Century Partnership Boosts England After Following On

Century Partnership Boosts England After Following On
Century Partnership Boosts England After Following On
©REUTERS / Action Images

India 521-8 d. (Pujara 206no, Sehwag 117) v
England 191 & 111-0 (Cook 74no)
First Test, Ahmedabad, day three
Scorecard | Quotes | Day One | Day Two
More: Swann v Pujara | D1 Analysis
Report by Chetan Narula in Ahmedabad

England produced an impersonation of Jekyll and Hyde with the bat on day three of the opening Test against India in Ahmedabad, closing on 111 without loss in their second innings having been asked to follow on.

They had earlier been dismissed for a modest 191 in reply to 521 for eight declared as India remained in complete control, Pragyan Ojha returning five for 45.

England resumed the day on 41 for three but were unable to bat for anything like as long as they would have wanted, Matthew Prior top scoring with 48 and Alastair Cook making 41.

They showed drastic improvement after India asked them to bat again with openers Cook (74 not out) and Nick Compton (44 not out) leading a stirring fightback with a century stand for the first wicket.

Skipper Cook led the way with a fine half-century and debutant Compton gave him fine company as they improved on the first innings showing. Patience was needed for the two batsmen as England faces seven sessions to avoid a huge defeat after conceding a 331 lead in the first innings.

India enforced the follow-on, not unexpectedly, but failed to prise out any wickets in the 38 overs bowled in the final session of the day. Cook, ever watchful but also punishing the bad balls, brought up the first English fifty of the match in the 30th over of the innings.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn’t open with a spinner this time around, throwing the new ball to Umesh Yadav (0-15) instead. Ojha (0-34) was his opening partner though and he too went wicketless in this second innings, so far. Ravichandran Ashwin (0-49), Zaheer Khan (0-1), Virender Sehwag (0-1) and Sachin Tendulkar (0-8) too tried in vain for a wicket.

Earlier in the day, Ojha wreaked havoc on the English line-up as they started from the overnight score of 41/3. Kevin Pietersen and captain Cook added 28 more runs, before the fourth wicket fell. Pietersen (17) had been living dangerously and a straight-ball knocked back his middle stump.

Next up was Ian Bell and he had an immense brain fade first ball. He tried hitting Ojha over the top, only to end up lofting the ball for Sachin Tendulkar to take a well-judged catch, and Bell to get out for a golden duck.

At 69 for five then England were reeling and it became worse. 11 runs later, Cook’s resistance was broken by Ashwin for his first wicket of the day. Cook scored 41 runs off 109 balls with seven fours, went for a drive and edged the ball to Sehwag at first slip.

Samit Patel (10) and Prior added 17 runs for the seventh wicket before the former was adjudged LBW to Yadav. Prior then delayed the inevitable with Tim Bresnan (19), the duo adding 47 runs for the eighth wicket. The English wicket-keeper top-scored with 48 runs, off 100 balls inclusive of seven fours, and was part of another 43-run partnership with Stuart Broad (25).

Zaheer trapped Broad LBW, while Ojha returned to scalp both Bresnan and Prior, who was the last wicket to fall. England were bowled out for 191 runs in 74.2 overs in reply to India’s 521 for 8 declared in the first innings. Ojha was the bowler of the day with five for 45 from 22.2 overs.

Ashwin finished with 3-80 from 27 overs. Zaheer (1-23) and Yadav picked (1-14) up a wicket each.

Selected quotes from the third day:

Matt Prior, on England’s chances in the next two days: "We prepared very hard for this tour. We knew what challenges we would face here and our plans didn’t work out. All players are willing to fight though and we showed that today to end in a good position at 111/0.

"We are still behind in this game, a long way off, but we have two days and anything is possible."

About England’s collapse, he added: "Every batsman has a different method. Both Bell and Kevin have their own methods. Bell is a good player to hit the ball over the top and it didn’t work for him today. We are fighting in this match and we expect a good effort from him in the second innings.

"Kevin is one of our best players, especially against spin. But he is just one man. And just because he fails, we cannot say England failed. There are eleven players in the team and each has an equal responsibility for this collapse. But we are willing to fight."

Pragyan Ojha, on his five-wicket haul: "I think the pitch was helpful. It is always good when batsmen want to play shots against you. I thought I had a chance to get Kevin out, given how aggressive he was from the very beginning. Bell is a good player, all England batsmen are, but maybe he shouldn’t have played that shot on the very first ball on this pitch."

On England fighting back, he said: "The pitch got a little slower in the last session of the day. And they also batted very well. But tomorrow the first session will be very crucial and it will set the tone for the rest of the match."

© Cricket World 2012

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