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Yuvraj passes the Nottingham 'Test'


Jaspreet Sahni,Cricketnext.com
Jul 31, 2011 at 10:14am IST

New Delhi: When everybody was talking about Sachin's ton of tons on Saturday, one man sitting silently in the Trent Bridge dressing room murmured, "Will it be my day?"

An injury to Gautam Gambhir had gifted Yuvraj Singh a Test appearance after a one-year gap. But the equation was tough: seaming conditions, England attack at its potent best and Yuvraj looking to revive his career in the whites.

Add to that the bouncer-wary Yuvraj having never played a Test in England and you could see arrows coming from all directions.

Yuvraj passes the Nottingham 'Test'

Yuvraj Singh plays a shot during his 62-run knock on Saturday (Getty Images)

That's exactly how Yuvraj's innings began. Perfume balls pushed him to the backfoot and when one was pitched up by James Anderson, he slashed it straight to Kevin Pietersen, only to see his dear friend drop it like extra cream on a 'pie'.

But an experienced advice was waiting right across the pitch. A nod bouncing off 'The Wall' was enough to indicate "Gather yourself and play only those pitched in your half."

Taking cue from Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj got his bat and pad together to feel a few deliveries hit the middle of his bat. His confidence was visibly getting higher with every passing moment. A signature cover drive off Stuart Broad gave indication that Yuvraj was beginning to find his niche.

Thereafter, the partnership wore the picture of Dravid's defiance sprinkled with Yuvraj's brilliant strokeplay. There was a touch of disdain in the stroke that brought him is half century, as if he announced, "I can play Test cricket."

What's more important was that his knock came at a moment when India needed it the most. The score was 139/4 when he came to join Dravid. Had India lost another wicket at that moment, England would have been all over. Yes, Yuvraj was lucky to get a life but that's not his problem. England dropped it and he took advantage. As simple as that.

The partnership grew as big as 128 runs and took India to 267/4 when a little lapse in concentration took the edge of Yuvraj's bat and settled into Matt Prior's gloves, ending his innings at 62.

What happened after that was a story of riches to rags. India lost their last six wickets in the space of 21 runs, thanks to a six-wicket haul – including a hat-trick – by hometown boy Broad.

Leaving that story there, Yuvraj's innings was one to savour and one that may have re-launched his Test career.

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