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ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the fourth day in Ahmedabad
November 18, 2012
Landmark of the day
Alastair Cook's assault on the record books continues. A couple of runs turned into the leg side off Umesh Yadav, a typically efficient, undemonstrative stroke, brought him his 21st Test century meaning that only Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoffrey Boycott of England batsmen have more. All of them scored 22. It also meant that Cook, aged just 27 with, perhaps, another decade of Test cricket ahead of him, became the first man to score centuries in his first three Tests as captain. Although this is Cook's first Test since his permanent appointment as captain, he also scored two when standing in for Andrew Strauss in Bangladesh in early 2010. No England player has scored more centuries in Asia than Cook's five, either, while he also surpassed Kevin Pietersen's 144 in Mohali in 2008 to record the highest score by an England captain in India. No England player has ever batted longer in a follow-on.
Shot of the day
Matt Prior's flowing cover drive to level the scores and ensure India had to bat again. Prior, playing the ball on its merits but always looking to be positive, provided his captain with the support he needed and this stroke, off a flighted delivery from Pragyan Ohja, was a highlight. Whatever happens in the remainder of this game - and India remain overwhelming favourites to clinch the win - England have fought back admirably and should be able to draw confidence from that for the rest of the series.
Let-off of the day
If England do go on to save this game, the BCCI may be under pressure to review their stance on the DRS. Had it been in place it is highly likely that Cook would have been given out leg before for 41 on the third day and Matt Prior for 65 on the fourth. The Prior let-off came he was beaten by Ojha and struck on the front pad. Aleem Dar, an excellent umpiring enduring a far from excellent game, but replays - and Hawk-Eye - suggested that India were most unfortunate.
Ball of the day
The pitch has not, perhaps, broken up as was anticipated before the game. While Ojha, in particular, continued to find turn, it was generally slow. The delivery that defeated Jonathan Trott, however, was desperately difficult to play. Perhaps he could have come down the pitch, perhaps he could have played back, or perhaps he could have left the ball entirely but the delivery - the first since Ojha changed ends - was angled in from wide of the crease and turned and bounced sharply to take the edge of the bat. It was a fine delivery.
Wicket of the day
It is not, perhaps, a huge surprise that England should struggle against spin in this series. More of a surprise was the impression that India's seamers would out-bowl their England counterparts. Certainly the delivery from Umesh Yadav that swung back in sharply to trap Ian Bell, playing slightly across the line, was more incisive than anything England managed. Yadav, bowling at a sharp pace and generating late reverse swing, produced a passable impression of Waqar Younis in that spell and, the ball after dismissing Bell, accounted for Samit Patel in similar fashion.
Error of the day
Bearing in mind all the fuss about his inclusion on this tour - the apology and the reintegration et al. - Kevin Pietersen has been something of an anti-climax so far. For the second time in the Test, he was clean bowled by Ojha, paying the price for premeditating his stroke against an apparently innocuous delivery. This time he attempted a sweep, but was both too off side of the ball and caught out by the slightly fuller length. It was, like Bell the day before, the shot of an anxious man who appeared to lack belief in himself; not a characteristic generally association with Pietersen. While some jumped on the fact that it was the 25th time he had been dismissed by a left-arm spinner in his Test career, it is worth remembering that he has been dismissed 145 times in that career. 25, in that context, does not sound so bad.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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