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ESPNcricinfo presents plays of the day from the third day in Ahmedabad
George Dobell in Ahmedabad
November 17, 2012
Wicket of the day
During the warm-up match against Haryana, the offspinner Jayant Yadav provoked some derision when he remarked that England had been unconvincing against his bowling. In particular, Yadav said, England's propensity to skip down the wicket as soon as the spinners were introduced betrayed an anxiety and lack of confidence. The problem was, England had scored 521 in their first innings and Yadav had conceded nearly five an over. But, in light of Ian Bell's dismissal here - running down the wicket to his first delivery - Yadav's words rang true. In an innings full of low points, Bell's stroke plumbed a new depth. While he no doubt intended it as a demonstration of his confidence, it instead spoke of his lack of confidence at playing Pragyan Ojha from the crease. It was, by any standards, awful.
Ball of the day
England will, no doubt, receive a great deal of criticism for their first-innings batting performance, much of it justified. But there were moments when batting was desperately difficult. Ojha, bowling from wide of the crease, gained significant turn and the delivery that dismissed Tim Bresnan also bounced sharply and took the shoulder of the bat on its way to slip. It was a fine ball and one of the high points of Ojha's fourth five-wicket haul in Tests.
Let-off of the day
Odd though it sounds, England actually enjoyed a fair bit of fortune on the third day. Kevin Pietersen could have been stumped on 6 and both he and Alastair Cook might consider themselves fortunate to have survived leg-before shouts. In the second innings, too, Cook survived a huge lbw appeal on 41. But the biggest let-off of all game when Matt Prior was on just 3. R Ashwin attempted a rare legbreak - his first of the day - only to serve up a full toss. Prior, eyes lighting up, mishit the rare lose ball and should have been taken by Zaheer Khan at deep square leg. It would have reduced England to 91 for 7. Instead, however, Zaheer palmed the ball for four and Prior was able to lead a recovery of sorts in contributing 48 - the top score of the innings - and keeping England's very faint hopes of salvation alive.
Irony of the day
The umpires did not have the best of days. England, Cook in particular, survived some very good leg-before shouts in each innings and it is possible that the England captain's reprieve in his second innings, attempting to sweep Ojha on 41, might yet define this game. Certainly, had the DRS been in operation in this series, Cook would most certainly have been given out but such is the BCCI's opposition to the technology in its current form - they argue it is unproven and not totally reliable - he survived. But there are various websites offering the ball-tracking technology including, rather surprisingly, the BCCI's own website.
Shot of the day
While Cook led the way in the second innings, the shot of the day came from Nick Compton. Compton, on debut, had appeared solid but he also looked a little limited in scoring opportunities: after 26 balls, he had scored just four runs. Then, however, he struck his first boundary in Test cricket: waiting for the right ball and noticing the gap in the field, he executed a fine reverse sweep for four off Ashwin. Not only did it release the pressure on Compton, who was admirably unruffled for the rest of the day, but it forced India to rethink their field. It also underlined the fact that such shots, used appropriately, can be highly effective.
Damning statistic of the day
Haryana, who scored 334 against England in the warm-up game, were bowled out for just 66 in the Ranji Trophy. The week before the game against England, they were bowled out for 55. Yes, the wickets were different and yes, direct comparisons can be misleading. But, whichever way you look at it, it is not a statistic that reflects terribly well on England's bowling attack.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?