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ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the opening day in Kolkata
George Dobell in Kolkata
December 5, 2012
Omission of the day
England's decision to prefer Steven Finn over Stuart Broad for this Test might mark a watershed moment in the careers of both men. Not only was it the first time that Finn, at 23 the coming force in England's fast bowling, was preferred to Broad, but it was the first time that Broad had been dropped since 2008 when, under the captaincy of Kevin Pietersen, he was omitted for the Test in Chennai. For England's Twenty20 captain and the vice-captain of this tour it marks an abrupt moment of clarity in a career that had, at one stage, seemed destined for greater things.
Mix-up of the day
Batting had looked relatively comfortable in the morning session. India's openers appeared to have seen off the new ball and were on the brink of a fifty partnership when Virender Sehwag clipped one off his toes. Having run a comfortable two, he embarked on a third run only to find that his partner, Gautam Gambhir, had remained rooted at the other end and was watching the ball. Sehwag, despite being around two thirds of the way down the pitch, was forced to turn in hope of regaining his ground but was well beaten by a strong throw. If India would rue the self-inflicted injury, England could also congratulate themselves on some committed fielding. Samit Patel, not renowned as one of the better athletes in the side, produced a long run and diving save to stop the ball going to the boundary, while Finn, backing him up, produced the hard, accurate throw to Matt Prior to complete the run-out.
Milestone of the day
The shot may have been unobtrusive, merely a flick into the leg side for a single off Monty Panesar, but when Sachin Tendulkar scored his second run he became the first man to reach 34,000 runs in international cricket. Coming into this match with 15,562 runs in Test cricket, 18,426 in ODIs and a token 10 in T20Is, Tendulkar has now scored nearly 7,000 more runs than Ricky Ponting, who is second in the combined table of all international runs. Ponting scored 27,483. Tendulkar also later became just the second man, after Brian Lara, to pass 2,500 Test runs in Tests against two teams, in both cases Australia and England. Whatever his recent trials and tribulations, those statistics underlined Tendulkar's immense achievements over more than 20 years. It is hard to believe anyone will ever overhaul such a record.
Decision of the day
India had lost three wickets for 48 runs by the time that Yuvraj Singh came to the crease. At 136 for 4, England sensed blood and India were in danger of failing to make use of winning another important toss. Before he had scored, Yuvraj was trapped on the front pad by one that swung back into him from James Anderson. Umpire Rod Tucker turned down England's appeal, perhaps believing that the batsman was hit outside the line, though replays suggested that Yuvraj could count himself fortunate to survive. He survived another huge leg before shout when he was on one, this time off Graeme Swann, just a few minutes later. Had either decision gone against India, they would have been five down with fewer than 140 on the board. As it was the fifth-wicket pair of Yuvraj and Tendulkar added 79 runs to lead India to safer ground.
Key moment of the day
For much of Tendulkar's innings, batting had been a real struggle. As he passed 50, however, he began to rediscover his fluency and produced one vintage drive through extra cover off Panesar that suggested he could build his side a strong position in the game. With India threatening to move into the ascendancy at 230 for 5, however, a new spell from Anderson brought the breakthrough. Tendulkar, half forward to one that held its own, could only edge the ball and was very well held by a diving Prior behind the stumps. The game was in the balance once more.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
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