England floats after misery – First Test vs. India

England 1st innings 191 (Matt Prior 48, Alastair Cook 41, Pragyan Ojha 5-45) and 2nd innings 0-111 (Cook 74, Nick Compton 34) trail India 8-521 (Cheteshwar Pujara 206*, Virender Sehwag 117, Graeme Swann 5-144) by 219 runs.

England suffered a blow by the Indian spinners who routed their batting and bent them to follow on while the visitors made a strong comeback in the 2nd innings.

Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin - Outstanding spin bowling
Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin – Outstanding spin bowling

India hammered 521 runs after losing 8 wickets in their first innings and bowled out England cheaply for 191 as the home spinners ripped through their batting by grabbing 8 wickets. The visitors gave a solid reply in their second innings and reached 111 without any loss at the end of the third day’s play.

The third day’s battle concluded on Saturday, November 17, 2012, at Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad.

Earlier, England initiated the day at 3-41 after consuming 18 overs and Alastair Cook along with  Kevin Pietersen were unbeaten on 22 and 6 runs respectively. The latter survived in the first over of the day that was bowled by Pragyan Ojha and MS Dhoni missed his stumping chance on the first ball of his next over. Cook scored a couple of fours in the process but the duo found it hard to score at will. They took the score to 69 when Pietersen was clean bowled by Ojha on the third ball of the 33rd over for 17 runs.

Ian Bell was caught at mid-off on the very next ball for a duck and Cook multiplied the worries for the English side when he was gone for 41 off 109 deliveries with 7 fours. The seventh wicket fell at 97 in 48 overs when Matt Prior took over and hit 2 fours in the next over. Tim Bresnan secured his end but was dropped at six runs by Virender Sehwag off Ravichandran Ashwin on the fourth ball of the 59th over. The 8th wicket fell at 144 when Bresnan was caught at gully by Virat Kohli off Ojha for 19 runs.

Stuart Broad came in next and tried for the  offencive batting  by hitting 13 runs in the 69th over with 1 six and 1 four. He shared a 43 runs partnership for the 9th wicket with Prior and lost his wicket for 23 runs. Ojha shattered the stumps of Matt Prior for 48 off 100 with 7 fours as the first innings of England was folded back for 191 in 74.2 overs. The visitors fell short of 330 runs off the first innings total of India and were forced to follow on.

Pragyan Ojha destroyed the rival batting by clinching five wickets, Ravichandran Ashwin held two whereas Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav shared one wicket each.

Alastair Cook and Nick Compton came in to open the innings for England again in a critical situation. MS Dhoni opened the attack with Yadav and Ojha and the first two overs ended as a maiden. The batsmen stuck to their task and managed just 10 runs in the first 7 overs as Compton hit the first four of the innings on the last ball of the next over. Cook dispatched the ball twice out of the fence in the 12th over and the fifty of the innings was displayed on board in the 18th over.

Dhoni introduced an all spin attack from both ends from the 19th over that was conducted by Ojha and Ashwin but the batting duo did not provide them any chance. The England skipper, Alastair Cook continued with his flourishing knock and completed his 30th Test half century on the first ball of the 30th over with a four. He was the most devastating of the two as Compton carried on with a defensive style from the other end. Dhoni utilized six bowlers to dislodge the partnership but remained unsuccessful as England reached 111 in 38 overs when the play concluded. Alastair Cook was going strong at 74 off 124 deliveries with 13 fours and Nick Compton secured his end for 34 off 104 with 2 fours.

England still faces an uphill task to save the match with two days remaining and 219 runs more to score to avoid an innings defeat. The present form of their openers can lead them to stability with plenty of batting to follow. India will be keen to persist with their match winning spinners, Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin who can turn the tables with their tremendous bowling.


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