India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 2nd day

Pietersen and Cook set up solid platform

The Report by David Hopps

November 24, 2012

Comments: 85 | Text size: A | A

England 178 for 2 (Cook 87*, Pietersen 62*) trail India 327 (Pujara 135, Panesar 5-129) by 149 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kevin Pietersen runs a quick single, India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 2nd day, November 24, 2012
Kevin Pietersen put his troubles from Ahmedabad behind him with a confident start to his innings in Mumbai © BCCI

In England, it has become customary to look at Kevin Pietersen and see only a problem. In India, the talk is of his star quality. That unmistakeable batting talent was to the fore once more on a sweltering second day of the Mumbai Test as he began to put his tribulations behind him and rebuild an England career that he once imagined might be lost for ever.

Alastair Cook, the England captain who must manage Pietersen's maverick talents, must have looked down the pitch and concluded that this was a problem worth having. Cook, who in his worst moments must have imagined that India was becoming an insurmountable challenge, could spot an ally from 22 yards away. Between them, they stilled India's spin-bowling frenzy.

Cook was 13 runs short of another Test hundred at the close, another formidable innings in pressing circumstances. Alongside him, Pietersen had made an unbeaten 62 in enterprising fashion. Instead of talk of "reintegration," as formally laid down by the ECB, they chatted informally between overs of cricketing matters, of runs and wickets and ambitions to win a Test and square the series. It is far too premature to suggest that the good times were returning, but perhaps the deepest pain is behind them.

One bemused Indian pundit, observing Pietersen in full flow, suggested that he struggled to cope with the regimented ways of England, where people "liked to stand in queues." Well, they have certainly been queuing up in recent months to take a pop at Pietersen. He will hear little such criticism in Mumbai. It is perhaps no surprise that in the country which lavishes more affection on him than any other he began to rediscover his mojo.

Pietersen, lambasted for a frenzied approach in Ahmedabad, played confidently against India's spinners from the outset. He confidently despatched his first ball, from Harbhajan Singh, to the cover boundary. Another upbeat drive against Pragyan Ojha restated his well-being. His footwork was trim, his misjudgements were rare. There were times when his presence alone seemed enough to draw errors in length from the Indian spin attack.

Cook continued to unravel India's mysteries, a power to be reckoned with in all climes, on all surfaces. Twice he used his feet to Ojha, hitting him over mid-on for six and four, as he combated the bowler's leg-stump line, backed up by three close leg-side catchers. As his innings progressed, he swept as productively as at any time in his Test career. They were shots illustrative of a batsman carefully extending his range.

The sweep shot injured two India short legs in the process. Chesteshwar Pujara was struck in the ribs and left the field. The substitute, Ajinkya Rahane, emerged with more padding than a luxury sofa and pulled off some nerveless, agile stops - a sofa on casters - before he, too took a battering and withdrew from service. There was not a noticeable rush to take his place.

R Ashwin bowled the best over at Cook - a top-edged sweep, two play and misses and an edge short of slip reminding England that this test could swing India's way in a flash - but Harbhajan, returning from a 15-month absence for his 99th Test, found little to sustain him.

Smart stats

  • In just three innings, Alastair Cook's aggregate for the series has exceeded 300 - it's 304. The previous England batsman to score more than 300 in a series in India was Graeme Hick, who scored 315 in six innings in 1992-93.
  • The undefeated 110-run stand between Cook and Kevin Pietersen is the fifth for the third wicket for England in Tests in India; three of those five are by this pair.
  • Cheteshwar Pujara has a series average of 382, which is the second-highest ever for India, behind Rahul Dravid's 432 against Zimbabwe in 2000-01.
  • The 111-run stand between Pujara and R Ashwin is only the seventh for the seventh wicket for India in Tests against England.
  • Graeme Swann became England's 14th bowler, but only their second spinner, to take 200-plus Test wickets. In all, he is the 16th spinner to reach the landmark.
  • Monty Panesar's 5 for 129 is the sixth instance of an England spinner taking a five-for in the first innings of a Test since 2000. Panesar, Swann and Ashley Giles have each achieved it twice.
  • In 17 Test innings in Asia, Jonathan Trott has scored 507 runs at an average of 29.82.

No Test side has opened with two spinners virtually since cricketing time began, but India did, confident of England's fallibility against spin. Cook built an opening stand of 66 in 31 overs with Nick Compton as India's slow bowlers initially struggled to find much purchase and, after England's miserable year, he must have found the relative calm of the Wankhede Stadium strangely eerie. Then it started again, a cacophony of shouts and cheers, as Compton and Jonathan Trott departed to Ohja to leave India buoyant at the end of an afternoon session where they had to work hard to make an impression.

Trott, so often the rock in England's better days, is looking more fallible by the moment on India's turning pitches and his footwork was uncertain as he edged back to the sixth ball he faced, from Ojha, to be plumb lbw. His expression looks stonier and stonier. As do his feet. Moments earlier, Compton's stubborn resistance ended when his defensive edge carried comfortably to Virender Sehwag at first slip. Compton has made a strikingly cautious start to his Test career - this latest vigil brought 29 from 90 deliveries but his defence has been sound and his commitment undeniable.

England have also found a way to dismiss Pujara in India. Shortly before lunch, Graeme Swann drifted one wide, drew him down the pitch and as Matt Prior removed the bails Pujara had been stumped for the first time in his first-class career. Simple. After around 17 hours in the series. He finished on 135, from 350 balls, to follow his unbeaten double hundred in the first Test in Ahmedabad and his thought processes remained crisp and logical to the end.

England's spinners again capitalised on helpful conditions as India added another 61 in 25.1 overs to their overnight 266 for 6. Monty Panesar ended Ashwin's reviving knock with a brisk arm ball and finished with 5 for 129 on his return to Test cricket. Graeme Swann took three of the last four wickets to fall to finish with 4 for 70, including his 200th Test scalp when he trapped Harbhajan lbw, and was also helped by an erroneous decision by umpire Aleem Dar when he gave out Zaheer Khan at short leg.

After his 34 overs on the first day, Panesar was a picture of concentration, his eyes set in a blank stare of concentration as if saying: "Processes for Mushy bhai, processes for Mushy bhai".

However, England's fielding lapses remain an everyday occurrence. Trott was the latest culprit, failing to lock on to Harbhajan's edge to his left at first slip. He was perhaps fleetingly unsighted by Prior's gloves, but Trott's starting position was poor and his reactions were lumbering. He has not fielded regularly at slip for some time and it showed.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 25, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

@cricket-is-best - Very accommodating of you to give England some credit in your comments as opposed to just moaning about umpiring etc. Much appreciated

Posted by   on (November 25, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

radical changes to be made in team selection immediately. miss kumble very much. dont get me wrong but the english are very poor in playing against GOOD SPIN attacks not the ordinary one that india possess now. ojha though extremely hard working is no warne. better call back murali karthik. harbhajan ,tendulkar, yuvraj, gambhir,dhoni must be dropped for the next test immediately and must never considered for selection in tests again barring yuvraj. shaky kohli and sehwag must get their acts together in 2nd innings or must face the axe. yadav must play next test no matter what. ishant must not disappoint again if given another oppurtunity. and where the heck is sreesanth. we need him as zaheer is getting older. Pujara alone cant win test matches. get mukund and rahane in the team. get parvinder awana and unmukt chand in the team also. indian cricket at the current moment is in great trouble.

Posted by   on (November 25, 2012, 6:34 GMT)

Cook has batted beautifully -- almost as well as any non Asian in India in recent times. But in every inning he has gotten one live from the umpires, and boy has he cashed in. 1st test he was out for 34 (in 33rd over) in first inning and 41 (in 24th over) in 2nd innings. He was out yesterday on 84 in Harbhajans over (over# 62). So in 2 Tests he has already effectively batted 5 times. Prior was let off in first test second inning, and Yesterday Zaheer got a shocker. Samit got 3 bad ones in 1st test (one in favor, when he was plumb and two against, when he was not out). Over all third grade umpiring so far.

And for most part, Ashwin has looked like an IPL bowler who does not have enough tricks to topple top batsmen, unless they throw it away. Also I think 3 spinner ploy is over. Why Pankaj Singh is not in the squad, beats me. See his 4/5 wicket videos on you tube, couple recent Ranji games and you will get the answer. Guy is tall, strong, has picked pace and balls both delivery.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (November 25, 2012, 6:25 GMT)

Some People were saying that Ashwin is better than Saeed Ajmal..Hm yes i can clearly see it while English batsmen are busy trashing him over the ground. & it is India's ho,e ground so no more exuses :P

Posted by   on (November 25, 2012, 5:38 GMT)

So Dhoni got his wish and what happened? The highly overrated India batters, bar Pujara, couldn't play the English spinners. Then poor bowling by India spinners, coupled with some ordinary captaincy, came up way short against the determined Cook and the brilliant KP. What Indians need to realize is that the best teams always have enough quality players, who can play well in all conditions. And that's what we need to have too. Like we used to, a few years ago. It's not going to work if we keep losing badly in England, Australia, SA etc and hope to take revenge on rank turners in India.

Posted by Romenevans on (November 25, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

Cook is outstanding. Probably the best opening batsmen in the world in any conditions. On the other side Dhoni, Gambhir, Sachin and Yuvi should be thankful to Pujara because he is saving heir careers. Without Pujara india would have lost to England 4-0 here in India as well.

Posted by   on (November 25, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

I am more interested what changes selectors usher in....Gambhir sing and exit path for tendulkar....Yuvraj on a short leash and maybe even zaheer....time to give the younger men a chance to see if they have it in them....

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (November 25, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

I am very satisfied with England's progress. I am absolutely disillusioned by Indian cricket. we are not only led by a shameless captain who presided over an 8-0 thrashing, but who also likes to take off his gloves and start bowling, but also have a player looking to be allowed to play 200 tests, regardless of his poor continuing contributions today and right through the 8-0 of last year, have the worst spinners in the world, have batsmen scared of fast bowling, and have our captain asking for turning tracks forgetting that England have better spinners than us. The quicker we get demolished, the quicker we will be rid of Dhoni.

As a parting thought if why I pray for a comprehensive England victory, we have brought back a mediocre Spinner after 14 months into the side without his having taken even a 5 wicket haul in any first class match during these months. If it is so easy to get into the team, how can India win? We better play Sri Lanka and Bangladesh only.

Posted by mdreddy on (November 25, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

I think its an interesting to see the first session of play that can more helpful to the bowlers,if Indian bowlers can take the wickets of kp and cook early.especially kp can take the game away from the Indians with his attacking nature,cook is more defensive in nature but his temperament is solid, the LBW decision went wrong for the Indians, the match is wide open.

Posted by cricket-is-best on (November 25, 2012, 2:58 GMT)

@ Akshita29.. again somebody has come up with the same commonplace claim of DRS.My concern is that if an ICC elite panel umpire(deemed one of the best) makes that much error giving repeated howlers,what is the use of them standing in the middle?If those decisions (the wrong ones by them) require DRS, then every others will..its not like moaning.I never took credence as an Indian for the newzealand series win,for those decisions,and would not have commented even if they went against India.But this is an important series, and mind you,the mistakes are of really plumb ones made by one of the best umpires.What if Cook again goes on to make a double century today,maybe Zaheer might have added another 25-30 valuable runs yesterday.i hope u understand. DRS has nothing to do here(unless this is a plan by ICC to compel India for DRS...)

Posted by   on (November 25, 2012, 1:58 GMT)

Why Yuvraj didn't bowl? Since the last world cup, Yuvraj has been the best Indian spinner!

Posted by cjscanada on (November 25, 2012, 1:27 GMT)

Well played England. When Kevin plays positive he can destroy any attack. Cook has demonstrated he is a man for all season. My favorite though is Matt Prior. He plays well under pressure and always seems to be the forgotten guy. If England can go on for a session or two without loosing more than a couple I think this series will be tied. Monty bowled really well and Swan's ball to Pujara was superb. Sehwag has to play positive without thinking too much of the 100th test or it may turn into a disaster. India always feeds off good starts from Sehwag. I saw Sachin play and he really looked good but strange things happen when you have a lean time. I do hope he comes into form, cause I would like to see a few good knocks from him. If he does not perform in the second innings I have a feeling he may decide to hang his boots. Someone commented a few days earlier that Ashwin should open as he has in first class. I think Gambhir should switch places with him as the team needs to be positive.

Posted by sk12 on (November 25, 2012, 1:16 GMT)

Interesting in the last 2 sessions of both days the wicket seems to have flattenned out.. The 1st two sessions seem to be the best time for bowling. So all is not lost for India yet..

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 23:58 GMT)

this match can swing at any moment. it as only a matter of Cook getting out. Rest is not much significant in this test.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (November 24, 2012, 23:48 GMT)

@dravid gravitas A bit of reverse psychology there! Still plenty of ways England can still lose.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (November 24, 2012, 23:35 GMT)

@Akshita29 on (November 24 2012, 22:06 PM GMT) Very well said. In all honesty, since the introduction of Decision Referral System, i dont think there has been a single occasion where a team has blamed the umpires for the result of a game. Problem solved.

Posted by bigwonder on (November 24, 2012, 23:16 GMT)

Good show from Cook and KP. As expected, England captain is leading by example while Indian captain is leading by mouth. Dhoni had his wish, now he needs to deliver or shut-up and let curators do their job. Ohja has been the only wicket taker, waiting for Ashwin and Bhajji to do their magic on a "day-one turning pitch".

Posted by Naresh28 on (November 24, 2012, 23:07 GMT)

INDIA once again prove that they do not have WICKET TAKING BOWLERS. OHJA is the only spinner to take wickets. One would have thought BHAJJI would have lifted his game if he wants a slot in team India. Dhoni has not made use of Yuvi and Shewag. England are on top on day2.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 24, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

@St.John on (November 24 2012, 16:40 PM GMT), many of us have said that we think that England's issues in the subcontinent are more psychological that technical. There's no doubt that you have to make some adjustment between batting in England and in the subcontinent but the England batsman seem to overcompensate. Cook and KP at least look like they've got it worked out for and Prior too seems to have broken those mental shackles, so maybe some lessons have been learned. They need to be maintained and spread through the rest of the team though. Trott and Bell being the obvious two most in need and Bairstow and unknown quantity at the moment. If Bairstow does do reasonably, or even very, well here, it will be interesting to see whether the selectors go straight back to Bell as soon as he's available. As much as I like Bell, that would be a crazy move but it;s one I see the selectors capable of making.

Posted by JassimA on (November 24, 2012, 22:54 GMT)

This match is still India's too lose I believe ..England have to bat 4th on this pitch which is going to be very difficult..I would like to see England actually post a lead of 100+ then this would be an even more exciting game..

I dont think Indian bowlers were bad on day 2..There were a lot of half chances in the form of catches around the bat , balls flying past the edge and close lbw chances..Bhajji was very good I thought..Ashwin's line was not great ..and Ojha kept things simple..Day 3 will be pretty much decide this match

Was an absolute joy to watch KP hope he make a big 1..and the way Cook has be able to adjust his game to different conditions makes him a very special player..He is definetly up there among the top batsmen of the modern era considering he is only 27 , he can get better

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 24, 2012, 22:43 GMT)

@cricket-is-best on (November 24 2012, 14:56 PM GMT), but that's exactly the point. It's very easy to criticise but umpiring is a very difficult job and they are bound t make mistakes. It's for that very reason that DRS exists and should be used. Everyone wants the umpires to get it right every time but we simply have to realise that it's not going to happen and, just like cricket players, umpires will have some good days and some bad days. With DRS in place, more of the bad decisions can be rectified. It's that simple. There's no doubt that India have been on the receiving end of more than their fair share but I don't think for a moment that the umpires are doing it on purpose. The rest of the cricketing world has been pushing India to use DRS and, if it was in place, most, if not all, of those bad decisions could have been corrected. It's that simple.

Posted by paddy-k on (November 24, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

up to now,england has done well to do well against the indian spinners(pretty much against the odds). the major fear is what happens if (or probably when) an early one falls tomorrow;i'm yet to be convinced the rest of the batting has learnt the same lessons learnt by Cook,KP and Matt Prior.having said that i would still love to be proved wrong by Cook's boys.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 22:23 GMT)

Never thought I'd see the day when Indian fans called for Tendulkar's head. You have to give the bloke some leeway - he has been a tremendous player since beginning his Test career in 89 and without him India would probably be ranked below Bangladesh in teh Test match rankings. Thesame is happeniajhnan Sinng in Australia with Ponting and I think it is disgraceful. On the other hand, it is great to see that the great pretender Harbajhan Singh is on his last legs as a Test cricketer. The sonner he is out of the game the better IMO.

Posted by Meety on (November 24, 2012, 22:12 GMT)

Great response from England. I had thought that late on Day 1, Pujarra & Ashwin (& others) MAY of deflated England by getting past 200, then 250, then 300. The England response has been strong - although a lot can happen from here, I have England in front. KP is the important wicket. Cook is magnificent, but slow & grinding his runs - a KP ton (or double?) would be swift & really transfer pressure on Dhoni & his bowlers & ultimately put scoreboard pressure on India's batsmen. England will want a minimum 100 run lead. @Nutcutlet on (November 24 2012, 21:44 PM GMT) - I agree re: Broad. I have never rated him, as I think he is inconsistant at this level. That said, partly because I typed this comment - I can see him getting a shock 5-for in the 2nd innings to make a fool of me!!!!!!!

Posted by Akshita29 on (November 24, 2012, 22:06 GMT)

@CRICKETISBEST keep moaning. With the bowl turning and bouncing so much with naked eye it's difficult to make lbw decisions with batsman in frontfoot . In the last Ind Nz series So many wrong decision went against Nz . Were you moaning then? I am an indian fan and there is just a simple solution bring DRS and remove all howlers . Every country have accepted it . Some cant use it because of lack of money bt BCCI have all the money . They can even test it out in IPL (just saying). And with so much over appealing it's even more difficult . Its not happening in India only . Even in Aus umpires are making mistakes 4 to 5 per game . And those are corrected by DRS .

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (November 24, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

As an India supporter, I have to say this - Dhoni, be careful what you wish for - you just might get it. We need to drop the 2 "walking" wickets - Gambhir and 10dulkar right NOW. No more seniority quota in cricket.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 24, 2012, 21:44 GMT)

It's long been been an axiom of Indian supporters that Eng's bats 'can't play spin', esp. on Indian wickets; that England's spinners are nothing special & if their side was humiliated in 4-0 in England in 2011, well, all we had to do was wait, trembling in our shoes, until their side gave us a drubbing at home, etc, etc, ad nauseam. Well, they may still be right, but the signs are that England is learning & learning fast, brilliantly led by their remarkable new captain (who shows more application than any Indian bat is capable of, besides Pujara, his equal) & that Swann & Panesar are very fine practitioners of their skills indeed. With KP back in the fold with his sensible head on & selection for this test almost spot on (Broad's place isn't justified), the reversal of Eng's recent fortunes looks to be in hand. But it is a work in progress & it's important that Indian supporters realise that Eng takes nothing for granted, but we do appreciate quiet Indian crowds. It's a good benchmark.

Posted by humi_76 on (November 24, 2012, 21:17 GMT)

Ojha looks to me far better then Ashwin, why media creates so much hype about Ashwin? weldone Ojha. Personally feel india should give chance to Tiwari and Rahane. I am Pakistani team supporter watching all the three ongioing tests (oz vs proteas, wi vs bang and ind vs Eng)but more interested in Ind vs Eng. Tomorrow's 2 sessions are v impt for both the teams and cricket lovers also. I Love Test Cricket. Best wishes for both teams.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 24, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

Hard to see how England can lose from here. Take a 150 lead or so and bowl us out for 250. Match is England's from then on. Cook, what a revelation he's been on this tour to our country.

Posted by oval77 on (November 24, 2012, 20:52 GMT)

Another absorbing day's play. I feel the report should also mention Compton's role, batting solidly to blunt and tire the Indian attack in a crucial part of the game when let's face it a quick cheap wicket could easily have meant domino effect and more middle order panic. A good old-fashioned opening role. More of the same sense and application needed tmrw.

PS. Why so few Indian fans today?! It's just one bad day at the office! Surely you're not sulking...

Posted by binojpeter on (November 24, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

I think England has a good chance to win this match. Take around 150 runs lead and bowl out India cheaply and chase the remaining runs in fourth innings.

Posted by kitten on (November 24, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

Gambhir, and Tendulkar should be jettisoned immediately. They are 'walking' wickets. Tendulkar should be let out to pasture. He has run his course!! Gambhir, is terribly out of form and Rahane should be picked for the next test. In place of Tendulkar, Tiwari may be a good bet, and Bhajji also should be 'rested'. He has lost his Mojo, and in his place, the Indian selectors should choose Yadav(who hopefully will have recovered), or even Sharma, for the next test. Though this test is tantalisingly poised, I feel England would have slept happier last night. But if the stand is broken immediately, and that leads to a few more wickets tumbling(which is quite possible), then India will have regained their supremacy, but if the reverse happens, and KP and Cook carry on where they left off, then for sure England will call the shots, and India will be on the back foot, and struggling to save the game. But, having said all this, let us not forget, that England is batting last on this track!!

Posted by Htc-Android on (November 24, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

If pietersen can bat the way as he is batting. surely Eng can pile up a 150 runs lead by the end of tomorows play. day 4 and 5 are difficult to bat on this surface. India wont score more than 300 in the second innings. So england are well in with the chance in the second game.

Posted by Stark62 on (November 24, 2012, 19:47 GMT)

@ Munkeymomo "His average in that series wasn't bad", WHAT?!?!

He averaged 26.50 during that series and your saying, it wasn't that "bad"? o.O

Posted by SDHM on (November 24, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

@Jon Peters - agreed. I still think India are pretty heavy favourites in this test, but at least England have finally shown some spine with the bat. They have to negotiate the morning session, which has proven to be the trickiest time to bat in this Test so far, but if they do they're in a good position. I just wonder if this track actually suits England's spinners more than India's - both Swann & Panesar are taller than their Indian counterparts & turn the ball at a slightly quicker pace than most orthodox spinners, so this track with a touch more pace & bounce plays into their hands. I say India are favourites as I feel they only really need 1 wicket and a few will fall, whereas England need to bat for a while and ideally build a decent lead of at least 120 or so, and even then they need to bowl India out cheaply as they won't want to chase much more than 150. But that's looking too far ahead! One ball at a time, and here's to another excellent day of Test cricket tomorrow hopefully.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 18:51 GMT)

singh may still get wickets but I feel he should not have been selected over ishant sharma...3 spinners is an over kill with yuvraj also in the team...some of the younger spinners should have been tried over singh and on current form they have a better claim

Posted by hhillbumper on (November 24, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

All of those fans who were crowing about spin wash well guess it might still go that way but this England team are showing some fight.The last two overseas tours by India went how?

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (November 24, 2012, 18:45 GMT)

It was 300ish for 7 when I went to bed and I thought the tail may wag, however well done to remove them, especially the odious Harbhajan. The pitch was showing some puffs of dust and looked to be deteriorating, it is a great effort to get to 178-2 but England need to continue to put a high price on their wickets as a healthy lead will be needed for a positive result. Bairstow, Prior and Patel should be good for a few runs probably need a lead of 150 (fingers crossed as well as toes). NB How few posts from the usual chest beaters, strange that.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 18:21 GMT)

Yet another sublime day's cricket on yet another excellent Indian pitch which offers plenty for the spinners but also enough to keep high-class purveyors of swing such as Zak & Jimmy interested as well as rewarding those batsmen either willing to graft or - as in the case of both KP & Ashwin - to impose themselves on the bowlers from Ball One. Watching the class & composure displayed by Ashwin whenever he bats, it seems to me that India could solve one of their batting conundrums at a stroke were they simply to slot him in at Six. It'd also enable them to go into each Test with a genuine five-man attack.

As for England: Cook continues on his merry, imperturbable way, KP showed that his skittish performance at Ahmedabad was due almost entirely to what was going on between his ears, Swann & Monty have conclusively outspun their Indian counterparts & both Trott - who averages barely 30 this year & drops every chance that comes his way - & Broad look shot to pieces.

Posted by Hash_Tag on (November 24, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

This is an awful pitch - like a minefield. No-one will ever be truly in on it. But India still in an extremely strong position. If they lose from here they will only have themselves to blame. Mind you - England had winning positions in 2 of the 3 Tests against Pakistan and still managed to blow it spectacularly. Cook is becoming one of the greats. After conquering Australia he is now showing his class on difficult Indian surfaces too. Well played sir.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 24, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

England have proved that their spinners are better than India's. India's spinners NOT ONCE matched Swann and Panesar for turn and bounce, and have settled this little contest.

Posted by subbass on (November 24, 2012, 17:26 GMT)

Not many Injun fans on here today. But it could all change rapidly, one of KP and Cook must get a big one with support down the order. A 75 run lead would make us firm favs with how well our spinners are bowling. Monty proving he is world class made me smile. Should be a cracking Test match !

Posted by mikey76 on (November 24, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

If these two can bat till lunch then England are in a great position with batsmen to come. As we've seen before though wickets can fall in clusters so I'd still prefer to be in India's position with runs on the board. If England can get a lead then Monty especially could be a handful with increasing bounce and turn. Trott is a conundrum, so obviously out of form but with no practice matches in between its hard for him to find his touch or a likely replacement too. I think just leave him and hope he finds a way to make a score. Lets hope Finn is fit soon too.

Posted by basusri133b on (November 24, 2012, 17:09 GMT)

An amazing day of cricket ! Cook & Pieterson played brilliantly, aided by some sloppy Indian in fielding, some good luck and the rub of the green. I am sure the BCCI must be having 2nd thoughts about the DRS. The match is most intrigueingly poised, the next two sessions of play will be crucial for both teams. It was interesting to note how the short legs disappeared after Pujara & Rahane got injured.

Posted by Vikstinator on (November 24, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

Dhoni wanted a turner from First day and all his top batsman are in pavillion except pujara wiht in 150 run mark .England is the one having meals in his plate

Posted by HarishVS on (November 24, 2012, 16:42 GMT)

The test has started rather inauspiciously for India with yet another clumsy and miserable departure of Gambhir in the second ball of the innings. I think Gambhir is totally out of sorts mentally rather than technically, and unless he comes up with a better one in the second, it might be a premature end to one of the best opening partnerships in world cricket. Kohli seem to be just serving the law of averages. He got out with a very ordinary shot. I think he is due for a big one in the second innings. Tendulkar's got a very good ball and he misread it completely to be clean bowled. Unlucky and nothing else could be said. Yuvraj again was thoroughly exposed by Swann. Indian spinners appeared clueless to Cook and Pietersen except that Cook's plumb in front ball being negated by Aleem Dar. Anyway India are not looking great for the first two days if you take away Pujara and Ashwin runs and Ojha's wickets. Only the spicy first session pitch could save India from utter surrender.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 24, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

England in a strong position with both Cook and Pieterson looking solid. There has to be wholeslae changes to India starting with Sehwag and Gambhir. Cook has shown the value of solid reliable opener is far more important than a flat track 1 in 20 Sehwag. Time for Dhoni to make an emotionally difficult call on Sachin. England had the luxury of being to call on Panesar who made the supposedly best players of spin look like club level batters whilst we get Harbajan as a third spinner who I'm not sure would even find a place in an English county team. At 178 runs, we had lost 5 wickets and Monty had taken 4 of them. Yuvraj was, is and always will be a ODI player. It seems like that the team that supposedly can't play spin can and the team that can play spin can't. India has seriously underestimated Monty and Swanny.

Posted by St.John on (November 24, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

England in the driving seat here! Just got to say that KP makes light work of all the scary and negative talk of playing in the 'Sub Continent' - so often a convenient excuse excuse for under performing. Whether its in India or Sri Lanka KP bats the same - fearlessly and superbly...Perfect partner for the more sedate and composed Cook.

Posted by ggaammeerr on (November 24, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

England certainly has the upper hand as of now. Unless something dramatic happens on the first session tomorrow, India should get ready to accept the inevitable. Having out of form Gambhir, Kohli and Tendulkar, the scratchy Dhoni, the unpredictable Sehwag and Yuvraj in the batting line up will only add to the already full cup of worries. Ashwin's and Bhajji's bowling form is not helping either and probably it might not be a bad idea to consider Piyush Chawla in place of Harbajan for the next test to have more variety. Certainly Rahane should be drafted into the team and "resting" Tendulkar would be the best option.

Posted by Mali-T658 on (November 24, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

Whatever happened to Ashwin and his supposedly 'secret' delivery! I wouldn't jump the guns on Indian batsmen so soon but they can surely learn a thing or two from A.Cook. It's just disheartening to see the players who can play spin well, getting bowled.

Posted by sush4dhs on (November 24, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

Alister Cook, you beauty!. I have never seen any foreign player in the last decade or so who has played on the sub-continent pitches so comfortably as Captain Cook. Kudos. As for the Indian batsmen, batting seems to be a major worry for most of the batsmen. Selection committee, pls do something before we end up loosing all matches due to our OUT OF FORM BATSMEN WHO WILL ALWAYS REMAIN OUT OF FORM. P.S- Change does not mean getting the yuvaraj's and the raina's in the team and wait for them to strike some form. They simply are not meant to play test cricket.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (November 24, 2012, 16:01 GMT)

Encouraging stuff from England and especially Cook and KP. There's still much to do though and every run England can score above Indias first innings total will be precious. Tomorrow will be a big day and IF England can bat through and accumilate 300 runs it'll be interesting to watch a tired and demorilised India deal with Monty and Swann. All results are possible though, but England have made a huge pyschological statement and I'm hopeful for a series leveling win here? This is test cricket and anything can happen though - so let's keep applying pressure to the Indian pysche. Trott looks woefully out of form in the slips and with the bat and surely some selection questions are gouing to be asked? COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

Good spinning tracks certainly make for fascinating cricket. Such tracks are necessary to bring excitement back to the test cricket. It was great fun to watch Indian batsmen (except Pujara) prod and hop (and in general, be clueless) against Panesar. ..........Cook is in great form and Pietersen is playing a great inning. Let us see if both of them can hit double centuries each and declare with the lead of about 250 runs. Can the Indian team save itself from an inning defeat? It will be great fun to watch Indian batsmen 's mighty struggle against good spin (and against seam, and against bounce, and against good pace) again. ..........Dhoni got the track he wished for. However, to win, I think this Indian team might need FLAT track for Indian batsmen and a spinning tracks only for the English batsmen!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (November 24, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

Congratulations to Monty on another 5wkt haul in Asia-good selection and one we should have started with in A'bad. Massive congrats to Swann too for his 200 wkts-only 600 more to catch Murali. Thank God our spin dept is as good as India's. Broad needs big runs to justify his keep. It is not enough to simply have blue eyes to retain the billing. Meaker might have been better here.Skid may be more useful than bounce. Pujara has started out well-a rapidly developing thorn in our flesh. He has shots and defence and a great temperament. Ashwin bats like a six, flowing and elegant. Overall England have hope while Cook and KP remain.

Posted by andrew27994 on (November 24, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

Instead of blaming the indian bowlers, I think it is fair to say that England (especially Cook and Pietersen) played brilliantly. Cook, in particular, was very methodical in his approach. He was prepared to take a few risks as well. The good thing that India did was that they kept things tight by not conceding too many runs. Zaheer and Ojha were exceptional. Luck didn't favour India today but they should feel that they have every chance of a comeback. Even if England get a 1st innings lead, they will still find it hard chasing 150-200 runs in the 2nd innings. So perseverance is the key for India.

Posted by swat1999 on (November 24, 2012, 15:37 GMT)

Wel done A.Cook, thats the reason you are the best batsman in the World. Lot of excitement in Test cricket thats one of the reason i love Test match than shorter format

Posted by JG2704 on (November 24, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

I'd say England's day. Although an Indian fan yesterday made a far fetched theory that India would score 550 , I still felt they would likely score 400 or at least 350+. Have to say Zaheer's dismissal was a shocking decision but credit to the guy he seemed to take it on the chin. Re our batsmen - Compton is showing enough promise to keep him in there but I feel Trott maybe should be dropped. He has been a great batsman for us but looks more in dire straits than Knopfler at the moment and his game is based on grinding out innings so it's not like someone like KP who is probably worth keeping in there when in bad form because if he fires he can take the game away from you. While I am fairly upbeat right now I am realising that there are still balls which do something and this is the sort of pitch where wickets can fall in clusters. It's a shame the day couldn't have lasted a bit longer as both KP and Cook have to start all over again tomorrow

Posted by sachinisawesome on (November 24, 2012, 15:21 GMT)

@ Jose Puliampatta So u r saying if kohli was older then he should have been dropped. And Yuvi scoed a good half century in the previous innings and he should be dropped after one more failure. Thank god u r not the selector.

Posted by skilebow on (November 24, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

mazii - didn`t cook get 94 in the 2nd test? i`m fairly sure thats a half century!

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 15:17 GMT)

@manzii. Don't bother about what people say. The stats and ranking between Ajmal and Ashwin say it all. Ashwin is a club crickter, most of his wickets has come in the subcontinent. He faieled miserably abroad. Indians habit of getting over-excited and putting ordinary players into world class league. The likes of Murali, Herath, Mendis are thousand times better than most Indian bowlers. Indian bowlers can't take wickets aboard or at home. Only capable of playing on flat wickets. lol.

Posted by vakkaraju on (November 24, 2012, 15:12 GMT)

The whole business of spinning wickets is sure blow up in Dhoni's face. England have shown they can bowl well on these types of wickets and now the are willing to gut it out with the bat. Right now it is advantage to England. With no Yadav and Sharma it is monotony and Cook and KP are certainly having fun.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (November 24, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

@mazii: Cook got 94 against Ajmal and Pakistan. His average in that series wasn't bad, it was just everyone elses which was.

Posted by landl47 on (November 24, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

Nicely balanced game. England needs a decent lead to overcome the disadvantage of batting last (this always looked a very good toss to win). Pujara played another really classy innings, but only Ashwin backed him up. Monty was a revelation- that's by far the best I've seen him bowl. The first session tomorrow will be big.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

fascinating day indeed ! right from swann to pujara zaheer khan's 'weird' dismissal ......... if we do not stop KP and COOKY in the first session of the game then we might ask for trouble ! the spinners are the heroes for this game.

Posted by cricket-is-best on (November 24, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

It seems umpring has evened out the two teams,with england the clear offence.pujara has excelled because of some bad fielding by england,so they deserve that.but cook has excelled only because of poor that is very dont say india should face this because they have not accepted DRS.thats a disgusting claim.just because we have not accepted DRS does not means umpires (specially aleem dar) will make plumb crystal clear howlers against India.Ok 1st test understood happened again today.that wicket of zaheer khan and again cook who was plumb LBW.dhoni was right that india is made to take more than 20 wickets.its irritating.all those decisions required simple eye,not DRS.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 24, 2012, 14:53 GMT)

This game is poised in a fascinating position. It's certainly looking like a result but it could go either way. England's past fragility is still in the back, if not the front, of everyone's mind but Cook and KP are certainly doing all the right things at the moment. They really need to see out the first hour at least tomorrow to ease the pressure on Bairstow. He really produced the goods against SA after all the talk about his weakness against the short ball so hopefully he can do the same against spin, but I think he'd be more nervous if England lost an early wicket. If this backbone remains and England can actually take a lead of 100 or more then the pressure would be right back on the Indian batsmen, some of whom have looked a little shaky. If they could get Pujara early then the dominoes might tumble. Still lots of work to do to even get to that stage but there's genuine hope right now. Gotta love Test cricket!

Posted by Stark62 on (November 24, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

I am very glad, the DRS is not in use because it has allowed the English batsmen to plant their front foot outside without worry.

Also, this pitch is very similar to the one's in the UAE, where there was the odd turn and vicious bounce, so what seems to be the problem?

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

While COOK appears to have mastered the Indian Spin TRIO and KP is slowly but surely on the learning curve, OJHA alone has the capacity to take wkts, if not as mysterious as Suniel Narain of the West Indies ! Poor Bhajji .. Leave alone his wonted "Doosra", his spinning is of less than Club-class ! Unless he does something extraordy., now or later in the 2nd innings, HE IS BOUND TO BE AXED FOR FURTHER INTERNATIONAL GAMES--A FACT HE'S WELL AWARE !!

Posted by SoulTaker on (November 24, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

Gautam and Sachin should be dropped for the next two test matches....they are hurting Team India....We respect you Sachin but you should consider the team's interest and should retire immediately and make way for the youngsters....

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (November 24, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

It seems Ojha is the only decent spinner we got. Ashwin is no Ajmal, although he's a decent bat. Bhajji is a spent force. Drop Gauti & Sachin for next 2 tests, and bring in Dhawna and Rahane. Bring Manoj in place of Yuvi. Drop Bhajji and try a young spinner like Shabazz Nadeem or Jalaj Saxena.

Posted by Long-Leg on (November 24, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

Very heartening stuff from England, but today's success should not hide the fact that a significant number of our batsmen cannot survive in these conditions. Some have learned well from their experience this year but Trott for one looks all at sea. It remains to be seen how the rest will cope. I hope I'm wrong, but I still fancy India to win this.

Posted by Nampally on (November 24, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

A bad day for the India in the field! A series of bad decisions from Dhoni. Inclusion of Harbhajan in the XI was illogical especially when there is already an established off spinner. Dhoni's field placing with 2 close in fielders without adequate cover for the sweep short on the boundary is far too expensive. Cook got many easy 4's there in his last 3 innings!. Also Pujara is already injured in the process. Thirdly, this is a pitch which has helped the left arm spinner Panesar. Why was Yuvraj, a left arm spinner, not used at all instead of bowling Harbhajan for 14 overs? Yuvraj has been a non participant- a first ball "Duck" & no bowling!.Wasting the new ball on 2 spinners also was surprising when ZAK's talents with the new ball were wasted. Not to take any thing away from Cook & KP, who batted very well & badly exposed Dhoni's absence of logic.India now has an uphill task even on getting a first innings lead. Dhoni needs to utilize ZAK & Yuvraj fully to make Indian bowling effective!

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

It was easier for me to understand my wife (took years after marriage) than to understand this pitch!

Posted by AK_25 on (November 24, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

if eng can take lead of 100+ thn thy lll hav the upper hand....otherwise its a 50-50 game....

Posted by mazii on (November 24, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

Now where are those who said that Ashwin is a better bowler than Ajmal. Cook couldn't able to score even a half century against Pakistani spin attack. With two spinners, Pakistan won 3-0. India used three spinners and they couldn't able to get cook out. Only a bowler of Ajmal and steyns's class can get this extra ordinary play out twice in the test match. Indian bowlers are just club level bowlers except Ojha. Ojha is a good bowler, he showed composure and equanimity against world class batsmen like Cook and Petieterson. These Indian bowlers can't get this man out unless cook made some mistake.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

As a Pietersen fan it was a delight to see him play that way. Because he's tall he can smother the length the spinners want to bowl and now he has a backfoot game, they were bowling too short too often and he loved it. If he and Cook stay together tomorrow and build for another two sessions, I reckon we can win with a lead of 100. England, whether you win or lose, some strides are being made towards getting it right in Asia and thank you for at least making the Indian crowds go quiet for a bit

Posted by Essex_Man on (November 24, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

A fascinating contest in the City of Dreams between some high-class spinners and England's best two batsmen. Gripping stuff! Can't wait for Day 3!

Posted by Harmony111 on (November 24, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

Eng have batted very well and seem to have found a way to handle the spinners who I think are not doing what they ought to do - making the batsmen play the ball at a distance. Harbhajan and Ashwin bowled far too many balls on the body of the batsmen targeting the middle stump hoping someone would spin and beat the batsman. Harbhajan was seen bowling round the wicket to both the left and the right handed batsmen when he should have stick to over the wicket and made Cook play the away going ball. KP played in a higher gear and made up for the slow runs Eng had scored initially. But India know it well that 1-2 early wickets tomorrow and the game will be back in their grasp though it is not entirely out even now. All in all, this match is setting up nicely and who knows Viru or Sachin may play a super knock in the 3rd innings like the 2004 Mumbai Test vs Oz and put the game beyond Eng's reach. Fast wicket or slow wicket, seamer or spinner, this will have a result.

Posted by sensible-indian-fan on (November 24, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

Cook and KP played brilliantly. Clearly Eng's day. I am not sure what happening in this pitch but if its anything like a good turner, then anything is possible in the next few days. In this pitch, batting gets the easiest post tea. We saw that happen when both India and Eng batted. So if tomorrow Eng survives the first 2 sessions with decent wickets in tact, boy oh boy, we have some serious trouble brewing up.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

Gouti & Sachin should be dropped from the next two tests. Keep Sehwag for the X-factor. Kohli is certainly out of form, since this series started. He being young and one of the certainties for the future, should be persisted with. Dhoni should bat, only because he is the captain, and try to come certainly after Ashwin and probably after Bhajji, in the second innings. We should certainly bring in Rahane (another Pujara, in the test cricket mould) for the next two tests and give more opportunities to guys like Tiwari & even Raina. If Yuvi does not perform in the second innings, either Raina should be brought back in is place or try Tiwari.

Posted by CazSomerset on (November 24, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

Right England are in a good position. A solid morning is required and then time to push on and get some scoreboard pressure on the Indians. Come on!!

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 13:45 GMT)

Panesar & Swann seem to have bowled better than the three Indian spinners. Hopefully (of course, from the Indian supporters' point of view), the Indian spinners may get better success on Sunday. Similarly, Cook & Pietersen seem to have batted and tackled spin better than most of the veterans in the India batting line up,

Posted by liz1558 on (November 24, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

Still a looooong way to go in this Test, but this is good stuff and entertaining cricket. A word on Swann: in 24 Tests against teams from the sub-continent he has so far taken 116 wickets at 25.5. No other non-Asian bowler (Warne apart) has taken more wickets at a better rate against the same opponents home and away. Nuf said.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

Well the one thing about KP is, he won't sit back and let the Indian spinners dictate terms. A big partnership here and England may square the series up as Monty and Swann have obviously found a way to make inroads. It's all on the shoulders of Englands middle order here to run up a big score.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 24, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

Cook yet again showed why he's the world's best test opener, and Pieterson played a sensible game. India continued their age-old tradition of going extremely negative whenever they feel the momentum slipping away from them - taking a long time to bowl the overs and slowing the game down just because KP and Cook were smashing them around. And the excess appealing has been another low point for team India.

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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