England romped to a fantastic 10-wicket win against India in the second Test at Mumbai, one that is perhaps comparable to their best ever victories.
On the fourth day, they needed only the first session to wrap up the second Indian innings and knock over the paltry target of 57 without breaking a sweat, levelling the four-match series at 1-1.
Starting from their overnight 177 for seven, India were hoping for a major miracle to have any hopes of delaying England’s charge, leave alone winning the Test. Gautam Gambhir and the tail-end batsmen were seen having a knock in the nets prior to the start of play, just to get in the right frame of mind but it worked only for Gambhir as he was the last batsman out. For the remainder, it was usual business as it was for most other batsmen.
Graeme Swann got one to turn sharply and bounce high, surprising Harbhajan Singh. In a way it reflected the difference between English and Indian bowling in this Test. Harbhajan (6) could do nothing to get his bat out of the way, offering a simple lob to slip.
Next in, Zaheer Khan hung around for 11 balls, before his patience ran out and he gave away his wicket to an ugly slog-sweep. Monty Panesar picked up his 11th wicket of match, finishing with six for 81.
Swann then trapped Gambhir leg before, despite another couple of howlers from the umpires, and the Indian innings finished at 142.
Gambhir scored 65 runs off 142 balls, while Swann finished with four for 43. Ravichandran Ashwin (11) was the only other batsman to reach double figures and such was the collapse that England didn’t need a fourth bowler. James Anderson had figures of 4-1-9-0.
The Indians set a paltry target of 57 runs and that was never going to be enough. Gambhir claimed that a 130-run target might bring them into the game, but firstly, they didn’t get there and secondly, the manner in which English openers batted, it probably wouldn’t have mattered.
The fielders were all droopy with their heads bowed and Nick Compton took the attack to them, scoring 30 off 28 balls, with four fours and a six. Cook, at the other end was unbeaten at 18 off 30 balls, inclusive of one four.
Compton hit the winning runs to bring about huge celebrations that should continue well into the night.
Select quotes from day four:
Alastair Cook on England’s win: "We have had a tough two weeks in India. But the turnaround from Ahmedabad has been brilliant. I asked the team to put their hands up and they have delivered beautifully.
"Monty Panesar was very good on this pitch, as was Graeme Swann. Our spinners really figured out the pitch well and that is something you cannot tell them. Kevin played a massive innings, which only a few players around the world can play."
Kevin Pietersen on his innings: "Now that we have won the Test, I can rate this as my best effort. It is always good to win for England, but winning in India is special. Probably because it is so rare, I mean look at England’s ODI record here. So we did well to win this Test. I am part of a good team and Alastair Cook is a brilliant captain and batsman. At age 27, he has already scored so many runs, I think he will end up with 35 to 40 Test hundreds easily."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni on India’s defeat: "Our spinners didn’t bowl well at all. They couldn’t figure out the pace of the pitch and bowled either short or too full, never making the English batsmen play enough.
"Monty Panesar was very effective with his pace at 90-95 kph. And then the Cook-KP partnership took it away from us. I think it was a very good wicket. I will alway this sort of pitch which has something in it for everybody, takes out the toss factor, and it challenges you. I will like to have a similar pitch at Eden Gardens for the next Test. There is no point playing on wickets like Ahmedabad, it doesn’t help Test cricket."
On Jonny Bairstow's dismissal controversy, Dhoni said: "It is not my job to always consider appeals. What are the umpires for? They gave the wrong decision. They give wrong decisions so many times, for LBWs mostly. Then nobody appeals and gets the batsmen back to the middle."
© Cricket World 2012
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