x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

England revel in Broad change as Dravid does in Sachin's shadow

It was a day of unlikely heroes who came up smiles at the end of day three of the first Test between England and India at Lord's.

Rahul Dravid was not to be denied a century this time after he was out for 96 at this very venue in his debut game at Lord's.
Rahul Dravid was not to be denied a century this time after he was out for 96 at this very venue in his debut game at Lord's.

It was a day of unlikely heroes who came up smiles at the end of day three of the first Test between England and India at Lord's.

Stuart Broad produced the best spell of bowling since his Ashes-winning stint at the Oval in 2009 and put his success down to a change of approach.

Broad had excelled that day with five for 37 with his short-pitched bowling troubling the Australians and even been labelled as England's "enforcer" by fast-bowling coach David Saker.

Both team director Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss had to distance themselves from that label in the build-up to this series though as Broad has been labouring for much of the summer, with many questions being raised about his selection ahead of Steve Finn and Tim Bresnan, whom he edged out in the final XI selection.

Broad admitted he would still look to the bouncer when necessary but, after claiming four for 37 to help England to a 193-run run lead at the end of day three at Lord's, he admitted he had been revitalised by attacking the stumps rather than the ribcage.

"I think it was quite obvious I bowled a fuller length today," he said.

"I think that worked, getting the batsmen driving, and that length can still hit the stumps on a pretty slow Lord's wicket. I'll obviously look to do that in the future as well.

"Within the changing room, everyone has always known I'm best when I pitch the ball up and get a little bit of movement.

"We all know within the changing room the way I bowled today is certainly the way to go but if we need to rough a batsman up I am more than happy to do that."

The other hero of the day was Rahul Dravid from the rival camp.

The stage was set for Sachin Tendulkar to make his 100th international century in the 2000th Test to be staged at the home of cricket, but instead the show was stolen by Dravid, whose unbeaten 103 spared India from following on.

It came just in time as well with both stalwarts 38 years old and this match arguably represents their last chance to make amends to their glittering careers full of runs but missing a century at this ground.

Dravid seized his opportunity yesterday, with an imperious innings that lasted 220 balls and included 15 fours, but Tendulkar lost a fascinating duel with a revitalised Broad, who had him caught by Graeme Swann for 34.

Far from envying the attention lavished on Tendulkar, Dravid said he was fine with staying out of the spotlight.

"In some ways it suits me because all the pressure's on him (Tendulkar)," Dravid said. "I can sit by quietly and do the business."

Dravid was out for 96 when he made his Test debut on this very ground in 1996 and said the memory had played on his mind.

"To miss out on a hundred in my first Test 15 years ago was something that stayed with me for a little bit," he said. "It was there in my mind but I had one more game and it was fantastic to come here and score a hundred like this, because it is special. There are some great names on that honors board."

India will now need another hero to come up with the ball like Praveen Kumar did in the first innings to do their best to limit double centurion Kevin Pietersen and the lot from putting a huge target and hope Tendulkar comes good in what could probably be his last walk out in the middle at the hallowed venue.