India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 2nd day November 24, 2012

Double spin and a double ton

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

Tactic of the day
India's tactic of opening the bowling with two spinners is remarkably unusual. It is thought to be the first time England have faced an all spin opening attack since the 1967 Trent Bridge Test against Pakistan. On that occasion, requiring only three for victory in the fourth innings, England were confronted by Mushtaq Mohammad and Saeed Ahmed. England also opened with two spinners after South Africa were obliged to follow-on at Lord's in 2008. With bad light threatening, England utilised Monty Panesar and Kevin Pietersen instead of their seamers. Both of those occasions were in the opposition's second innings, though, and it is thought that this game marks the first occurrence of two spinners opening the bowling with spin bowling (there were occasions when spinners bowled a couple of overs of seam) in their opposition's first innings since 1910.

Milestone of the day
The wicket of Harbhajan Singh leg before gave Graeme Swann his 200th Test wicket. By doing so in his 48th Test, he became the fourth quickest England bowler to reach the landmark after Ian Botham (41 Tests), Alec Bedser (44 Tests) and Fred Trueman (47 Tests). Later Swann claimed two more wickets to draw level with John Snow on 202 victims; only 12 England bowlers have claimed more.

Reprieve of the day
A recurring theme of England's recent cricket has been the number of chances they have missed in the field. While the one offered by Harbhajan, edging a delivery from Monty Panesar when he had scored 1, was far from easy, it was the sort of half chance that the best sides take and England, of late, rarely have taken. On this occasion the ball flew between the wicketkeeper Matt Prior and Jonathan Trott, at first slip, with neither man laying a hand on the delivery. While Trott's view would have been impaired by Prior, England may also want to reflect on the positioning of their slip fielders. For the second day in succession, they paid the penalty for leaving too large a space between them. Whether it is a reflection of their desire to cover as much space as possible or simply a teething problem as new individuals feel their way into the role remains to be seen.

Shock of the day
It cost them 382 runs, took them 790 balls and 1,016 minutes (that is four minutes short of 17 hours) but England finally dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara. Such has been his assurance in this series that there have been times when Pujara has looked impenetrably solid but, left with only the tail to accompany him, he selflessly opted to attack. Skipping down the wicket to a Swann delivery that was pushed slightly wide and barely spun, Pujara was slightly deceived in the flight and ran past the ball. It was the first time he had been stumped in his 70 match first-class career.

Blow of the day
England may have struggled to get rid of Pujara when he batted, but Alastair Cook may have inflicted a more telling blow on him when he was fielding. It was Pujara's misfortune to be at short-leg when Cook middled a sweep off the bowling of R Ashwin only to see the ball thump into Pujara's rib cage. He was helped form the field in obvious discomfort and did not reappear for the remainder of the day. His replacement, Ajinkya Rahane, later also sustained a crushing blow in the same position as he felt the full force of a Kevin Pietersen sweep.

Error of the day
Aleem Dar has a well-earned reputation for excellence as an umpire but, proving that even the best are fallible, he is enduring a disappointing series. Here he adjudged Zaheer Khan caught at short leg when replays suggested he had missed the ball by a relatively large distance. While it was probably not a decision that will turn a game, it was a reminder of the benefits of the DRS and an example of the type of 'howler' that it is designed to eliminate.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2012, 6:35 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.

  • Jem on November 24, 2012, 19:36 GMT

    @Badgerofdoom - agree with both your posts. If it were anyone anywhere else, you'd say that England were in a very strong position at 178-2 with their two best batsmen at the crease. But this is England. In the subcontinent. Starting a whole new day! As with Badger, I fear one of these two will be out very early in the morning session and then probably quickly followed by the other and two or three more. It was the same with Cook and Prior in the last match - you just wish they could carry on batting in the evening session for another couple of hours! England's slip catching has been woeful pretty much since Colly left and exacerbated by Strauss also going. As a Lancs fan, I think Jimmy A is an incredibly athletic fielder for a big fast bowler - but he is not Paul Collingwood and has never been close to that standard; I've lost count of the number of catches (most difficult, I accept) that he's dropped in the past 18 months. Sadly Monty's inclusion isn't going to help matters!

  • Chris on November 24, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    ...oh, and the stats from the first test are that one or other of Cook and Pujara were at the crease for a total of 1268 minutes (just over 21 hours) out of a total of 1592 minutes of play - ie 80% of the match. For some reason there is no timing info from the current match, though there have only been 10 balls (out of 1081) without one of them at the crease.

  • Chris on November 24, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    @Badgerofdoom - it seems Cook worked out how to win the competition for being on the field the longest though.

  • Dummy4 on November 24, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    India, in my opinion, is not supporting DRS because of 1) their superior batting and ordinary bowling unit. Their bowlers struggle for wkts and if DRS reverses the decision, of an original out, they will be dismantled. But if one of their batsman gets out due to DRS, from original not out desicison, it will not affect their batting that much because of their rich batting pack. 2) The BCCI has refused the DRS before and they are not accepting it now because of the fear of surrendering to the cricket world.

  • James on November 24, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    @challagalla England's catching has pretty bad for the last year, the most frustrating thing about being an England fan recently is seeing all the chances going to ground that used to be taken. Slip catching is one of those things you take for granted until they start dropping them all the time. @maddy20 I agree, I'm not a fan of picking more than 2 spinners no matter the pitch, if you already have a offie and left hand combo I'm not sure what another offie is going to add especially since Harbhajans not exactly been in the wickets of late.

  • C on November 24, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    Whats happened to Englands catching. Never thought of them as having butter fingers. In a close match those 17 odd runs of Harbhajan may prove decisive.

  • V.L on November 24, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    No need to push the panic button yet. We are 1 good morning session away from getting back into the game. The most worrying thing though is Pujara's injury. He was in great pain , and its most likely to be some kind of a fracture, though I hope and pray its not the case. As for the inclusion of Harbhajan Singh, its baffling. The guys has not produced decent returns in either of the Ranji games and the logic behind his selection is beyond me! Ishant Sharma is quick, accurate and would have atleast added another dimension to the attack.

  • Dummy4 on November 24, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    I domt understand how much clearer it needs to be..WE NEED technology assistance for umpires..The DRS still backs the umpires decisions but removes howlers ..merely assisting umpires..It is very tough job and we are making it tougher by not giving them access to technology..

    Not to mention umpires in some series have the DRS and some they dont which also makes affects the decision making process of umpires

  • John on November 24, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    Excellent fight back from England. Good recovery with the ball, Cook leading from the front again and KP doing what we expected he would. There's still plenty of work to do but there's a genuine possibility of England taking the first innings lead that they quite likely need. With the pressure back on India in the second innings, anything could happen. Cook was obviously cautious early and I would have liked to see the openers take more singles to rotate the strike a bit more, but I was impressed to see him up his strike rate to maintain the pressure on the bowlers when KP started to go. Compton seems to be finding his way under trying circumstances, but an opening partnership between him and Cook is not exactly exciting. England could definitely do with someone like Root at the top to liven things up, but I can see why they went for Compton for this series. Unfortunately for Trott, he looks like he's still back in UAE. He looked better against SL and he needs to find that form again.

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