India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 4th day November 18, 2012

Cook's record book

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the fourth day in Ahmedabad

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 ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2012, 1:35 GMT

    England have fought well and should be commended .Hope that they are able to draw it. tendulkar should consider retiring and allow a younger player to make his name.

  • John on November 19, 2012, 1:24 GMT

    @ R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 18 2012, 14:17 PM GMT), couldn't agree more. Given the emphasis on variation in limited-overs cricket, I'm surprised that the bowlers are more willing to try a few different things in Test cricket too. As you say, you don't have to go over the top but the odd slower ball, etc, is surely worth a try. because it's less common it might have a greater surprise factor in Test cricket too. I can see someone like Sehwag falling to a slower ball, given his attacking instinct and lack of footwork.

  • Inam on November 19, 2012, 0:09 GMT

    no one from indian camp should ever complain about umpiring decision in any of the test series indian team play, Umpires will never ever better than DRS, they have i split second to make a call, at lest there should be some kind of review system, there were two poor decision against England too. at least DRS is good enough to review the inside edges for LBW, every test playing nation supports DRS other than India, if they are waiting for fool proof system it will never come, it is sad to see mistakes when technology is there to support it. i hope umpire blunder change the out come of the game and BCCI changes it stance.

  • John on November 18, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    The combined career batting average of the last four Eng players (Bresnan, Broad, Swann, and Anderson) is around 97 runs. So if they bat to their average and Cook n Prior falls without adding to the score, India would be chasing 108 to win...just a thought.

  • Jimmers on November 18, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    Got to give serious credit to Prior here - would think KP, Trott and Bell are feeling pretty embarrassed looking at him pile the runs on under pressure. If England do somehow conjur up a draw his contribution mustn't be overlooked. Doubt they will though, I think it'll be over by lunch

  • Lalith on November 18, 2012, 23:09 GMT

    India is cooked by Alastair on Day 4. What a innings especially spin friendly day4 of a test match against 2 first class spinners and some part timers.

  • Ahnaf on November 18, 2012, 21:58 GMT

    What an innings from Captain Cook! Hopefully he'll stay for long on the 5th day and help England to an unlikely draw.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    Another intriguing dayof ebb and flow and one that reinforces the beauty and surely the undoubted permanence of Test cricket as THE ONLY format of the game that is watchable and attractive to the thinking man and cricket purist. I'd certainly sooner watch Alistair Cook score 94 in 6 hours (not that I did the whole time) and I'm sure many thousands of others would, than any pointless ODI or T20 'match' that are attractive only to the witless. Great if he bats 6 hours for even 54 tomorrow....pure heaven....

  • Girish on November 18, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    KP is very different from Cook. Slow pitches suit Cook. Pietersen likes bounce. KP will be back with a bang.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2012, 21:36 GMT

    Alistar Cook is going a hell of a long way towards stamping himself as Englands greatest ever bat. At only 27 his got a long time left in the game. Fantastic to watch.

  • No featured comments at the moment.