India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 4th day

Cook masterclass gives England a glimmer

The Report by David Hopps

November 18, 2012

Comments: 160 | Text size: A | A

England 191 and 340 for 5 (Cook 168*, Prior 84*) lead India 521 for 8 dec by 10 runs
Scorecard and ball by ball details


Alastair Cook plays into the leg side at the start of England's reply, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 2nd day, August 3, 2012
File photo: Alastair Cook scored his third ton in this third Test as captain (ESPNcricinfo is not carrying live pictures due to curbs on media) © AFP
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Some captains lead by rousing speeches, some by intricate tactical theories. Alastair Cook leads by example. Three times he has captained England in Tests and three times he has produced a century in response. Against India in Ahmedabad, he summoned his most monumental innings of all. Long before the end of the day, India's spinners could feel it in their bones.

Cook met mounting criticism of England's hapless displays against spin bowling with an innings of striking certainty, more than eight hours so far. He finished the fourth day with an unbeaten 168 to his name. England, after trailing by 330 on first innings, are 10 runs ahead with five wickets remaining. India remain favourites but they are one good batting session away from feeling decidedly nauseous.

This defiant hundred, to follow two as captain in Bangladesh when Andrew Strauss was on sabbatical, is already one of the finest innings of an increasingly grand Test career. It affirmed his right to lead and it left Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin, who at the start of the day had every expectation of becoming match-winners, with only two wickets to show from 85 overs.

A draw is not impossible; Andy Flower knows that. Zimbabwe drew a Test in Nagpur 12 years ago after following on when Flower, now England's director of cricket, batted for more than nine hours for an unbeaten double century, his highest Test score, on a tour that cemented his reputation as one of the best players of spin in the world.

It was a hot day at Motera, and a parched, cracked pitch promised to be deadly. But the surface looked tired long before India's spinners. Dangerous turn was a rarity. "More red clay!" you could imagine India's coach, Duncan Fletcher, ordering from behind his inscrutable shades as the virginal, relaid pitch failed to break up as expected.

Famously, Cook does not sweat much, but he found a worthy ally in a man who sweats buckets, Matt Prior, who played in characteristically punchy fashion for an unbeaten 84, feasting on whatever width the spinners allowed. While Cook batted on phlegmatically, so cool that he had no need to change his gloves, Prior ducked his head repeatedly and tipped sweat from his helmet. Wet or dry, these two batsmen have carried England's fight throughout the Test.

It is a fact that had DRS been employed in this Test, both might already have been dismissed and India would probably have been 1-0 up in the series. Cook, well forward on the sweep to Ojha, survived an lbw appeal on the third day, having made 41; Prior, bat alongside pad in approved pre-DRS method, in England at least, survived on 61. On both occasions, for Aleem Dar, the umpire, the uncertainty was too much. Hawk Eye would have had no such compunction.

Cook's Block Party was based upon sound principles, limited in ambition but possessing a onfidence that his defensive technique provided a stable basis for long-term survival. The surface was so slow that picking off a single or two could sometimes look the easiest job in the world. About half an hour before the close, Ojha finally made one spit viciously and he shrewdly turned away and took a blow on the shoulder. About his only show of emotion came at the close when he puffed out his cheeks in recognition of an exhausting day.

No player has ever made hundreds in their first three Tests as captain. But, like Michael Clarke for Australia, captaincy seems to stir him to even greater levels of concentration. He brought up his 21st Test century by quietly tucking Umesh Yadav into the leg side but his best shot of all came slightly earlier when he took him through midwicket with exquisite timing.

Smart stats

  • Alastair Cook's century is his 21st in Tests and his third against India. It is also his sixth score of 150 or more.
  • Cook becomes the fifth England captain to score a century in India. His 168 is also the highest score by an England captain in India. Overall, Cook's 168 is the fourth-highest score by a visiting captain in India.
  • Cook is now joint second on the list of England batsmen with most centuries. Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoff Boycott are on top with 22 centuries each.
  • Cook's 168 is the third-highest score by a visiting batsman in Ahmedabad and the eighth-highest overall. Mahela Jayawardene holds the record with 275 in the first Test in 2009.
  • The 141-run stand between Matt Prior and Cook is the third-highest sixth-wicket stand in Ahmedabad. It is also the second-highest sixth-wicket stand for England in Tests in India.
  • Prior's 84 is the second-highest score by an England wicketkeeper in India and the fourth-highest by a wicketkeeper in Ahmedabad.

The prospect of Indian domination on a turning pitch has quickened interest in this contest. The weekend crowds have been much bigger (there are no official figures, not even guesstimates), renewing hope that an attractive Test can still draw the crowds. And after two sessions, with India five wickets to the good and England still 66 behind, the match was by no means certain to reach a final day.

It tipped India's way just before the second new ball was due when Ian Bell and Samit Patel fell lbw to successive deliveries from Yadav , a strong-shouldered quick who reversed the old ball and continued to make a good impression.

Patel stomped off in disgust as the umpire, Tony Hill, failed to spot an inside nick. It was his second bad decision in the match, not helpful when he is trying to prove himself worthy of a top-six place and his left-arm slows are likely to be less useful in the second Test in Mumbai, should Monty Panesar be recalled. Bell, meanwhile, soon heads off for a bit of paternity leave and might struggle to regain his place.

The morning undoubtedly belonged to India. While Cook proceeded serenely through the 90s, all sorts of turmoil ensued 22 yards away as Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen both departed, Pietersen to left-arm spin yet again. Nick Compton had gone earlier, a troubled half-hour in marked contrast to his equilibrium on the third evening as England had reached stumps at 111 without loss.

Compton resisted in workmanlike manner. He won an England Test debut by stripping down his game at Somerset and becoming reliant on a solid defensive technique. In this Test, he has stripped it down some more, spending 181 balls in the match for scores of 9 and 37.

In the half hour or so he survived, he lacked the certainty of the previous evening. He was fortunate to survive an lbw appeal from Ashwin - another wicket that an India spinner might have gained had DRS been in place - and, when he tried to advance down the pitch to the same bowler, MS Dhoni entirely missed a stumping. Zaheer Khan got deserved reward for a combative potpourri by swinging one back to have him lbw.

Ojha then switched ends to remove Trott with one that turned, bringing a catch for Dhoni, but such occurrences were rare.

Pietersen's first innings had involved a series of cavalier advances down the pitch. On this occasion, he had little time for such fripperies, attempting an ungainly pre-meditated sweep to the sixth ball he faced, from Ojha. All he heard was the sound of ball against stump as a full-length delivery bowled him around his legs.

India's spinners bowl straight at him, like others have in the past, with the recognition that his defensive technique is fallible. Pietersen does not have a problem against left-arm spin apparently. And bees do not buzz and there is never honey for tea.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Carmilla on (November 19, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

Well done Cookan Essex man. Well done to to Prior, pity the others cannot do the same. Charlie

Posted by ayanraja on (November 19, 2012, 6:51 GMT)

Some stats to ponder for people whining over the pitch: India took 20 wickets - 7 pace, 13 spin (Pace % - 35%) England took 8 wickets - 1 pace, 7 spin (Pace % - 14%)

It would be better to teach your pacers how to bowl :)

Posted by   on (November 19, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

Dhoni's field placement has been too defensive, otherwise Elgland might have been out before end of the day. I think the T20 Dhoni. He is a fine captain in those formats - India needs a different (and more aggressive) captain for the test matches.

Posted by everfaithful77 on (November 19, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

You know I'm not Indian but I really admire the Indian players both current and former. However I really don't appreciate the refusal of the BCCI to embrace the DRS. INDIA IS THE ONLY TEST TEAM THAT HAS NOT ACCEPTED THE DRS. It doesn't make any sense since both teams have the DRS available to them whether batting or bowling. Umpires are human and do make mistakes so the DRS attempts to correct these errors like when Cook wasn't given out lbw to Ohja on the 4th day when replays showed that he was plumb. The match would've most probably ended on the 4th day had the DRS been available to Dhoni. I think the time has come for the other test teams to put their feet down. THEY SHOULD REFUSE TO PLAY ANY INTERNATIONAL CRICKET WITHOUT THE DRS IN PLACE.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (November 19, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

Excellent rearguard innings by Cook, reminiscent of Atherton's heroics against Donald and co many years ago in South Africa. As performances outside one's comfort zone are what counts, whether batsman or bowler, he's arguably the best England opener since Gooch with all due respect to Atherton and Vaughan. As for India I think Dhoni and co were right, we have to prepare rank turners in the next Tests or else our bowlers are also gonna find it hard to take 20 wickets

Posted by lethal007 on (November 19, 2012, 4:38 GMT)

What an inning by cook very very splendid inning, this could be a big turn around in this series...... Go cook make it big very big

Posted by ManeeshKumarAhuja on (November 19, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

A Draw here would mean a loss for India. It may change the whole complexion on kind of pitches which England will get in upcoming three venues.

Posted by Orienteer on (November 19, 2012, 3:15 GMT)

Don't agree with your DRS comment - Yuvraj would have been out first innings to Swann, and Patel would have not lost both his wickets. England have been outplayed by India, but India should join the 21st century and adopt DRS like everyone else. I'd love a match to be reviewed not talking about the umpiring. Keep it up Cookie!

Posted by Ayanmalik on (November 19, 2012, 2:49 GMT)

England is certainly showing better against india than they have showed against Pakistan a little while ago. I would rate Cook's Innings one of the best he has played ever. It would be great if he can save one for England here. Well played Mr. Cook. keep it up and Good luck.

Posted by xylo on (November 19, 2012, 2:48 GMT)

That was/is an exceptional innings by Cook and good support from Prior. If they can stretch it to a draw, that would be amazing, but even if they lose, they would depart from Ahmedabad on even terms irrespective of the points table.

I believe this has been the difference between both sides when it came to losing their #1 rank. India meekly surrendered far too many times in Australia, while England have shown a lot of fight.

Posted by andrew27994 on (November 19, 2012, 2:34 GMT)

After India made 521/8 dec and England went out to bat, I told my friends that England cannot win this match but I said the only men that can save England from that situation are Cook and Pietersen. Pietersen obviously continues to struggle against left arm spin but this man, Cook, and Hashim Amla are undoubtedly, in my mind the next best thing in Test Cricket(among batsmen) after VVS Laxman. This innings from Cook could be a real confidence booster for England to even win this series. In the 2010-11 Ashes, the 1st test was saved by Cook and Trott and from thereon England went on to win that series. So England will have the confidence to do just that in this series.

Posted by Meety on (November 19, 2012, 2:34 GMT)

Cook the Magnificent. He must of read the article on Fowler the other day! LOL! Good old fashioned batting. Assuming that India will score runs quicker than England, the Poms must bat for 60 overs (Tea Time) to Draw this match. If England set India anything over 150, it will be interesting to see whether it is chased, particularly if Sehwag falls early. Hopefully there will be some twists & turns as Cook & Prior have made a match of this. It would be disheartening for India - IF after bashing the preverbial out of England for 4 days, it ends as a draw!

Posted by MattyP1979 on (November 19, 2012, 2:27 GMT)

Eng have a glimmer, although it is still a faint one. More important is the fight shown in this second innings. With 3 to play for after this, the shock factor of no spin practice gone and a team re-jig it could be an interesting series. Eng will need the same application today and in the rest of the series (and the right side of the coin) to conquer Ind. After this test I believe more than ever they can do it. Finn/Monty to come in.

Posted by Marcian on (November 19, 2012, 1:36 GMT)

Fantastic innings from Alastair Cook: concentration, patience, technique and stamina in sub-continent conditions is truly remarkable. England is now in a position to save the match and if they do the momentum is with them for the next match and the rest of the series. Great fight back from gritty England. The series will be much closer than one thinks.

Posted by david44 on (November 19, 2012, 1:32 GMT)

we all know aliaster cook a very classy batsman he has showen his skills in the past and there is more batting to come these indian bowler's are not in the same class as pakistan's spin wizard for example ajmal will never go wicket less in 41 over's no matter what the situation is,i think india needs to come up with something else then spin to counter english batting this skipper's inning is a big boost to rest of the batting lineup.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 19, 2012, 1:06 GMT)

@Giridharan Jagannathan on (November 18 2012, 16:37 PM GMT), hindsight is always 20/20 but I doubt that many thought it was a bad decision to enforce the follow on when it was actually done. Most people, even England fans, thought that there was a good chance that England were already demoralised and would crumble anyway. Victory by an innings would really have rubbed salt into the wounds and made it very hard for England to come back mentally. Given the relatively short England first innings, I think that most people would have enforced the follow on, just as Dhoni did.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 19, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

@maximum6 on (November 18 2012, 17:00 PM GMT), the difficulty is still going to be getting those 150-170 runs. Even then, unless England can bag Sehwag early, India would still be in with a big chance of chasing down the target. If that situation were to arise and England could get a couple early then that might really set the cat amongst the pigeons. We'd likely really be missing Monty then. It would be a real shame for India if they ended up losing because Gambhir wasn't available to bat. That's still a long way of and a bit of a fantasy though. Certainly a draw would feel like a win to England after the first innings they had and India would definitely feel deflated going into the second Test.

Posted by Agila on (November 19, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

Suddenly, MS Dhoni is not willing to think outside box, which he once did and his sucess rate begun to decline. He should have tried other options to more of Yuvraj, Tendulkar's legbreaks along with Zaheer/ Umesh Yadav. He let Cook and Prior settle down. Well played Cook and Prior!

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 23:37 GMT)

I don't wish to get carried away. An Indian win is still the likeliest result by far, an early wicket tomorrow and it could all be over quickly. If Cook and Prior can bat out the first hour though, all bets are off. I'd back Bres, Broad and Swann to score off a tiring and dispirited attack, the draw becomes a possibility and even the faintest glimmer of an England win. Prior's been phenomenal, Cook has played an innings which should remind everyone of why Test cricket is the greatest form of the game, echoes of Athers in Jo'burg.

But please, England, should we somehow manage to get out of this one, or even if we merely salvage some pride, please don't forget how we got in this mess in the first place. Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Someone mention it to KP and the rest of the guys "just playing their natural game" eh? How many balls did Broad and Bres bang into the middle of the pitch?

Posted by dontlikecricket on (November 18, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

A brilliant innings by Cook. It shows if you play according to the conditions and cut out the "fancy" strokes, there are more opportunities to score. On the other side as I suspected for a long time that current Indian spinners are not as good as Pak spinners or even Srilankan spinners. Indian spinners had a very good opportunity to finish off the game today. Despite all of the above, I still think India has a strong chance to win. Key is to get one off them (Cook or Prior) early and put pressure on the remaining batsmen. Anyway its going to be an exciting finish!! Who says test cricket is boring!!

Posted by BG4cricket on (November 18, 2012, 23:11 GMT)

Terrific performance from Cook and Prior and I increasingly think that Prior is the glue that holds this team together. Obviously the first session is crucial and will shape as a series defining moment. England have a lot of batting to come and it is yet possible they can snatch a draw or even a very unlikely win which I think will really define the series if they do as they can take enormous belief out of such an effort - if they do I think they will go on to win the series.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 18, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

Once again Test cricket shows just how exciting the long form can be. While it could be all over in an hour today, there is also the potential for a real nail-biter. Interestingly, the game would likely be over already if DRS was in place. While India can take a moral victory from that, if they don't record an actual victory then they only have themselves to blame in that regard. Whatever happens, great respect to Cook and Prior for showing real grit under enormous pressure. They're showing what is possible with the right application so, even if England do lose this game, my hopes are still high for a competitive series. So as not to seem one-eyed, I don't want to forget the excellent innings by some of the Indian batsmen and I'd also like to recognise the efforts of Umesh Yadav in particular, who has shown the England pace bowlers a thing or two.

Posted by dunger.bob on (November 18, 2012, 22:54 GMT)

That's the way England, this is much better. .. show us all how it's done. I would like to see the following scenario, but I also realise that's it's not likely to happen... England play sensibly but aggressively. They look to score runs and in 1.5 sessions they pile on 180 -190, leaving India 1.5 sessions to either get the 200 runs or play out the draw. .. why would I like to see that ? Well, simply because it would be the first time in the match India is under some pressure from the scoreboard. They will also have to make a decision as to whether they are going to go for the win or not. That's probably not something they thought they would have to do and it would just be interesting to see how they react. .. as far as I can see, England have already exceeded anything India was able to do in England, so if I were in charge of India I would definitely go for the win because if the match is drawn all the "Revenge" talk is just hot air. India has to win 4-0 to get true revenge.

Posted by maddy20 on (November 18, 2012, 22:26 GMT)

Still, we are just 1 wicket away from breaking into their tail. An inspired spell from our seamers early in the day will be enough to skittle England for a slender lead. Sehwag and Gambhir will do the rest. The match is still very much ours to win despite of Cook's brilliance.

Posted by RJHB on (November 18, 2012, 22:23 GMT)

If these decisions continue to "go against" India, as their fans will tell you is always the case, don't be surprised if suddenly the BCCI decides that the DRS will be used for the Australian series. Here's a team that needs absolutely everything stacked in their favour to compete!

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (November 18, 2012, 22:04 GMT)

I always thought the English batters are a force to be reckoned with. Cook's innings was a treat to watch in terms of temperament and technique. An enjoyable test that the teams are contesting. Pleasingly, players are concentrating on game skills, not slegding or verbal intimidation. Good for the young kids watching and learning from the skills of Cook and Prior.

Posted by oval77 on (November 18, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

Lots of sporting comments and deserved praise for Cook here, but let's face it (and I say this as an Eng fan) it's a bit early to sound the death knell for India in this series yet! India have won three of the first four days easily, and I expect them to win the match tomorrow. If they let this victory slip between their fingers then yes there's a lot of soul-searching to be done. But don't jump the gun! ENG to add another 80 runs in their innings and IND to win mid-afternoon, 90-odd for 1.

Posted by voice_of_reason on (November 18, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

As a few others on here have noted, the pitch is slow and low. Decent Test batsmen should be able to survive long periods on it. Only the odd ball has done something outrageous and usually out of the rough. This isn't a raging turner. As we move into day 5, we might expect it to deteriorate but England's terrible 1st innings batting will have been their downfall here if they lose this, not the non-existent demons in the pitch.

Posted by the_blue_android on (November 18, 2012, 20:48 GMT)

Hat's off to Cook. Easily the best test batsman in the last 3 years. He's probably the only player who is well accomplished on all types of wickets. I easily expect/want him to score more runs than SRT in test cricket. Respect ! from an Indian supporter.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

Great performance by Cook...England may save the match.It is very good test to watch.

Posted by garibaldi on (November 18, 2012, 20:08 GMT)

Like many England fans, I was absolutely delighted to wake up this morning to the news that Cook and Prior had at last shown a bit of fight. But let's not get carried away- one wicket before lunch will surely be enough for India to finish this off. If I get up tomorrow and find that Cook and Prior have successfully toughed it out I will of course be more than happy to eat my words!

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (November 18, 2012, 20:05 GMT)

What an innings by Cook!! This is the hallmark of a great player - he plays when his team needs him. Scoring meaningless centuries against Bangladesh does not make one great.

Posted by jb633 on (November 18, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

Great to see all the real Indian cricket fans here who are not satisfied with constantly trolling and trash talking. I am glad Cook's innings are getting the same levels of recognition that Dravid's batting in England got. I still think India will go onto win this game but I am glad that one of our players has shown the way on a SC pitch. It could be extremley interesting for the game if India need to chace say 150 in a session, with Sehwag going all guns blazing.

Posted by davo1 on (November 18, 2012, 19:57 GMT)

Fantastic captain's innings from Cook. I would say remarkable but he is starting to make a habit of this, so I'm not too surprised. The next issue is whether he can turn it into a truly great innings. For this he would need to bat well beyond lunch tomorrow.

England have a difficult game to play. Against different opposition then they would feel fairly confident if they made it though to the drinks break between lunch and tea but they will be haunted by Sehwag's innings on their last tour. This is where he offers so much to India: even if England only lose their last wicket at tea they will not feel safe because they know he can add as much in one session as they can in two.

Cook and Prior aside, another woeful performance by our top and middle order, matched only by the woeful performance by our selectors. How Monty isn't in the team is beyond meA draw should be seen as a reprieve. We will not outbat India on this tour, we might just outbowl them.

Posted by marlboro19 on (November 18, 2012, 19:52 GMT)

As an Indian supporter it was frustrating to see Cook bat, and that IMO is a sign of greatness - when you don't only frustrate the opposing team , but also the fans. As Gavaskar pointed out , Cook has seemingly invincible bating tactics on subcontinent - defense on the front foot , punish even the slightest error on the back foot. They did some stats comparing first 84 tests of Tendulkar and Cook, and both of them had almost same runs after 84 tests ( except Tendulkar avg 58 and cook 47). It's still early, but in next five years i think there will be three batsmen again akin to the trio of Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar- Cook, Kohli and Amla , With Cook mre like Tendulkar and Kohli More like Ponting.

Posted by NCP1 on (November 18, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

India can still hope to win but take nothing away from COOK or Prior or few of them to follow, Bresnan and Broad can bat and draw this match. This clearly will expose Dhoni as a Test Captain/Batsman. Ganguly has implied time and time again that Dhoni is good for short format only but no one is listening.

Posted by recycle-bin-is-empty on (November 18, 2012, 18:44 GMT)

@158notout I was also thinking the same thing lol. Just imagine a test lineup of 1. Cook 2, Amla 3. Dravid 4. Kallis 5. Trott 6. Sanga(WC and Captain) 7. Laxman....rest other bowlers, playing for a timeless test on a FLAT WICKET. Sanga has won the toss and has opted to bat first. How many days you think thier first innings will go ??

On another note, excellent innings Mr Cook, you and Swann have won the hearts of many Indians in this match. From an Indian perspective the positive from today was the excellent bowling by Yadav and Ojha. Even though their efforts were getting Cooked but still they bowled their hearts out. Cant wait for tommrw. India can still win the match, first session is very critical but.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

Samit Patel must feel very unlucky and his two dismissals could be career ending misjudgments by Aleem Dar and Tony Hill, not for the Umpires but for Samit Patel.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 18:32 GMT)

India wants an allrounder. There is one playing for UP in Ranji trophy. Bhuwaneshwar seems a decent . If only he has the luck. Am sure he will be good for ODIs at least. Have to groom such players...

Posted by ra_tokyo on (November 18, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

Salute to England for showing the fighting spirits. Had India been in the same position as England, they'd have already lost (refer to the series played in England)!

Posted by Essex_Man on (November 18, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

MartinC has summed it up perfectly. Another stunning knock by the Chef; and Prior has once again underlined that he is the pre-eminent wkt/batsman in world cricket at the moment.

This is shaping up to be another cracking Test match!

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 18, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

Well played Cook and Prior who do like the Indian bowlers in Engalnd and India. With the India in the field for 2 days, it's hard to see where the wickets will come from tomorrow. Will probably have to wait for either of these 2 batsmen to get tired and play a false stroke but given that the England's last 3 wickets added 100 runs in the first innings in conditions favourable for bowling, could the tables be turning? If England score quickly tomorrow and with rested bowlers they could ask some questions of India. A draw at least would give England momentum and confidence for the rest of the series. How significant will Pujara's let off on 8 be and Dhoni's decision to enforce the follow on. This is a poor pitch even by Indian standards with there being no winners and cricket being the only loser in this test.

Posted by Vindaliew on (November 18, 2012, 18:10 GMT)

DRS might have saved Patel in the second innings, but it would also have removed him earlier in the first. These things sometimes do balance out, and Patel is a fool if he tries to make excuses.

Posted by disco_bob on (November 18, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

Cook is proving to be rather splendid. He was marked for greatness early on like Clarke, but it's too early in his captaincy to compare just yet, by the time the Ashes roll around having two captains like Clarke and Cook should make for perhaps some classic Ashes battles.

Posted by sk12 on (November 18, 2012, 17:55 GMT)

Well played Cook. Awesome innings.. if only Gambhir had played similar innings in Oz, cutting down on his pokes outside off.. Interesting to see if they go for quick runs tomorrow to set up 200 in 50 overs.. even though the pitch has slowed up considerably, they will be in with a chance if we try to go for it..

Posted by JG2704 on (November 18, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

I'm trying to keep grounded re this. Obviously well played Cook and Prior who at least have taken it into the 5th day and are making India bat again which is some form of consolation after the comms yesterday that we wouldn't get to lunch today and when our experienced middle order subsided once more I felt it would be all over by stumps this evening. It's still highly unlikely that we will hold out tomorrow. India really need just the one wicket and they're through to our bowlers. I can see India winning after a brave but fruitless fight by England which(long term) in a way is worse because at least if we lost by an inns etc then it would be harder to address the issues which need addressing. The one good thing is that Bell goes home after this and good luck to him and his partner with the new arrival

Posted by JG2704 on (November 18, 2012, 17:51 GMT)

@GRVJPR on (November 18 2012, 13:16 PM GMT) You have to be kidding me. Yesterday you said on the "England Openers Fight" thread @14,43pm "As far as DRS is concerned India is right and will stand by it. Our bowlers don't like taking cheap wickets like Ajmal does" and today it's "While Spinners of Other teams enjoy DRS, our rediculous stand on technology will cost us this match. If DRS would have been there, India would have won this already. But No, we want to win it the hard way" please publish ESPN

Posted by JG2704 on (November 18, 2012, 17:50 GMT)

Re DRS - I think it has probably hindered India not having it. Re the Cook/Patel examples - I think Suresh Lalvani is spot on. If that was when he was in his 30s , he's gone on to score another 125 odd runs since. Sure Patel was unlucky , but could anyone have seen him scoring a big 100 like Cook? And to me Patel looks like very vulnerable to the LBWs. Still it was India's choice

Posted by Imran-Akram on (November 18, 2012, 17:50 GMT)

Y so much talk abt DRS in the article wheras India is the biggest (and only) opponent of the system..

Posted by Edassery on (November 18, 2012, 17:46 GMT)

This particular timely knock from the English captain in the very first test is going to set the tone for the rest of this series. Had he got out after hitting a 100, he wouldn't have got the kind of respect he commanded today. I hope that the likes of Trott, KP and Ian Bell take a leaf of what he essayed today. Amazingly poised test match due to the sheer resilience by the captain though India still might have an edge.

Suddenly, I am looking forward to the rest of the series despite all those pitch issues...

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 17:46 GMT)

Well done England. Great job by Cook and Prior. Keeping my fingers crossed for morning session. It will decide the game for sure.

Posted by A_Yorkshire_Lad on (November 18, 2012, 17:45 GMT)

@ Arvind Singh - "India should move away from playing test cricket..... " Oh come on , things can't be that bad , surely ! We want MORE test-playing nations , not less ! In any case , this match is far from over and most England supporters are not overly optimistic about us winning this series !

Posted by bMike on (November 18, 2012, 17:36 GMT)

Great fight from England. We didn't see that kind of fight from India when they toured England the last time. That's why most of people call Indian team as flat track bullies.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 17:33 GMT)

If not for poor umpiring,<Samit Patel's LBW> England would have been in a better position! And, Cook's gritty innings is the one of the best of recent times!

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

Yep definitely a draw. Well, England were green top bullies - but at least they knew how to manufacture a green top. It seems the Indian establishment dosen't even know how to make a turner - I mean if the plan was to have turning tracks to gain revenge, how does one explain this track? Further this weird obstinacy against DRS is just not understandable. So are the shenanigans with media outlets. No significant improvements to stadium amenities for the general public and the list goes on and on...Definitely the BCCI is an organization drunk in its own power to know what its doing...

Posted by A_Yorkshire_Lad on (November 18, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

Well , after the first two days of play I never imagined that we would find ourselves in this position , that's for certain! In all honesty , I reckon that an Indian victory is the most likely outcome but if ( and that's a very VERY big if ! ) England are still batting after lunch and the score has progressed to 175-200 , then Cook will be presented with quite a quandary - does he go on and try to actually WIN the match , or will he merely be content with having saved it ? If he sets India a 'reasonable' target then the pressure would be massively on Dhoni who , after looking like the winning captain practically from the off , would feel obliged to chase it down - the possibilty of then being on the losing side would be a rather uncomfortable thought! If that's the scenario , let's see who blinks first ! Stay tuned !

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

English players are over coached on how to play spin. Compton, Bell, Peterson seem to confused.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (November 18, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

A great display from messrs Cook and Prior and a great marker for future games. All results are still possible in this test and I can just feel Matt Prior wanted to 'express' himself! The first seesion will be very important and England could be bundled out for a further 100 or so (even less) but if they can be batting still 'til nearly tea time the game will be safe, Indeed if the pitch deteriates significanly it'll be India who'll struggle after all this time in the field? I guess the smart money will be on the draw but England have shown a character that I don't think India possess? Cook is a fantastic pragmatic leader and his batting example is inspiational. At least India and all it's fans know that they are in for a fight and win, lose or draw Englannd have exposed the folly of flat tracks. I will be watching tomorrow with the preverbial 'baited breath' but I'm hopeful of an historic upset here..... COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

The Indians have let the test slip out of their control... While they were totally in control during the first session, cook single-handedly turned the game in the nxt 2 sessions... Both Ashwin & Ojha couldnt get the balls in the right areas... Dhoni should have tried a few overs with Sehwag...He is known for his crucial breakthroughs and will surely get a wicket at the right time... If India has to win this test, they have to restrict the lead to within 150...

Posted by muneeb2012 on (November 18, 2012, 17:11 GMT)

this is(was?) d best chance for india to win...dey won d toss,enjoyed best batting conditions,scored heavily,got a big 1st innings lead on a dreadful wicket for an english batsman...if somehow englnd manages to draw dis match,i m sure dat india will never b able to win dis series...i knew cook will score big...and i know that trott can also do d same in coming matches

Posted by landl47 on (November 18, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

If England can draw this match (still very unlikely) it will be a great achievement by Cook and Prior, but it shouldn't hide the fact that a side in which batsmen 3-6 only make 67 runs in the entire match is going to lose almost every game it plays. England needs to learn from this; the Indian bowling, as Cook and Prior have demonstrated, is far from unplayable and the other batsmen need to get their heads sorted out.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (November 18, 2012, 17:00 GMT)

Another 150-70 runs and we can get out of this one without too much difficulty. I would under the circumstances back Cook and prior to fulfil their end of the bargain-200 and 100 are in the offing- and bresnan and the rest can score some especially if the real spin has gone. I sort of thought Cook might do this-it's the nature of the man and he will have enjoyed it, I think. Obviously a win would be rreal treat and I see no reason beyond time to rule it out, but I would take a draw. Defeat is too ugly a word to bother with.

Posted by PrasPunter on (November 18, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

For once, am happy seeing an Englishman batting with aplomb. Go Cook !! Keep them at bay for another couple of sessions !! And for all the talk about DRS, people who live by sword die by the same. Isn't it poetic justice that bcci's resistance to an otherwise better system has come back to haunt it's own team !! Love to see this happening again and again !!! Good luck England !!

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

In the land of snake charmers there are very few snakes. In the land known for spinners, there are hardly any good ones. And it was a stupid decision to enforce the follow on. India should have batted and set 600 and then attacked England. A demoralized England would have crumbled. But England were fresher and eager to carry out their plans. Also India lacks a 5th bowler - not a paceman but a spinner for these conditions. Warney or Murali or Saqlian or Kumble would have finished off England by Tea ;)

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

Why Dohni dosnt wont give more overs to Shewag & Yuvraj? They both are more handy to break partnerships. Dohni may missing few tricks. Time to go for a change in captain & bring new ideas.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

It is obvious that both Ashwin and Indian Cricket Management have run out of tricks in their bags. Management had the tricks of denying whatever quality spin is available in India during warmups and then laying a turning slow pitch to support out of form batsmen and spinners. Ashwin drained his limited overs skills in the process and looked far from being world class. It was dissappointing to see no mention of averages these english batsmen earned during whitewash series in UAE that is not the home ground of either team. Body language of Captain XOOL never depicted that India is still in lead and spinners continuously lost patience and expressed that wickets are their right as their board has given them a rank turner. England fightback confirms their ICC ranking while India's ran does not seem to be turning anytime sooner. Whatever spin resources were denied during warmups were exposed in the later part of first english innings and then in the second innings. 3 out of 5 went to seemers

Posted by darsh127 on (November 18, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

And the funny thing is, when sehwag scored his century, it was FLAT TRACK and now cook has done the same, its masterclass.smh

Posted by mrkhan555 on (November 18, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

well done England well done Cook. and you india need to learn the lesson how to fight back. remember teem india you never fought back in england and in australia. the only thing you did that you criticised wicket, empires, and drs.

Posted by basusri133b on (November 18, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

Most heartening to see England fight back, in this test. A great performance by Cook, India should take note of the fighting spirit displayed by England.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 18, 2012, 16:17 GMT)

Cook and Prior leave India high and dry. An England win on cards.

Posted by deol84 on (November 18, 2012, 16:13 GMT)

Well done england to bat on day four,lot of indian fans are expecting victory today but it didnt happen.what happen to ashwin and his special mystrey ball too much talk no result(ashwin is not great kumble or bishan bedi just ipl bowler).India may win this test match but hats off to coock and prior.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

Indian spinners and fans are paying for the negligence of the BCCI. It's not just about the let offs, but the DRS also makes the defensive long-stretch-forward unsafe. And that tips the balance of the game in favor of spinners and positive results on slow surfaces.

Posted by krvij on (November 18, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

It's great to see Eng fight back. At the end of day 2 I thought the series will be one sided looking at how Eng batted, they just panicked. Now they seem to have recovered well lead by captain Cook, the match is interesting. I salute Mr. Cook, I'm glad he did well. Disappointed with Dhoni's captaincy tough.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 15:56 GMT)

Salute the man in charge of England. What an innings it has been. I think, England will draw this test match because the wicket is so slow that no bowler whether spin or pace will be successful. Why in England in 2011, when conditions were against India, our greatest batsmen were not showing the resolve of Alister Cook. BCCI is totally standing exposed for their blunder in not accepting DRS, when every country is adopting the technology. Who can give a wake up call to BCCI to shun their arrogance and be logical when rest of the world has accepted DRS. Our bowlers are badly let down by the irrational opposition to DRS. Will Sachin and Dhoni rake up the issue with BCCI or behave like submissive good boys of BCCI?

Posted by MartinC on (November 18, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

Great - a word that is over used but really appropriate in this case - knock from Cook. Excellent support from Prior as well. Thats given us a sniff of a draw but India still big favourites to win. We need to bat to until at least half way through the second session. Cook needs to get his 200 and Prior a 100.

Leaving India 150 to win with a session and a half would make things interesting! Would they stick or twist?

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

BTW... in my opinion, it is high time to sack the Indian Cricket Coach. Frankly, I fail to notice aby positive change in the team ever since we have gotten him. Indian cricket team has gone straight downhill since the appointment of this new coach. The signs are "telling". Had it been a coach of India origin... media and fans would have started asking for his resignation/firing right after the last England series! And, by now, he might have become history. He might have been a good coach about 10-12 years ago; but, that was like saying that the Balckberries were the best phones 6 years ago! It doesn't matter now.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

What cricket Cook has been playing! I think, India is done - not just for this test, but, for the series! Cook is great! This England team is pretty good. Indian team at the moment is just an average 5th ranked team in my view. It would be "nice" if Indian players, captain, supporters and commentator stop talking about "revenge" and just focus on playing decent cricket. That 0-8 loss was something that had never happened before and there is nothing in the world that make up for it now. India was immensely outclassed for about 9 months. I think it would be nice if we stop hiding from that reality. .......As for Prior - Prior and Broad had destroyed Indian "attack" many times in England too. .....I think India should slowly move away from playing test cricket and just focus on ODIs and Y20s.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (November 18, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

What a knock by thr gr8 batsman. Indias problem over the last several years has been delivering the knock out punch. We take first 5 wickets easily and then let go the momentum. That is coz we do not have quality bowlers like a Ajmal or Malinga or an Akram or Waqar.Cook and Prior will take ENG home and secure a draw.

Posted by VinodGupte on (November 18, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

well done, cook. there are only a few respectable test batsmen in the current crop of batsmen and you are one of them. given that you are only 27, you have an incredible career ahead of you. respect!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 18, 2012, 15:36 GMT)

After conquering Australia, Cook has now translated his incredible ability in the Sub-Continent.

Posted by brusselslion on (November 18, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

What a difference a day makes (and not just to England's batting).

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 17 2012, 14:43 PM GMT) "...As far as DRS is concerned India is right and will stand by it. Our bowlers don't like taking cheap wickets like Ajmal does."

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 18 2012, 13:16 PM GMT): "..While Spinners of Other teams enjoy DRS, our rediculous stand on technology will cost us this match. If DRS would have been there, India would have won this already. But No, we want to win it the hard way."

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (November 18, 2012, 15:28 GMT)

Whether India go on to win or not, this has been a monumental effort from Cook. With this inning, he has earned the respect of Indian fans including me.

Posted by Hobbart on (November 18, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

@Yorkerstump: I back you up for what u say..Cook's innings is what motivated Prior too..and will surely reflect in the minds of more English batters post the test. While I feel India is gonna win this Test, this Cook's innings will have a positive effect later in this series for England !

Posted by Akshita29 on (November 18, 2012, 15:21 GMT)

If Drs was these Yuvraj would have been out for 20 against Swan in the 1st half of the 2nd day . One reason BCCI did not allow DRS for the series is that India have been receiving end of DRS in some decisions when it was used in Srilanka for the 1st time in a test series that involved India . And most recently in the India Nz series India benifited by not having DRS as many of the wrong or doubtful decisions went against NZ . Hence BCCI is sitting happy with no DRS. However we might just get see DRS in India for the Aus series if Indian Spinners keep getting fraustated by no DRS . However if India is benifited by not having DRS in the next few matches then we might never see DRS in India.

Posted by Indian_Cricket_Fanatic on (November 18, 2012, 15:15 GMT)

If cook and prior can play out the first session and half of the second, this match can well go on to be a draw. Indian bowlers are disappointing. I wish somehow India gets them out before tea and win it !! ...

Posted by usernames on (November 18, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

Guys, this has been an absolutely epic innings. I sincerely hope they get another 150-180, and give India a bit of a chase. They have deserved to be in the position they are in, and though I would want an Indian win, there's nothing wrong in admitting that Cook has been absolutely spectacular. The guy is class.

Posted by Nampally on (November 18, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

A good summary of the day's play, David. I personally feel that this match is heading for a Draw. The pitch has slowed down so much that Ojha & Ashwin are no longer as effective as in the first. Also Cook & Prior are right on top & have coped very well. It will be tough to get them out early on. India has been on field for over 2 days with tired bowlers & fielders. They have to produce a fantastic performance in bowling & fielding in the first hour to win this match. Can they do it? They need all breaks going their way including the Umpiring decisions. Thanks to Aleem Dar the match is still going, as you have rightly stated. Much credit goes to Prior & Cook for their gutsy batting performance. The pitch's split personality is hard to fathom. It has played sportingly in the first 2.5 days & then became very slow. What will the Pitch do on Day 5? If it becomes a shooter, then an odd ball might get Cook & Prior out. That is the one way India might win Or ojha's magic into play!.

Posted by Hobbart on (November 18, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

Yesterday I mentioned about people getting too hyped over the spin use and that reverse swing too would play some role, and today it did, although Dhoni didn't use it enough for some reason of his own. Game is India's for sure, but England smell blood here !

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (November 18, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

IF we can get another 150-80 who knows. We will need runs from the tail as well as Cook and Prior staying together for another session-the incentives are there for sure-and we may get a draw or ...an Indian collapse.Anyway we have made the fifth day so where there's life there's hope. Well played, guys!! I sort of thought Cook might do something.

Posted by Akshita29 on (November 18, 2012, 14:49 GMT)

@long leg I was one of them and I would still stand by it . Kp looks fragile against left arm spin but he would for sure help England win at least one match sometime in the series . If not then I would be sad and would say he still would do well in the Ashes 2013. I am a die hard fan of Kp and still be hoping for a century in the next match. Plz plz Kp get your head right and no funky strokes .

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 14:43 GMT)

Of course, India are very much the favourites to win but if Cook and Prior survive the first hour, the draw will become favourite as there is still batting to come and the wicket is pretty much dead. A draw will feel like a win for England and will hurt the Indians. Great test cricket!! Game on!! :-)

Posted by jb633 on (November 18, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

@getsetgopk, the difference is your bowlers are a class apart. Meaning no disrespect to the Indian attack, who I thought bowled very well, but facing your spinners is the hardest challenge for an English side. Personally I think the ultimate tests in cricket at the moment are facing the Pak spinners in the UAE and the SA seamers in SA. If you come through those tests you are world class.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

25 characters won't be enough to salute the character this guy has shown today. So, all I'm going to say is-

Respect, Mr. Alastair Cook!

Posted by Akshita29 on (November 18, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

GRVJP plz Show some respect for a great innings . These are alien conditions for Cook and consider the pressure and situation of the game and on a 4th day dustbowl with a chunk of pitch coming of now and then and ball keeping low ,with 2 quality spinners bowling with man around the bat with a mountain of first innings debt on the scorecard the concentration and will to go on shown by him was almost inhuman . What you saying is like saying what was great about VVS LAXMAN'S great 281 run innings for india on a flat track ? Even though that was home condition against a much better attack that pitch on the 4 th day of the game actually way more flat than this one and still I would rate that was a great test innings so should you . Plz show some respect for a great innings by cook . And it's a lession for some of our indian batsman too who just did not show any fight in England and Australia in alien conditions and just kept giving excuse of greentop .

Posted by stormy16 on (November 18, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

Credit where its due and Eng have been sensational to get to where they are now but lots more to be done to save this game. If there was any doubt before, there should be none now about Cook being one of the greatest batters Eng have produced. He has done well in Asia following up his Aus sensation. India still could win this before lunch tomorrow due to Eng being so far behind after the first innings disaster. A distant thought is Eng batting mid way in to the afternoon session with a lead of say 150 and the impact Swan could have on a 5th day wicket. That would be an exciting prospect.

Posted by AdilKhans on (November 18, 2012, 14:28 GMT)

Cook played an innings of his life and guided england to some respectability after being 199/5. He was ably supported by prior without which england could have been in dire straits. Can england save this test match is a matter of time but today's hero was definitely cook for his superb century.

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 18, 2012, 14:28 GMT)

Without DRS, India Needs Lot of Luck. These umpires won't give any LBW. They don't give because they are used to teams reviewing the decision and then deciding it after consulting with Third umpire. Real heart break for young Indian Spinners who tried really hard along with seamers under flat conditions

Posted by steve19191 on (November 18, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

Finn out injured, Broad carrying an injury, red clay content raised in a new pitch to aid India┬┤s so called strength, no spinners in the practise matches, constant rubbishing of england in the indian press, screaming fans, screaming whirling dervish appeals everytime a ball gets near the pad.

All this an India still cannot force a win inside 4 days....this is one Saffer that thinks India should be pleased if they still have test status by the end of 2013.They are an even weaker team than the Aussies.

Posted by mayank125 on (November 18, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

india should get 4 spinners in now on......call amit mishrra and piyush chawla

Posted by BrianCharlesVivek on (November 18, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

Had DRS been in place Samit Patel also would have survived too. So one sided article..

Posted by getsetgopk on (November 18, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

When England played last time against Pakistan in UAE, Cook was the only guy we were afraid of stealing the show but we some how managed to get him mostly thanks to DRS. Cook is a batsman with rare skill and determination. He's the man to watch out for.

Posted by YorkerStump on (November 18, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

@GRVJPR

It's an innings that shows grit and determination with our backs to the wall. When an innings defeat looked so likely after the double strike from Yadav. Cook just kept grinding it out, showing everyone else how to play spin in a controlled manner. He has dug in and filled his boots so far...may he continue so tomorrow!

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (November 18, 2012, 14:10 GMT)

And also hope my fellow Indians, some of them who are growing more arrogant by the day(this despite India having nothing to show since April 2011) toshow some respect and appreciative of the visitors, atleast when they come up with courageous efforts like today's. I remember being in UK last year, and there were many,many articles written in the English press praising Dravid and even Praveen kumar, for being the sole Indians to stand up and be counted in last years whitewash. Despite we being largely a one-sport nation, we still are can't produce a world beating team and this be kept in mind the next time we think that all we need to do is to step on the field, and the opposition shall roll over

Posted by sensible-indian-fan on (November 18, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

Great playing by Cook. Man, he is a beast. Taking nothing away from him and Matt Prior, the fact is that the wicket has become really flat. Even Graham Gooch admitted it. I am an Indian fan and I hate excuses but I made a comment yesterday (in a different article) wondering why the pitch was not assisting quick turn. Ahmedabad was ALWAYS a flat track paradise but since the pitch was relaid, everyone expected it to deteriorate which it clearly hasn't. So anything can happen tomorrow though I believe that the Indians will find batting just as easy as how English find it now. An interesting 5th day is ON.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

Greats Innings by Alistair Cook....hopefully his team mates will now learn from him and play some good cricket....I, an Indian Fan want India to win but only after playing good cricket. Good Luck Boys !!!

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

So the DRS wheel turns. I make it 10 bad decisions in this match so far. 5 for each team. They've cost about he same for each team as well. I'm a fan of DRS, it would have meant the game was over by now. India would probably have won. Without DRS and with these 10 mistakes we have a thrilling last day in prospect. Hard choice this one. Being right? Or better cricket? The two should go together of course :)

Posted by torsha on (November 18, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

Cook and Prior both have survived by two plumb lbws. As always, India has suffered more. Nonetheless hoping to see exciting finish.

Posted by Long-Leg on (November 18, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

Hands up all those who think Pietersen is England's best batsman. Err... no one! There were a lot of you on these boards a couple of months ago crying out for the ECB to bring him back.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (November 18, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

Hats off to Cook for what was was a truly masterful innings! For those talking about "another innings on a flat track", then that would mean three things: 1) Indias 500plus had no merit, since it was on a flat track 2) I suppose you slept right through Sunday, since you clearly did not see the odd delivery turn and bounce alarmingly 3) There were enough flat tracks when India went to England in 2011, particularly after negotiating the first day(Cook himself got 294). How come not ONE indian batter(barring Dravid) got runs then. Cook showed technique, class and heart. Just hear the way Gavaskar and Ganguly and the other Indians in the commentary box waxed eloquent about his innings. They clearly have played a bit more cricket than some of the 'patriots' ranting on about here!!

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

a classy act by a person who made his test debut against India in India and made a century on debut and has thus carried his form since then. Alastair Cook, what a player! he has shown english boys that this is the way to bat on turning tracks someone like kevin pietersen should learn from him. also a sign of worry to MSD that if they are manage to make a draw doubts would be raised in his captaincy regarding using available resources. well lets see whats hidden but definitely one of best knocks i have seen in recent years.

Posted by fan_2_fans on (November 18, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

This is test cricket at its best,the game can change any time.I think India lacked aggression after giving follow on on day 3,and thought england will again loose wickets in heap.England were asked to follow on in final session on day 3,in which batsmen usually try to preserve wickets,india should have attacked during this session.Now I think all three results are possible.Though I dont see India loseing. And lastly well played A.Cook.

Posted by Samdanh on (November 18, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

Good, tight bowling in extremely good bowling conditions-both for pacers and spinners, and extraordinary batting by Cook and Prior and even Bell to some extent. Irrespective of how this match goes tomorrow, England has taught a lesson to India in their second innings of the very first Test match-on how to fight-which India did not do-either in England or Australia, leave alone second innings of First Test, in none of the four, long Tests in both tours. Zaheer and Umesh bowled really well, much better than England bowlers, even though the conditions did not help them much, except when the ball was old. They were accurate and bowled in right areas when the ball was swinging reverse. But for them, we would have seen 3 less wickets today, and imagine what a position England would have been at end day 4! Well done Zaheer and Umesh

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

Cook has in it him to cook a draw for England from here on. He is a batsman in the classical mould and it is refreshing to see someone drop the anchor and play the waiting game in this era of slam bang T20.He is old fashioned for sure but this is what test cricket is all about.It is not as if India didnt try out to get through his obdurate defence,but his powers of concentration are so mighty that it looked almost unbreachable. Prior has proven prior also that he has all the makings of a great wicketkeeper batsman.Beneath his aggressive exterior there is a massive reserve of steely resolve. It was delightful to see their combined firefighting which has almost doused fires of a lopsided defeat. England may still go on to lose this test,but their fighting spirit will rekindle the interest in cricket aficionados who had all but given up the hope of an even series.Come on Old Blighty !!!

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

Definitely Cook led by example. Pure class displayed by the skipper. Performances like these make Test Cricket interesting. I was taken back when England was dismissed poorly in First Innings. Thought it would be pure one sided game, but excellent fight back by English team. Now this test is interesting!!!

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 18, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

I don't know why people are so over the moon about Cook's innings. It's just another hundred on a Flat Track.

Posted by Badgerofdoom on (November 18, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

@Suresh Lalvani Yes possibly Cook would have been out but then again I'm not sure that Patel or Broad have been out once between them. For me DRS is an important part of test cricket and not using it really feels like a big step backwards, the fact that its not even allowed on the TV replays for this series is just annoying.

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 18, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

While Spinners of Other teams enjoy DRS, our rediculous stand on technology will cost us this match. If DRS would have been there, India would have won this already. But No, we want to win it the hard way. Really Bad Umpiring from ALeem Dar throughout this match.

Posted by avilashi on (November 18, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

hats off to u cook for your classy inning and especially on a pitch where spinners rule: u have really set the example to those who scare playing against spin bowling in subcontinent. This must b yours one of the best fought stances against any team. But there is going 2 b a twist cos it's a herculean task to survive in the first hour at Motera on fifth n final day where the pitch behaves quite unexpectedly. And for England to draw the match from the jaw of defeat, they have to exhibit their game plan with great amount of patience n solid rock at the crease otherwise the tide will turn in favor of India. Once again, salute to captain Cook for his matured n scintillating inning......................

Posted by Tlotoxl on (November 18, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

the Indian bowlers are really going to struggle in the next test if this innings goes much longer, Ashwin has bowled 68 overs in the 2 innings, Ojha 66 overs and the rather fragile Zaheer has bowled over 30, combined with the 2 1/2 days non stop in the field and only a 4 day turnaround to the next text this could be very difficult to play especially if England bat first.

Posted by Vindaliew on (November 18, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

I don't often see the same two batsmen being heroes in both innings of a Test. Usually others step up to the mark while one of the 1st innings heroes fails in the second. The Cook and Prior show is simply masterclass from two players of very contrasting style.

Posted by hnlns on (November 18, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

Today's proceedings in Motera should amply demonstrate why you cannot underestimate any visiting team, not just England. Even when pitch is spinner friendly, it needs to have enough pace and bounce for catches to carry to fielders, else not much can be expected from any spinner, not just Ashwin or Ojha. I have a feeling that if England can somehow negotiate the first hour without losing a wicket and last till an hour after lunch scoring around 120 runs, they can even fancy putting Indian batsmen under some panic by using Swann on a last day pitch.

Posted by maddy20 on (November 18, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

First of all very well played England. By far the best innings by a visiting batsman in India in a long long time. Alistair Cook you beauty! While the pitch is no minefield as England made it look like in their first innings, but it is a challenging wicket. The amount of reverse Yadav and Zaheer were getting, I felt Dhoni missed a trick by not using them.Yadav was getting good bounce from what was described as a dust bowl. It was impressive to see balls whizzing past the helmets!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 18, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

Stirring stuff from Cook. Maybe captaincy will improve his batting, a la Michael Clarke. Also Prior showing why England's resistance to batting him at #6 is misguided. It's worth noting that India probably would have been bowled out for less than England have so far scored in their second innings had England held their chances. Not that England haven't had some luck this innings too. In the unlikely event that England do save this match it will feel like a win and they will definitely go into the second game with the momentum. Whatever the result, it hasn't exactly been a team effort though, so they have many questions to answer. You'd think that Finn and Panesar would have to come into the team, so does that mean Bresnan and Broad miss out or does Patel lose his place? Dropping Patel weakens the batting too much I'd say. If Bairstow comes in for Bell and does well, does Bell miss out in game 3? You'd think so. At least bringing Monty in should improve the catching.

Posted by malepas on (November 18, 2012, 12:43 GMT)

To all Indian fans,,who thought they will just roll over England,,just not gonna merialised (Ind may still win it) but what we have seen that India gonna find this more more and difficult in coming tests,,Most Indian colleagues were drawing scems from UAE series,,but people forgetting that Umer Gul there took around 11 wickets and at time broke through the English top order. India doesn't seems to have Gul in them (Zak is past his best now) and I kept reminding people that Ashwin is not Ajmal's class,,so there u have it. India should have played Bhaji,,as he would have been more potent, and play with just one seemer. Best of luck to both teams.

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 18, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

suresh lalvani you cannot pick and choose which decision would be reversed with the use of DRS. perhaps if it was available for patel he would think the same. DRS is a better way of getting the right decision more times than an umpire, its been talked about with 1000s of column inches. its india who are stopping the will of the whole cricketing world and the ICC who are gutless, when it comes to anything that india dont want to happen.

Posted by BellCurve on (November 18, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

On 24 April 2001 when Tendulkar was celebrating his 28th birthday, the little master had 6720 Test runs behind his name. Alistair Cook will be celebrating his 28th birthday this Christmas. Before then he will complete a maximum of seven more Test innings. Cook already has 6764 Test runs behind his name - which is 44 runs more than Tendulkar had at the same stage in his career. Who would have thought that the farmer from Essex would catch up to Tendulkar this quickly?

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

Regardless of the result here, England have shown far more spine and far more fight than India did in England. India barely scraped to 300, and only in the last test they had over there, whereas England look a near certainty for 400+ on a wicket seriously aiding the spinners - supposedly England's glaring weakness, that too in the first test of the series, and England should only improve from here as they get even more accustomed to the conditions. Once they get to a ground that favours the seamers slightly more, I would expect England to put India under the pump. Until then, India are still mostly favourites, and this is great cricket either way.

Posted by 158notout on (November 18, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

@Vinay Kolhatkar - funnily enough I was talking to someone about this the other day. Imagine a line-up of Cook, Smith, Amla, Pujara, Kohli and Clarke (squeeze Kallis in and its even harder). It might not be pretty to watch at times but they would grind down any attack even for example Anderson, Steyn, Philander and Ajmal. I never rated Clarke as a batsman, but since he became captain he has looked real class.

Posted by whoster on (November 18, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

Cook and Prior were superb today, and they've shown the rest of England's inept batting what can be achieved with patience and application. A draw - even if still less likely than an India victory, is now a possibility. England's batting against spin is surely all in the mind, and some of the other batsmen have to start contributing. Whatever happens tomorrow, I'm sick of England's safety first selection policy, and it's about time we picked the best bowlers to take wickets. Swann and Panesar are as good a pair of spinners as any other world team has, and we should forget about giving other bowlers the nod purely because they can bat a bit. England already have enough batting, and it's hardly a vote of confidence from the selectors when they do everything they can to shore up the batting. If England can escape with a draw tomorrow, the momentum can be seized for the second Test. If the selectors are positive, England can give themselves a far better chance of taking 20 wickets.

Posted by jackiethepen on (November 18, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

Fantastic innings from Cook. A real captain's innings. What he needs to do as well as captain is to find a way to calm down his middle order of Trott, KP and Bell and get them firing again. He can't perform on his own for the whole Tour. It isn't always appreciated that Strauss was magnificent behind the scenes supporting his players. I can imagine that he would have been furious at the media howls about Bell's attempted six. He really disliked that kind of character assassination when a batsmen fails. Some of the comments were contemptible. David Hopps had a field day. I note he is much more restrained about KP's sweep shot and any so-called personality disorder that might accompany it. Leave abuse to the trolls.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 18, 2012, 12:25 GMT)

At last! Cook's innings a monumental effort full of all that is best in Test cricket batting: concentration, technique, level-headedness, intelligence & all the qualities that just go under the collective heading of 'character'. It's no mistake that he has found a like-minded partner at the fall of the 5th wk: Matt Prior. These two do not have egos to bolster; they are comfortable with who they are -- & in cricketing terms this is shown. Their mantra: accept what you do well & do it extremely well. so both played true to their characters. It struck me today that cricket & life had a parallel that I'd not thought about before. You do get a second chace to put things right -- but's that's only true in proper two-innings cricket -- and it shines most brightly in Test cricket. How anyone can actually PREFER the children of the true game still baffles me! Children do have their place, however, but you don't let them run the show!

Posted by Akshita29 on (November 18, 2012, 12:22 GMT)

Aswin is trying to bowl 2 many different type of bowls and bowling a totally wrong line . And Swan can turn the ball big with the way he puts so much body into it while Aswin is dependant on the pitch and variations and probably weakness of opposing batsman . Personally I am really sad for KP . I am a big big fan of KP . But what's wrong with you KP? Plz plz bring out Your A game next match. And cook is a freak . The Man have not dropped even a drop of sweat and his face expression says like he can go on and on . Prior played well and Bell and Trott looked good . Samit was unlucky . And I think this time around they pick Prior in the Odi side too and probably he deserves to be the VC OF the team. Hoping Bresnan and Broad also score some runs tomorrow.

Posted by da_man_ on (November 18, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

@India6666 you crack me up. So a test cricket pitch is one which only offers support to India right? Pitches in England you moaned about, and now you're moaning at pitches in India? Give Cook some credit for a heroic innings. Or accept DRS ;)

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

The result is good for cricket. Whatever happens now it will be a great series.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 18, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

Fantastic effort by Cook! Honestly didn't see this game even going into a fifth day, such was the abysmal performance by England in their first innings. Just had a look at Ojha's pitch map for his bowling so far in the game... Goodness the accuracy and consistency there is phenomenol! Still a big effort needed from Cook and Prior tomorrow to hold on for the draw. Finally some patience and resilience from England's batsmen at least...

Posted by cricket-is-best on (November 18, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

other than the amazing batting by cook and prior, it was poor bowling by ashwin.very poor line.and dhoni didnot help cause by trying variety.I think sehwag is a decent spinner and not using him was a mistake,specially as wickets were not coming.sehwag is as capable a spinner as yuvraj and in test match is even more suitable than yuvraj,because he is a conventional off-spinner who spins the ball quite decently.

Posted by universalanalyser on (November 18, 2012, 12:06 GMT)

My prediction for tomorow is England need 150 odd runs more to draw or win this test!Little chance that more than 300 runs can be scored on this dead fifth day pitch(assumin Sehwag dont recall his 1st Inn moments) for very few would have thought but none were convinced that this game would even go to fifth day! Now Indian Board is likely to fell into the same tunnel they dig to encourage Ambitious Indian Fanatic Mystery Pitch(AIFMP) or u can say a "clinical dust pitch" and this is not just subcontinent pitch,I can see ball moving in srilanka!

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (November 18, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

India look terrified of being set 150+ to win and completely on the defensive. Weird! Same comment as after the last two days. If England draw this Test they will win the series. This is looking a lot like Brisbane 2010. Once again, snap judgements after one or two days play are dangerous. India should still win, but they are getting less certain of winning by the hour and in the last hour seemed only interested in stopping England from building a lead too fast.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 12:03 GMT)

Hats off to Cook, one of the best innings that I have seen since a long time. Congratulations to Prior as well for playing the perfect role, and against the continuous army of spinners. But, still, England has long way to go for salvaging a draw, or, who knows, even a win

Posted by henchart on (November 18, 2012, 12:03 GMT)

Notwithstanding Cook's heroics alongwith excellent support from Prior ,England are effectively 10 for 5 and still looking if not staring down the barrel.India might not have to chase more than110 or 115 but if they lose 3 or 4 wkts while doing so ,it would be few more brownie points for England .If only Trott ,Bell and the big fella Pietersen had applied themselves bit more.......

Posted by fsdb on (November 18, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

India still on top but some good signs for England - if their captain can continue to lead by personal example, Panesar can reinforce Swann for the next two tests, then the others could find the confidence to make this a much closer fought series than many expected - here's to some good cricket!

Posted by jb633 on (November 18, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

An absolute beauty from Cook that, on a pitch with turn and variable bounce this is the best innings he has ever played. I thought Dhoni bowled the spinners to much and under used the seamers, who I actually thought bowled really well. Yadav is a good prospect for India he bowls with good pace and can get the reverse. The spinners I am really not convinced by. I think they both lack the bite that a Harbahjan in is pomp had. All in all I am delighted with the fight showed by our boys and even more so that KP had nothing to do with it whatsoever. Cook is England's best bat and has been for years

Posted by maddyjagadish on (November 18, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

It was a captains knock by cook and i want england to put up a good fight tomorrow..... this is what i like about a team fightback which indian lacked completely when they toured england last year .... these days people are matured enough to understand the game and they dont mind if u lose but what matter's is how you win and lose ...even if england puts 150 on board it would be tough for india .....

Posted by satya_vankayala on (November 18, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

given the situation england miight bat till lunch if india bowl well or might till tea tomorrow ,also based on the pitch and indian bowlers as they are already too much exhausted due to 2 innings continuosly, all said done india has done their best , but one has remeber these close combats and there by victories are only possible only if have some like viru , not sachin , dhoni , or any body indian hystory , just imagine had viru consumed 220 deliveries for his 117 runs, bcci will not have objection for his next selection ,but as of today , all of us should have decided that the macth is drawn , am i right? the day india started winning tests, that is the secret , the secret is he scores fast and saves time in test cricket , so that a result can happen, that is viru, this man started saving time , i feel so, u may comment , see the stats

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

Although India will probably win this match - England need to bat for at least 60 overs in order to save it. Any less and India will swiftly chase down whatever England set without too much risk involved. I don't see England scoring at any more than 4 an over max. - The poms have done a mighty job to take this contest into a fifth day. Kudos to them for showing some resolve. Would be nice for Cook to carry his bat and either force India to bat again or simply bat them out of the game. Either or would be a splendid result. If england were to send them back in and fail to defend the target would be damaging. Can't see that happening IF they do survive that long. Good contest

Posted by swat1999 on (November 18, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

Alastair Cook, You are the best in Asian condition. God Bless You. England might loose the match but Cook showing great fight like a lion

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

Relaid pitches sometimes behave strangely.....lets see what happens tomoro...

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 11:18 GMT)

With 41 (148) & 168* (341) Alastair COOK has faced 489 balls to see England avert follow on at the end of Day 4.

Day 5 at Ahmedabad promises to be a cracker. Throw 180+ target to India to chase and MATCH ON, VIDEOCON! Who said Test Cricket is dieing?

Posted by india666666 on (November 18, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

amazing things seen in this test match, a wicket that turns from day 1 and detiorates from the subsequent days

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

330/5 now all 3 results are possible , whatever happens , salute to Alistar cook for a marvellous captains innings under pressure , amazingly most of his scoring shots are of back foot . Ashwin has completely missed his line what is he expecting bowling leg and middle ??? easy pickings . Motera has been like this the pitch becomes slow and low in day 4 /5 where you can play the waiting game by proper application and draw the match . saw it happen before during 99 series againts NZ when the kiwis played out a draw after Indians where dismissed for somehwre around 80 in the first innings. As for the test cricket a real beauty what fight by both sides .Kudos to the curator for interesting match upto the end .

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

England batting need to grind more in d comin games,,, dey can't play according to der instincts n try to force d issue like KP,Bell.. look how cook is applying himself n doin great for the team.. i don't see england saving dis game (hope um wrong) but dis cook innings will b cue for oder english batsmen for this tour..!!

Posted by JChandi on (November 18, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

Well played England so far, you can go on and maybe win this game against this ordinary bowling attack.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

Yet another enthralling day's cricket on a pitch, which, despite all the opprobrium heaped upon it, has provided us with a scintillating run-a-ball century by the resurgent Sehwag, a masterpiece of exquisite classicism by Pujara, an absorbing three-way spin duel won on points by Ojha & a heroic rearguard captain's innings by the peerless Cook. But for the England middle order's spineless double-innings capitulation & a fistful of dropped catches on the first day, we'd have a fascinating contest on our hands.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

India have only themselves to blame. If they had accepted DRS, Cook would be out LBW to Ojha in the second innings when he was in his thirties.

Posted by St.John on (November 18, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

Agree 100 procent with David Hopps. Cook has been marvellous all along. Compton seems an ideal partner rock solid. Have a feeling he will score heavily if not slowly in the future. Dont lose faith in Bell...He is just too good and experienced to fail consistently.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 8:45 GMT)

C'mon England c'mon. At least draw the match. Cook u beauty. Keep going Prior

Posted by Mitch1066 on (November 18, 2012, 8:18 GMT)

Whatever the outcome it seems cook going from strength to strength captaincy is not so far effecting his batting . I just wish rest of England side could follow his lead at least. India don't have deadly spinner like adjmal seams Indian spinners a group did damage in first innings but are less successful second innings . I think swann come out well in compassion I hope England learn and fix it for second test

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 18, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

Amazing innings by Cook which is far better than ANY of India's batsmen produced as it was on a minefield of a deteriorating pitch

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

Cook is easily one of the to three batsmen (+ Amla & Clarke) & the best opener in the world today. Top 5 would need to include Marlon Samuels & Kallis.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 7:28 GMT)

its just turning out the same way as india had xperienced in england....dravid the lone man fighting and the rest having no clue whatsoever...here cook is doing the same thing...playing marvellously at one end and watching the others committ suicide at the other end...pietersen...well god alone can save him...well i doubt tht too...against left arm spin bowling he seems to give up even before the first ball is bowled...any1 hu saw the 3rd day batting display of KP against ojha...will roll on the floor looking at the way he was cming down the track blindly...sad for a player hu scores centuries in IPL...as they say TEST cricket is the real T

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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