-22 (Laxman) 3-88 (Das).
To bat: *S C Ganguly, V Sehwag, A Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, J Srinath, Sarandeep Singh.
Bowling: Hoggard 6-3-16-0 (one spell), Flintoff 15-4-30-3 (7-1-17-2, 8-3-13-1); Giles 16-8-25-0, White 6-2-21-0 (nb1) (one spell).
Progress: Second day: Tea: 42-2 (Das 11, Tendulkar 16) 18 overs. 50: 96 min, 21.5 overs. Bad light stopped play 4.39pm.
Tendulkar's 50: 128 min, 98 balls, 9 fours.
Umpires: E A R de Silva and A V Jayaprakash.
TV Replay Umpire: F Gomes.
Match Referee: D T Lindsay.Reuse content