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India v England, 2nd Test, Mohali, 2nd day
David Lloyd: England have to work out a way to win
December 20, 2008
While England came back strongly in the post-lunch session, it is India who ended the day in a dominant position
 
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"Graeme Swann bowled a really good spell of teasing offspin and has shown the ability to flight to the ball and vary the pace in just his second Test" © Getty Images
 

We did well this morning to start on time. It was very foggy and overcast but full marks to the umpires as they got the players out in time for the scheduled start of play which was 9am. It took everybody by surprise. It was quite funny to see Gautam Gambhir running from the nets - he just had shorts on and he had to hurriedly put on his pads to go out and play.

India started the day on 179 for 1 and that score had progressed to 302 for 1 at lunch with Rahul Dravid on 124 and Gambhir on 167. There was an excellent spell of bowling from Andrew Flintoff - who else? He bowled with great heart, but importantly there were still no wickets for England.

The afternoon session was a strange one with India stuttering along and at last losing wickets. Gambhir was finally dismissed for a classy 179 and Dravid followed shortly for 136. Both were dismissed by Graeme Swann who bowled a really good spell of teasing offspin in that afternoon session. We have talked about the need and the ability to flight to the ball and vary the pace and Swann has done that very well in just his second Test. It was great to see Flintoff steaming in as he clicked up a gear as he touched 151 kph against - well I suppose you have guessed it - Yuvraj Singh. He is public enemy No. 1 to the England players and gets a great response from Flintoff. He was flying in, but Yuvraj played well although he was badly missed in the gully by Alastair Cook. He was set up by Flintoff, who, with his pace, brought him forward, got the thick outside edge, but Cook grassed the catch. In between all that VVS Laxman fell lbw to Flintoff. He scored none in 24 deliveries and it was a weak sort of innings from him. Sachin Tendulkar became Swann's third wicket as he fell lbw to the sweep and England came back into the game. At tea, India were 356 for five and they had lost their way in that afternoon session, having scored 54 runs for the loss of four wickets.

And finally Monty Panesar got a wicket as Yuvraj gloved one to Matt Prior. The relief on Panesar's face was there for all to see. He has wheeled away in this game. He hasn't really got the hang of the pitch, and the batsmen have gone after him so it was good to see Panesar get into the action and take a wicket. And finally India were dismissed for 453 in the last session and that is such a commanding position when you are 1-0 up in a two match series. Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be delighted with that. Flintoff finished with three wickets as did Swann.

But there was some controversy at the end of the day and I will attempt to put things right. I don't think the players know what the rules and regulations are. The scheduled close of play was 4.30pm and the regulations are: if there is an interruption in play after 4.30 pm you lose that half-hour - that is the end of play. The umpires were working to the regulations. What Dhoni could have done was declare the innings at 4pm because from that time onwards till India's innings came to end on 453, only 7 runs were scored. So he could have had a real 20-minute blast at England. But the reading on the meter was there for all to see and it was less than what it was yesterday when it was offered to England and so they had every right to come off the field which they did. There is nothing more uncomfortable for an opening batsman than to be out there in murky conditions for the last 20 minutes or so of play. As it happens, the sun came out after that, but the umpires stuck to the regulations. The players didn't know the rules so I hope I have explained it.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day. The pitch is still very good though it is showing signs of spin, but if you play well you should score runs on this. England have got to work out a way to try and win this game, so I am looking forward to day three.

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