India v England, 4th Test, Nagpur, 2nd day December 14, 2012

Joe takes Root in tenacious Test debut

Plays of the Day from the second day of the fourth Test between India and England in Nagpur

Stat of the day (taking Root)
By the time he was out, Joe Root had batted longer - in terms of balls faced - than all but five players on their debut Test innings in England history. Root faced 229 balls - 151 fewer than the Nawab of Pataudi senior on his debut in the Ashes of 1932-33 - and became the sixth member of England's top seven to register a half-century or better on Test debut, once again underlining the worth of the County Championship in producing international players.

Shot of the day
Progress has been desperately slow on this begrudging surface. The one batsman, to date, who has defied the nature of the pitch to score freely is Graeme Swann, who registered his fifth Test half-century and his first since the Centurion Test against South Africa almost exactly three years ago. Swann is also the only man to have struck a six so far in this Test with the first of them, somewhat closer to a slog than a slog-sweep, depositing the otherwise parsimonious Ravindra Jadeja high over wide mid-on and providing one of the more entertaining moments in an otherwise prosaic England first innings.

Duck of the day
Virender Sehwag was seen as one of the few batsmen on either side - Kevin Pietersen is the only other obvious example - with the ability to rise above the conditions and play a match-defining innings. It was not to be, however, as in the first over of India's reply, Sehwag was beaten on the outside edge by an inswinger from James Anderson that knocked back the middle stump. It was a fine delivery, but Sehwag's tentative foot movement resulted in a feeble defensive shot. It was the seventh duck of his Test career against England. Only four men have suffered more, with Bishan Bedi (11 ducks) leading the way.

Decision of the day
Such is Cheteshwar Pujara's obvious class that he is rapidly developing into the key wicket in this India team. So to lose him to another umpiring error, this time caught off the arm at short-leg as he played forward to Swann, was desperate misfortune for the individual and the team. While the catch, Ian Bell diving to his right to cling on to a sharp chance, was excellent, it is a shame that such a high-profile game can be undermined so unnecessarily by the continued refusal to utilise the DRS.

Near miss of the day
After his involvement in two run-outs in Kolkata, it might have been expected that Gautam Gambhir would have been at his most alert when running. But, called for a sharp but perfectly reasonable single by Cheteshwar Pujara, Gambhir, on 30, was found resting on his bat at the non-strikers' end and only survived due to a poor throw from Joe Root, at square leg, and a desperate slide.

Drop of the day
Gambhir was on 33 and India were 62 for 2 when Matt Prior was unable to cling on to a tough chance off the pad from the bowling of Swann. With the ball coming off the inside edge of Gambhir's bat and on to his pad, the double deflection made the chance tricky and the ball bounced off the gloves and chest of Prior. The chance did not prove too costly, though, with Prior accepting an easier chance just a few minutes later off the bowling of Anderson.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • david on December 14, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    nicholas i agree if he has learned from our best player of spin in the last 25 years. i could see alot of graham in some of his shots other than the obvious RH. the problem but not a bad problem in NZ who opens with cooky

  • Abhijit on December 14, 2012, 18:23 GMT

    Gambhir and Tendulkar need to be dumped post-haste. They should be replaced by Rahane (opener) and Rohit Sharma.

    Dhoni needs to be sacked and replaced by an appropriate keeper.

    Let Pujara captain the team.

    As far as Jadeja goes, give him a decent run, now that he's in.

    Dump Ishant Sharma, bring in Awana/Yadav/Dinda/Aaron. There's enough talent out there, use it for Gossake.

  • David on December 14, 2012, 17:30 GMT

    @ jmcilhinney on (December 14 2012, 13:47 PM GMT) Very astute observations regarding Sewag. Players who have prospered because of great inherent physical ability - hand/eye in this car - and have disregarded the fundamental skills, tend to decline very quickly as soon as that ability is even slightly compromised by age, injury, etc. Also, they seem psychologically more vulnerable, and any self-doubt amplifies those changes. Players whose game is rooted in very strong technique seem to last longer & fade less quickly. Alternatively, rigid adherence to technique can suppress natural ability. E.g. Kallis - or the human textbook as Zaltsman describes him - in his early career allowed technique to suppress his instinctive abilities, but has learned "new tricks" & evolved, making him the most consistent & reliable batsman of the last decade. He just gets better as he ages. A true balance of raw talent + solid technique defines the greats.

  • michael on December 14, 2012, 17:01 GMT

    The performance of Root is another shining example of the first class system in England, and the development tours. He looked like a 50 test veteran. There is no better judge of a batsman's skill than G Boycott who rates this guy highly. When Boycott was last batting coach we almost pulled off a sensational victory in the caribbean (89/90). Definitely a missed trick from England there. In the future Root will surely partner Cook up front making for a very solid top 3, the direct opposite to what we see from Australia who have all their solid players at 5-6. Wear down the bowlers, make the ball go soft and then KP, Bell, Bairstow, Prior or whoever can take advantage. Just common sense really.

  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    Carryonregaedless -you are clearly a child of the 20/20 era -this is great test cricket

  • Sharon on December 14, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    @Valavan on (December 14 2012, 13:52 PM GMT) - good funny post from you as ever - u r my hero! Now force and history is with us reminder and payback are coming to people such as @maddy20 @harmony111 and friend...

  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    "......and Chawla said they would have been happy if they had bowled India out for under 300" ....... shouldn't it be "England" instead of "India" ?

  • Jon on December 14, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    To any Indian/ English fans- please read all the trolling comments from the first test. For those that are trying to dimish the achievements of England, just have a look at the pressure they were under and the monumental turnaround. If you ask me I would personally take losing the SA series to get a win or even a draw here. Throughout the whole of 2012 you could not even write on an English forum without numerous Indian fans jumping down your throat and throwing the "can't play spin card". Numerous fans tried diminishing the Ashes victory of 2010 by suggesting that because it was played in familiar conditions it somehow didn't count for anything. Now we have won in these "impossible" conditions against attacks we were supposed to lose against this must be a miracle? IMO if we can get a positive result here this will be the best series win since 05 and amongst the top two series wins since 1990. England are not the best side in the world but they have drastically improved since 1999.

  • Cricinfo on December 14, 2012, 14:54 GMT

    Cracks in the brittle Indian batting line-up getting wider. Beginning of the end for sehwag. Nearing the end for Tendulkar. It says a lot for this indian batting line up that I feel more comfortable when ashwin is at the crease than either of sehwag/srt. Hope the series against aus sees more fight from India, hoping to see atleast couple of new faces by then.

  • paul on December 14, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    @ Tom_Bowler But yet County cricket is still universally recognised as the best preparation of any first class structure for international cricket. How many times do we hear that young players from India, SA & Australia need to get a couple of seasons in CC to prepare them for international cricket. Sure not everything is rosey with fixtures etc but it has a hell of a lot going for it, especially the last 10 years or so since central contracts came in and the ECB got a overhaul. Of course the Lions and EPP have been great initiatives by the ECB and have helped young players get more of a taste of foreign conditions to enhance their skills but the grounding, toughness and basics are where the CC comes into it's own. Not sure why the writer needs to acknowledge inadequacies of CC years ago, irrelevant when talking about Root.

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