Day 5: December 17, 2012
Trott and Bell secure England a draw to end a 28-year long wait
The last time India lost to England in home soil was in 1984/85- curiously by the same 2-1 margin. In the four test series that had happened since then till the current series, India won a total of six matches while England managed to win only one. After the result at Ahmedabad, it seemed that the enviable record would remain unbroken. But Alistair Cook and co. had other plans as they fashioned a spectacular comeback to take an unassailable lead in Kolkatta. With only pride left to play, Team India were in desperate need of a victory at Nagpur. But Trott and Bell batted for most part of the fifth day to deny them even the slightest of chances.
Trott was the only man to be dismissed today when his leg glance off Ashwin was caught by a sharp Virat Kohli at leg slip. The 208-run fourth wicket partnership between Trott and Bell was a delight to watch as the Indian bowlers looked absolutely clueless against the duo. While Trott made 143, Bell scored an unbeaten 116- his first century in India. England finally declared at 352 for 4 and a draw was called.
It was a moment of triumph and joy in the English camp and they have ascended to the second place in the world test rankings. Meanwhile, the Indians have a lot to ponder and tough decisions to make.
Day 4: December 16, 2012
England slowly inched towards a position of comfort and unless something extra-ordinary happens on the final day of the Test, they simply cannot lose this battle. With a healthy lead of 165 runs at the loss of just three wickets, all the visitors have to do now is to see out the first session tomorrow to obtain a draw. Earlier in the day, Indians declared at 326 for 9, just four runs short of England’s first innings total. Ojha was the only Indian batsmen to be dismissed today as Panesar picked up the first wicket of his innings.
When England came out to bat, they had a simple yet effective strategy: play as many overs as possible and make India sweat. For most part of their innings, the Englishmen scored at just above one run per over. Cook consumed almost 100 balls for his 13 runs before finally nicking an Ashwin delivery to the wicket-keeper Dhoni. The snail pace of run-scoring was evident from the fact England manage to reach fifty runs in their second innings after playing for almost 30 overs.
Just before tea, Nick Compton was dismissed by Pragyan Ojha. Kevin Pietersen did not make much contribution as he perished to debutant Ravindra Jadeja after scoring just six runs. After reducing England to 94 for 3, India might have felt that it sniffed a chance of victory. However, that was not to be as Trott and Bell ensured no further damage was done. The pair put together an unbeaten 67 run partnership for the fourth wicket to douse any hopes of an Indian comeback.
A rough calculation shows that if England were to bat for about 20-30 overs tomorrow, a task that is quite simple considering that they have six wickets in hand, a draw is inevitable. In that case, the Englishmen would have conquered the final frontier- beating India in India.
Day 3: December 15, 2012
Team India finally displayed character and put up a good fight with the bat to trail England by just 33 runs at stumps. After losing four batsmen on day two with only 70 odd runs on board, the Indians were caught in a quagmire. However, young gun Virat Kohli and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni stewarded the foundering ship to safety. The two scripted a 198-run fifth wicket stand, a patient and painful partnership that consumed more than 500 balls.
Kohli, who has been unimposing in the entire series, was among the runs when it mattered the most. Blending patience and controlled aggression, the right-hander played a couple of elegant strokes on the way to his third test century. On the other end, Dhoni was equally up to the task. Unfazed by the recent controversies surrounding him, he batted with a single-minded determination of giving England a run for their money.
The partnership finally came to an end in the post-tea session. After batting for almost 300 balls, Virat Kohli was finally dismissed by Graeme Swann leg before. By this time, the home team had reduced the deficit to just 61 runs and looked set to take a first-innings lead. However, England’s fortunes took a sudden upswing with the fall of a wicket. All-rounder Jadeja was soon dismissed by James Anderson, who picked up four wickets in the innings. Next to walk back to the pavilion was Dhoni who faced an unfortunate end to his innings when he was run out on 99 by his English counterpart Alistair Cook. Chawla, who was bowled by Swann, was dismissed in the last ball of the day.
With only two days of play left and two more innings to be played, a draw looks like a more probable result. Indians would definitely be the happier lot, having neutralized England’s advantage at the end of day two.
Day 2: December 14, 2012
After a listless first day in which neither side took control of the match, England emerged firmly on top at the end of day two. Earlier in the day, Joe Root and Graeme Swann chipped in with useful knocks to take England past the 300-run mark. Led by James Anderson, the English bowlers rattled the top order to reduce India to 87 for 4 at the close of play.
Joe Root and Matt Prior resumed batting on day two and completed a 100-run partnership. Just when it looked the two batsmen were set for a huge innings, Ashwin rattled Prior’s stumps to bring India back into the game. Tim Bresnan made no contribution to his team total and was dismissed for a duck.
The debutante Joe Root and Graeme Swann together added 80 runs for the eighth wicket before Chawla finally dismissed Root caught and bowled. The 21-year old played a couple of elegant strokes and made 73 valuable runs which could make a difference. Running out of partners, Swann tried to up the ante and soon perished but not before scoring the fourth half-century of his career. Anderson was the last man to go as England made 330 runs in the first innings.
The Indians would have been mighty pleased with themselves after restricting England to what seemed to be a moderate score. But the joy was short-lived as when they started batting, they had to face the wrath of Anderson and co. The tall fast-bowler uprooted the middle stumps of Virender Sehwag in the third ball of the innings.
Pujara got to a decent start but failed to capitalize on it as he fell to Swann after scoring 26. Despite being aware that the cries for his retirement are growing by the day, Sachin failed to justify his place in the team and flopped once again as his middle stump too was rattled by Anderson. Gambhir was the third player to be dismissed by the Lanchashire man when the left-hander’s attempted drive went to the wicket-keeper Prior.
Dhoni and Kohli together added 17 more runs before close of play. The duo face a mammoth task of wiping off England’s huge 243-run lead. With almost half the Indian team back in the pavilion, it surely is England’s game to win.
Day 1: December 13, 2012
In what was one of the slowest rates of run-scoring, England managed to reach 199 for the loss of 5 wickets at the end of day one. On a pitch that was slow and offered little bounce, England scored at just about 2 runs per over. The fact that 97 overs were bowled on Thursday underscores the sluggish nature of the pitch.
Both teams made a couple of changes for this test as England picked 21-year old Joe Root in place of the under-performing Samit Patel and replaced the injured Steve Finn with Tim Bresnan. Despite receiving a backlash in the second test, Indians opted for a similar one seamer, three seamers bowling attack with Piyush Chawla replacing Zaheer Khan. Meanwhile, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja made his debut in place of Yuvraj Singh.
England were in for a rude shock when they came out to bat as both their openers walked back to the pavilion when only 16 runs were added to the scoreboard. Nick Compton nicked a short delivery from Ishant Sharma to Dhoni who safely pouched the ball. The lanky fast bowler next trapped the England captain Alistair Cook leg before when the south-paw was on 1. Trott and Pietersen got down to business and kick-started the revival. Together, they added 86 runs for the third wicket before Trott was bowled by Jadeja.
Ian Bell’s poor run in the tour continued as he directed Piyush Chawla’s delivery to Kohli at short extra cover. Pietersen, on the other end, held the innings together and was definitely the star of the day. Curbing his attacking instincts, he played a subdued knock and was finally dismissed by Jadeja when he was on 73. Debutant Joe Root and wicket-keeper Matt Prior ensured that no further damage was done as they guided England to stumps with an unbeaten 60 run partnership. Root, who was a surprisingly given the nod ahead of Bairstow and Morgan, was particularly impressive with his patient approach on an unhelpful wicket.
The game is interestingly poised with no team taking the honours on day one. England played a slow but steady innings while the Indians managed to pick up five wickets. It would be exciting to see in whose favour the balance tilts tomorrow.
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.