Day 4 and Day 5: December 7 & 8, 2012
England win the third test match to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the test series
Day four began with a surprise- the Indian bowlers finally looked menacing. They quickly took the four remaining England batsmen in just 27 balls. England finally went back to the dressing room after scoring 523, a humongous lead of 207 runs. Sehwag and Gambhir started the second innings and played some positive cricket. They scored at a brisk rate and steadily reduced the deficit and took India to lunch trailing by just 121.
If the first session was all India’s, the second session was all England’s. As many as six Indian wickets fell in the second session, thanks to some brilliant bowling and reckless batting. Soon after lunch, Sehwag perished to Swann’s delivery when his loose drive couldn’t find the ball which went on to rattle the stumps. Pujara could muster only eight runs before he was run-out by Ian Bell. The wickets continued to fall like a pack of cards. Gambhir could manage to get to 40 as Tendulkar went for 5 , Yuvraj went for 11 and Dhoni was out for a duck. At tea, the scorecard read 145 for 6, still trailing by 62 runs.
Kohli and Khan were dismissed soon after tea and the Indians were staring at an innings defeat at the Eden gardens- a ground where they haven’t lost a test match since 1999. However, that was not to be the case as lone warrior stood tall amidst all the ruins. Ravi Ashwin defied the relentless English attack and played some beautiful strokes to give India the lead. The batsmen should learn a lesson or two from this off-spinner who, interestingly, has a higher test batting average than the Indian captain. India ended day four at 239 for 9 with Ashwin on 83 and Ojha on 3.
Ojha was finally dismissed early in the fifth day as India ended the second innings for 247. The tenth wicket alone added 50 of those runs. Set a measly target of 41, England strolled to victory in just 12 overs.
Day 3: December 7, 2012
With three days gone, one cannot help but feel that the third test match is turning out to be a replica of the second. The Indians were bowled out for 300 odd runs in the first innings. England replied with a huge (500 plus) first innings score as their captain Alistair Cook led from the front. Considering Team India’s current batting form, even India’s most die-hard fan would think twice before betting against an England win. While a victory is virtually ruled out for the men in Blue, any slim hope of a draw depends on how well they are able to bat in the second innings.
Resuming at 216 for one, Cook and Trott built the innings brick by brick and wiped out the deficit. Trott finally nicked Ojha off to Dhoni and departed for 87 when the visitors’ lead was 22. Cook departed soon for 190 runs, when he was run out by Virat Kohli. With three centuries in the last three test matches, Cook seems to have developed a liking for Indian bowling and pitch conditions.
Ian Bell, who missed the second test match due to personal commitments, failed to make an impact and was dismissed by Ishant Sharma when he was on 5. By this time, England switched to fast-track mode, trying to accelerate the run rate. Pietersen made a quick fifty before being trapped leg before by the off-spinner Ravi Ashwin. Samit Patel, who consumed only 47 balls for his quick-fire 33, was the last man to be dismissed on the day as England finished at 509 for 6 with Matt Prior and Grame Swann at the crease.
Day 2: December 6, 2012
Well Well Well! It’s not going to be a revenge series at all. What a day it turned out to be for the visitors. After bundling India out for just 316, they now trail the home team by just 100 runs in the first innings with as many as nine wickets in hand. With only two days gone, this match is most likely headed in only one direction and that is definitely not in India’s favour.
The home team resumed proceedings early in the morning and it was only a matter of time before the tail was wrapped up. Panesar quickly dismissed Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma while Steve Finn got his first wicket in the series, that of the Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who scored 52 runs.
Alistair Cook and Nick Compton came out to bat with a single purpose in mind: to build a solid platform for England and destroy any chance of an Indian victory. The two put on a 165-run opening stand before Ojha finally trapped Compton leg before. The Indian bowlers were absolutely clueless over how to tackle the batsmen and their toothless bowling only piled on the misery. Perhaps they should learn a lesson or two from their English counterparts who seemed to be more at ease with sub-continent’s conditions.
Cook continued his sublime batting and raced to his third century in as many tests. In that process he also became the youngest Englishman to reach 7000 runs and score the highest number of test centuries for England. Along with Johnathan Trott, he took England to 216 at the close of play. If the Englishmen were too continue to play the way they did on day two, they could easily secure an almost unassailable first-innings lead which could see India facing a scenario akin to that of the second test match.
Day 1: December 5, 2012
England took the honours on an eventful first day in the third Test match at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. As many as seven wickets fell on day one, thanks to some tight bowling by the Englishmen and a couple of silly errors by the Indian batsmen. India made one change as Ishant Sharma replaced the injure Umesh Yadav. For England, Ian Bell and Steve Finn came in place of Johnny Bairstwo and Stuart Broad.
After winning the toss for the third time in a row, Dhoni decided to bat first on a wicket that looked batsman-friendly. The openers Sehwag and Gambhir were going strong until Sehwag was run out by Steve Finn who calmly collected Samit Patel’s throw from the deep to dislodge the bails. Double-centurion in the first test match, Chetheshwar Pujara played a brief knock before his stumps were rattled by Monty Panesar.
Sachin Tendulkar walked in to the crease just before lunch. The master blaster played a circumspect innings initially as he watched Gambhir depart for a well-made 60 when his cut off Panesar was safely pouched by Johnathan Trott. Kohli’s woeful run in the series continued as he fell prey to Anderson for just 6 runs. At 136 for 4, India were in a spot of bother and desperately in need of a partnership. That was exactly what Sachin and Yuvraj provided as they joined together to add 79 runs to the Indian score board before Yuvraj was caught at cover by Alistair Cook.
Soon after, Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed by Anderson for 76 runs, the Mumbaikar’s first test half-century in almost a year. During the course of the innings, he overtook Sunny Gavaskar as India’s highest run-getter in Tests against England. Though unhappy over losing his wicket, he would be definitely relieved to have finally found form. Ashwin, the last man to be dismissed, saw his stumps rattled by Anderson just an over before the close of play. Dhoni and Khan were at the crease with England firmly in control. The Indian batsmen have to do a lot of introspection over their inability to build an innings on a track that offered not much for the bowlers.
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.