Day 5: November 19, 2012
India comfortably defeat England to go One-nil up in the Test series
England started the final day with a lead of just ten runs and five wickets in hand. The batsmen added only 16 runs to their fourth day’s partnership as Prior was caught and bowled by Ojha early in the day. Four overs later, Ojha bowled Cook to douse any hopes of a draw. The southpaw departed for a well made 176- his third consecutive test century. The tail provided little resistance as England were dismissed for 406. Set a paltry target of 77, India easily attained the target for the loss of just one wicket. Cheteshwar Pujara was rightly declared the man of the match.
Day 3 and Day 4: November 17-18, 2012
Starting Day three at 41 for 3, England were quickly reduced to 69 for 5. Ojha removed Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell in successive deliveries and extinguished hopes of a comeback. Ashwin then picked up the all important wicket of the English captain Alistair Cook, who was waging a lone battle against a ruthless Indian attack. The left-hander, who made a patient 41, nicked the ball to Sehwag at slip. A few overs later, Umesh Yadav trapped Samit Patel leg before to get his first wicket of the match.
Prior and Bresnan briefly provided some resistance and took England past the 100 mark. But they couldn’t withstand the Ojha onslaught as he dismissed them both to pick up the fourth five-wicket haul of his career. It was only a matter of time before the bowlers wrapped up the tail. England finished their first innings for a paltry 191 and Dhoni immediately enforced the follow-on.
Faced with a 330-run deficit, England needed a solid start from its openers and that was exactly what Compton and Cook provided. Without taking any unnecessary risks, the openers built the innings slowly but surely and took England to 111 at the end of third day’s play.
Going into day four, the visitors had real hopes of securing a draw if they managed not to lose wickets. However, the over-night partnership couldn’t sustain for long as Zaheer Khan captured the wicket of Nick Compton. Ojha returned to torment the Englishmen and sent Johnathan Trott back to the pavilion. Pietersen’s nightmare continued as he was bowled by Ojha again- twice in as many innings. Though the wickets kept falling, Cook was solid on the other end and reached a well-deserved century. England went for lunch at 182 for 3 with Cook and Bell at the crease.
Bell perished to Yadav soon after lunch. Yadav removed Samit Patel too in the very next ball but couldn’t pick up a hat-trick. Just when England were staring at a humiliating innings defeat, Cook and the wicket-keeper Prior joined hands to steady the ship. From 199 for 5, England went on to 340 at stumps without losing a wicket and taking a 10-run lead in that process. Cook finished the day on 168 while Prior made 84.
Despite the loss of wickets early in the day, England managed to turn the tide in their favour and now have real hopes of securing a draw in the first test match.
Day 2: November 16, 2012
With only two days of the test match gone, Team India seems to be in firm grasp of the proceedings. Pujara and Yuvraj resumed the Indian innings on a bright Friday morning and kept the scoreboard ticking. The Men in Blue reached the 400 mark just before lunch. Just when it looked like Yuvraj had set himself for a huge innings, part-time spinner Samit Patel dismissed him thereby breaking the 130 run partnership. The Indian captain walked in and did not make a significant contribution to the scorecard. After scoring just five runs he was bowled by Swann.
Meanwhile, Pujara on the other end was playing the innings of his life. He joined hands with Ashwin to take India past the 500 mark. By this time MSD was in a mood to declare and waited for Pujara to complete his maiden double century. The Gujarati lad reached the 200 mark in 374 balls after taking a quick single off the shot on the offside. Ashwin too proved to be a handy batsman as he scored 23 useful runs before nicking a Pietersen delivery to the keeper. With an average of almost 40 in Test cricket, Ashwin could very well consider himself an all-rounder.
Team India finally declared at 521 for 8 after playing for 160 overs. The day clearly belonged to the Asian giants and Pujara in particular. One can safely say that the No.3 spot, which was vacated by Dravid recently, has been taken over by a very capable man. While the Indian innings stretched for almost eleven hours, Pujara alone was on the field for eight and a half hours.
With nearly 20 overs left in the day to play, England were on defensive mode when they came out to bat. Aiming to exploit England’s weakness against spin, MSD straight away started with the off-spin of Ravi Ashwin. His decision proved right as Ashwin picked up the wickets of debutant Nick Compton and the dangerous Johnathan Trott. Ojha snapped up the wicket of night-watchman James Anderson. After a disappointing day in the field, England made matters worse even further with the bat. Day 2 ended with England at 41 for 3 and needing to score atleast 281 more runs against a menacing Indian attack to avoid follow-on.
Day 1: November 15, 2012
The first test match between India and England got underway at the Motera in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. There weren’t many surprises in the Indian lineup as Dhoni went for two spinners and two seamers. Harbhajan Singh, who earned a test call up after a long time, had to make way for Ashwin and Ojha. Meanwhile, Yuvraj Singh made a comeback to test cricket after almost a year. England’s team selection had a few surprise elements. Graeme Swann was the lone specialist spinner in the lineup despite the fact that Motera was a spinner-friendly track. The 29-year old Nick Compton was also handed his international test debut.
India won the toss and MSD had no hesitation in choosing to bat first. The first session belonged to the home team as the openers gave a solid platform. Sehwag was in his usual blistering mode while Gambhir played a circumspect innings. As the English seamers struggled to break the pair, Alistair Cook brought on the off-spinner Swann. Swann clean bowled Gambhir on 45 when the openers had taken India to 134 in the 30th over.
Cheteshwar Pujara walked in at No. 3, a spot long filled by the ever dependable Rahul Dravid. He received an early let-off when his leading edge was misjudged by James Anderson. That reprieve proved to be costly for the Englishmen as Pujara made merry. As the pair continued to pile on the runs, England turned to Swann once again for rescue. The off-spinner removed Sehwag, who made a run-a-ball 117. Sachin Tendulkar walked into the crease amidst loud cheers from the crowd. However, his stay was short-lived as his mistimed shot off Swann was easily caught by Samit Patel at deep midwicket.
England slowly started stemming the run flow which was above 4 per over in the first two sessions. Kohli, who was never comfortable on the pitch, departed for 19 runs from 67 balls as Swann once again provided the breakthrough. Yuvraj Singh and Pujara ensured no further damage was done as they stitched together a half-century partnership and carried India to 323 at stumps. Pujara finished two runs short of a century while Yuvraj was on 24.
On a day when the Indian batsmen made merry, especially Sehwag and Pujara, Graeme Swann waged a lone battle for the Three Lions. He picked up all the four wickets that fell on the day and in the process went past Jimmy Laker’s tally of 193 test wickets. He is now second to only Derek Underwood as the most successful England spinner. An entertaining day two is on the cards as Indian batsmen would expect to post a huge total while England try to find the answers to their woes.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.