India’s batting superstars will have to live up to all of their hype on the third day of their first Test with England as the hosts begin play in a commanding position and a certain sniff of taking the series initiative.
Kevin Pietersen’s marvellous double hundred in swinging conditions saw England reach 474-8 before declaring, although India’s opening two batsmen managed to see off a nervy six overs to end on 15-0 in their reply.
Following Pietersen’s run fest England are now 2/1 in the cricket odds to win the first Test, but the 2/5 available on the draw still seems the far more likely result.
The Lord’s pitch seems relatively flat and if England fail to benefit from advantageous overhead conditions, they will also struggle to take ten wickets.
Sachin Tendulkar may be one man especially keen to spend some time at the crease and it is 2/1 that he scores his 100th Indian century at Lord’s in this Test.
With the lack of bounce visible on the pitch, Chris Tremlett and Stuart Broad may find it difficult to get wickets, meaning that the spells of both James Anderson and Graeme Swann may prove most essential.
It will also be the first session of the morning that may have the greatest impact on the remainder of the match, with India showing that wickets can be taken with the new ball, particularly if Anderson can control his swing.
Openers Gautam Gambhir and Abhinav Mukund will begin the third day at the crease and have the job of setting the tone for the remainder of the innings.
Gambhir’s added experience makes him 5/4 to score 50 in India’s first innings, with 21-year-old left-hander Mukund 13/8 to register a half century of his own.