India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 1st day November 23, 2012

Sehwag's ton and concern over Sachin

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the first day of the second Test in Mumbai

Milestone of the day
Virender Sehwag's selection rendered him the 54th man - and the ninth Indian - to reach 100 Test caps. That an opening batsmen could have a strike-rate above 80 for such a long career would have seemed incredible 30 years ago; that he can do so while averaging more than 50 underlines Sehwag's remarkable success and impact upon the game. He features five times in the top-ten list of the fastest Test double-centuries (in terms of balls received), twice in the top three of the fastest triple-centuries and only two men have struck more sixes and seven men more fours in their Test careers. He must be judged a great batsman by any standards.

Gamble of the day
Both teams took significant gambles with their team selection. India went into the game with three specialist spinners and just one seamer, suggesting they would have opened the bowling with a spinner had they lost the toss, while England selected Stuart Broad despite him missing training due to illness the day before the game. India's tactics were in marked contrast to the words of their captain the day before the game. MS Dhoni has said India were "looking at a 2-2 combination" as "you don't know whether you would bat or bowl first. Harbhajan Singh will have to wait for his chance as Ashwin and Ojha are bowling well." Gamble indeed.

Ball of the day
Perhaps he is not the force he was in the past, but it was Sachin Tendulkar's misfortune to be on the receiving end of an excellent ball from Monty Panesar. Delivered from round the wicket, drifting towards leg stump, but then pitching and turning sharply, it clipped the top of off as a groping Tendulkar was bowled for the fourth time in his last five Test innings. You have to go back to 2002, when he was bowled five times in six innings, to find a comparable period in his career. The harsh may criticise him for playing slightly across the line, but perhaps the concern should be more that, for the second innings in succession, he mis-read the flight. Maybe it is a sign of age; maybe it is a sign of low confidence but, in his last six Tests and nine innings, Tendulkar is now averaging just 16.11 with a highest score of 27. The silence that greeted his dismissal amply expressed the disappointment and, perhaps, the concern of his home crowd.

Drop of the day
Cheteshwar Pujara was on 60 when he was drawn forward by Panesar and, beaten by the turn, edged to second slip. James Anderson, who is rarely seen in the slips these days after some uncharacteristic mistakes in recent months, dived to his left but could only parry the ball down to third man. It was a tough chance and perhaps suggests that Anderson was slightly out of position: it appeared the ball may also have evaded Jonathan Trott at first slip. It was a tough chance but, bearing in mind that England had failed to dismiss Pujara in either innings in Ahmedabad and that he has only offered the toughest of chances to date in this series, it was the sort of moment that could define a relatively low-scoring game.

Near miss of the day
It looked as if Pujara had fallen just short of a second Test century in as many matches when he pulled a delivery from Graeme Swann only to see the ball bounce off the foot of Alastair Cook at short-leg and into the hands of midwicket. But replays suggested the ball had hit the ground as it hit Cook's foot so Pujara was reprieved and Swann, who thought he had just taken his 200th Test wicket, was forced to wait a little longer.

Ominous moment of the day
England would have been understandably delighted at reducing India to 119 for 5 on the first day. But they could be forgiven for wrestling with some unsettling thoughts even as they did so. As early as the first delivery of the 41st over, a delivery from Panesar exploded off the surface, caught the shoulder of Pujara's bat and looped towards point. The ball dropped safely to ground but, bearing in mind England's record against spin bowling and the anticipated deterioration of the pitch, and it might have been a moment that also caused some anxiety for the tourists.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Underground on November 24, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    Ironically, by playing longer, Tendulkar is deteriorating his career statistics. After the SA series in 2011, he had an pile of more than 15000 runs (highest ever) at an average of 56.9 (about the same as the greatest openers ever - Jack Hobbs and Len Hutton). He could have retired as a serious contender for the second-greatest batsmen in history, backed significantly by his load of runs, centuries and old age performance. Now in November 2012, his average has dropped below 54.5 and his old age capabilities are under considerable scrutiny. No longer is he considered the second-greatest batsmen, and even provokes comparisons with contemporaries like Kallis, Ponting and Sangakara. One silver lining is the consolation that Tendulkar is not playing for records now.

  • K on November 24, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    Why is it so difficult for the selectors and the Indian fans to see beyond 'Sachin Tendulkar'? Can't you all see and decide what's good for India and Indian cricket? No doubt SRT has done a lot for Indian cricket but mind you all, he has been amply rewarded! Perhaps more than what he deserves. He needs to retire NOW! Gambhir needs to go back to Ranji and practice. Now Sehwag has been let to achieve a milestone, he needs to go as well... no matter what people say. Still do not understand why/how Harbhajan made it to the team. Also, we need a replacement to Zaheer as well. Hopefully this will be his last series. The current Indian team is pathetic!

  • Al on November 24, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    We are really tired of watching SRT struggle for a measly 10-15 runs and then get bowled. Why can't our selectors drop him??? Even a tailender like Ashwin can bat better than SRT

  • Dummy4 on November 24, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    All the People up here talking abut axing GG and SRT. I think MSD, VS, ZK and YS place in the Test team should also need be questioned unless 1 performance in 10+ outing is acceptable?

  • Tahir on November 23, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    We are again filling in numbers without knowing the cost we paid for it. Sehwag, in last 19 tests scored just 2 hundreds. Others in the list whose careers were dragged were Kapil dev, gavasker, tendulkar. In addition to the last hundred he scored another against Newzealand at home while in Ahmedabad intial slowness of the pitch saved him from pace and bounce of Broad & Co.

  • Adrian on November 23, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    I was thinking everyone was being a bit harsh on Sachin but then I had a look. Since his last test century in Jan 2011, he has averaged 33.15 in 15 matches with 6 half centuries. If he doesn't lift his game soon it might be the end for one of the true legends of world sport.

  • Thank You on November 23, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    at 266-6 at the close of Day 1 with 2 set bats and a trifecta of spinners licking their lips - there was an ominous "moment" in the day? Really - I suppose the rest of the day was just peachy for the English. This game will be over in less than 5 days and England will beat their own record in test matches over a 12 month period before this series is finished.

  • Dummy4 on November 23, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    Sachin tendulkar has taken inspiration many times from sunil gavaskar. He should get inspired from him one more time. Gavaskar retired when ppl asked why rather than why not. Sachin should make a decent score in the second innings and hang up his bat. I hav grown up watching sachin tear into bowling attacks. but now he is just struggling.

  • Al on November 23, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    Sehwag is a certified flat-track-bully. When the ball is swinging, or turning, he can't play. But still, he is better than 10dulkar and Gambhir. We need to get rid of 10dulkar and Gambhir first. There are many exciting youngsters like Dhawan, Rahane, Mukund, etc. who can do better than Gambhir. Similarly batsmen like Manoj Tiwary, Mohd. Kaif, etc. can perform better than 10dulkar.

  • Dummy4 on November 23, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    Gambhir has to go...hopefully sachin should be told his time is out and he is holding a spot off someone who is better than what he bas become at this point in his career...what more records does he need and at what cost

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