India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 1st day November 15, 2012

Green field, spinning top

Plays of the day from the first day of the first Test between India and England in Ahmedabad

Detail of the day
If anyone knows about the strengths of the England attack, it is their former coach, Duncan Fletcher. It was under Fletcher than the England team first mastered the skill of reverse swing. It helped them win the Ashes in 2005 and it has been a key part of their armoury ever since. So we should not be surprised that Fletcher, ever one to focus on details, ensured that the Ahmedabad outfield was unusually green and lush. Not only that, but there were no used pitches on the square and nothing else abrasive that may have accelerated the wear of the ball. So, instead of finding reverse swing as early as the 10th over as they did in the warm-up game against Haryana, England were forced to wait until tea before gaining any real assistance.

Drop of the day
Virat Kohli was on just four when Jonathan Trott, a new face at slip, failed to cling on to a tough one-handed chance, to his left off the bowling of Graeme Swann. Kohli had endured a tough start to his innings - he did not get off the mark until he had faced 30 deliveries and, perhaps frustrated, attempted to cut but edged to Trott. The decision went to the third umpire after Trott, who lost control of the ball as he turned, allowed it to bounce and then found it in his forearms, admitting he was not sure if he had held on to it. It meant all the pressure England - and Swann and James Anderson, in particular - had built up upon Kohli was wasted.

Telling moment of the day
The ball from Tim Bresnan was not that short. Nor was it that wide. But such was Virender Sehwag's confidence on a pitch of minimal bounce that he had the time - and the power - to pull it through mid-on with an ease that bordered on the disdainful. It underlined the lack of pace and bounce in the wicket and the tiny margin for error high quality batsmen will allow in such conditions. England's bowlers, with one or two honourable exceptions, were not up to the challenge. Sehwag hit the next ball for six back over Bresnan's head to underline his dominance.

Misjudgement of the day
Cheteshwar Pujara was on eight when he mistimed a stroke off Bresnan and saw his leading edge loop in the air towards mid-on. Anderson, sensing the chance, dashed in only to realise he had over-committed himself and the ball was dropping agonisingly out of reach behind him. He tried to backpedal but it was too late. The ball fell to ground and Pujara hardly played another false stroke on the way to stumps unbeaten on 98. Sehwag, on 80, was also dropped by Matt Prior, down the leg side off Anderson.

Stroke of the day
It says much for Pujara's abundant class that his batting bears such striking resemblance to Rahul Dravid. While only time will tell if Pujara has the defensive technique to survive against all bowlers in all conditions, he certainly has some of The Wall's attacking flair. One drive through extra-cover bore the hallmark of real class: seizing on a fraction of extra flight from Swann, Pujara skipped down the wicket and drove beautifully between the fielders. It was a fine shot and typical of a fine innings.

Debut of the day
Nick Compton has taken the scenic route to international cricket but, aged 29, he received his first cap from Graham Gooch before the start of play. Compton is just the second man, after Chris Tremlett, to follow his grandfather into the England side. Denis Compton played for England between 1937 and 1957, while Maurice Tremlett played three Tests in 1948.

Milestone of the day
There was not too much to cheer about for England on the first day of this game. But at least Swann, who offered control and bite for England, finished with four wickets and overtook Jim Laker's tally of 193 Test victims. That means Swann has taken more Test wickets than any other England offspinner. Swann went past Laker with the wicket of Sehwag, who was bowled attempting to sweep. Bearing in mind that no other England bowler has yet taken a wicket, perhaps Swann may yet surpass Laker's more memorable record: 19 wickets in a single Test, achieved against Australia in 1956.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • KARTHIK on November 16, 2012, 2:21 GMT

    If England needs to win this series.They should be looking at Ind vs Aus Series 2004.Australia had a specific masterplan for each player and they were able to win the series with the help of luck ( Chennai match was drawn purely because of rain)

  • Asad on November 16, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    I have read many articles about preparing sporting wickets and I am unable to understand what does it mean? And why this term sporting wickets always come into picture when England or Australia visits subcontinent? I never heard of sporting wicket anthem when South Africa or West Indies or to an extent New Zealand visited subcontinent. It is a fact that England and Australia always relied on their pacers to get them 20 wickets. So if fast and/or bouncy wickets are prepared by subcontinent countries on the visits of English or Australian teams those probably will be sporting wickets. Right? Giving opportunities to their bowlers to grab wickets is what the sporting wicket means. Subcontinent teams always relied on spinners to get them wickets. And so for them sporting wickets means having a spinning track during their visits to England or Australia. Then the question comes to the mind is how many times did England or Australia prepared spinning wickets for subcontinent teams :)

  • Nik on November 15, 2012, 23:02 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas_Statchin_Selfishkar - add to that if India's (add SL and Pakistan) batsmen have inflated averages, why have Ponting, the whole English team and even the Sth Africans (bar Amla) struggled? Some people just don't get cricket!

  • Jaydeep on November 15, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    the little dust explosion on the pitch for the one that got kohli doesn't augur well for the englishmen.

  • Srinivas on November 15, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    @FFL, looking for excuses already mate? Let's see how well the English bat on this 'flat' pitch and have their averages inflated. For the smarty pants arguement that a grassbowl is not the same as a pace friendly track, a spin friendly track is also neither a dustbowl nor a flat track. A spin friendly track is just that - a spin friendly track. If you have the skill set to succeed on them, you will. If it was so easy to score and inflate your averages on them, please care to answer what's preventing the English to inflate their averages on these 'flat' tracks? Why couldn't Ponting inflate his average here? Why didn't he score loads of runs here? Any answers mate? And why are the English (your team) suffering here for over 28 years??

  • Amar on November 15, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    @ Front-Foot-Lunge: How did England prove that they are the better team? They have not won a series in India in a long time, whereas India has won a series in England only as far back as 2007. Also, Indian pitches on day 1 are no different then Aussie, SaF, and English pitches on days 2 and 3 - batting pitches. Anyhow, it was the toothless English bowling that was more the reason of India's success than the pitch.

  • Manav on November 15, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    Like Windows 8 Sachine 38 he has left his Start button @ home. Is it time for him to reboot?

  • j on November 15, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    Trott's drop was a shocker and would've given Swanny his five-fer and we'd be long into the tail. They should've put Jimmy back at slip.

  • j on November 15, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    England are the proven better team but on a mud-bake pancake pitch such as this one can't help think of why India's batsmen have such inflated averages. Well bowled Swanny.

  • I on November 15, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    Anyone else remember how butthurt Dobell got when Swann was dropped earlier this year? Gotta believe he's not-so-secretly convincing himself that Swan's going to take 20 wickets in this test

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