India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata, 3rd day December 7, 2012

Ishant's bad hair day

Plays of the Day from the third day of the third Test between India and England at Eden Gardens

Variation of the day
India started well on the third morning. With the pitch still offering them little, they instead concentrated on control and building pressure. It was 11 overs before England, through Alastair Cook, hit a boundary and Jonathan Trott did not manage one until the 15th over of the day. But as soon as R Ashwin produced his carrom ball, the one that spins away from the bat, it released the pressure. Trott, reading it early, leant into a cover drive and helped it with the spin to the boundary. Four more boundaries followed in the next three overs and any hope India had of preventing a large first innings deficit were gone.

Drop of the day
When Ishant Sharma is an old man, he will still wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat about his dropped catch on the third day here. Sharma, producing a delivery that pitched just back of a length and appeared to stop a little, finally induced a false shot from Cook as the England captain prodded a simple chance back at the bowler. It was as easy a chance as Sharma can have be offered at this level but, somehow, he managed to put it down. Might Sharma's long hair have obscured his view? Cook, who was also dropped the previous day on 17, was on 156 at the time and England were 273-1.

Dismissal of the day
With Cook looking solid - he has batted for 26 hours and three minutes so far this series - and India's catching far from convincing, that India would have to run him out looked increasingly likely. They did just that, but in strange fashion, especially considering that it was the first time that Cook had been run out in 312 first-class innings. Zaheer Khan bowled to Kevin Pietersen, who clipped the ball towards square leg from where Virat Kohli's good, hard throw struck direct at the non-strikers' end. Cook, having left his ground to back up, was on the verge of grounding his bat but, in an attempt to avoid the throw, took a step back down the pitch. The umpires, after checking that Cook had not grounded his bat at any stage, soon adjudged him out. Law 38 (2a) states that a batsman will only be reprieved if "he has been within his ground and has subsequently left it to avoid injury, when the wicket is put down."

Near miss of the day
India's most damaging near miss came in the early moments of Pietersen's innings. MS Dhoni, hoping to take advantage of Pietersen's reputation of uncertainly against left-arm spin and Yuvraj Singh in particular (Yuvraj counts Pietersen as one of his nine Tests wickets and had dismissed him four times in ODIs), soon introduced Yuvraj into the attack. The plan almost worked first ball. Pietersen, on one, attempted to cut a rank wide ball but could only bottom edge the stroke perilously close to his stumps. He survived to score another 50, increasing England's run-rate and lead in the process.

Catch of the day
It took remarkable reflexes from Virender Sehwag to end Samit Patel's innings. Patel, attempting to cut a short one that turned and bounced sharply from the left-arm spin of Ojha, could only get a thick edge on the ball. Sehwag, at first slip, stuck out his right hand sharply, parried the ball into the air and completed an impressive catch. The wicket must have provoked mixed emotions for India, though. Not only did it suggest the pitch was starting to deteriorate quite markedly, but it underlined the folly of Sehwag not being in the slips on the second day when Cook, in 17, was put down by Pujara.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Srinivas on December 8, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    What's this nonsense talk of sportsmanship for? A bowler bowls a noball by just an inch but cleans up the batsman. Will the batting team be gracious enough to say, "oh that's ok, he was just over by an inch and asks the batsman to come back to the dressing room"? Rules are there for exactly these kinds of situations (Cook's dismissal) so that there are no grey areas. So, where's the question of bad or good sportsmanship when rules are formulated to address these contexts? If sportsmanship, good or bad, is (y)our recourse, then definitely the inventors wouldn't have taken the pains to formulate solutions (rules) for these contexts and must have left it to the players on the field. Isn't it? But they didn't do any such thing. How hard is that to understand? People need to check their heads and understand the utility of rules before dishing out utter garbage. Talk of good or bad sportsmanship is a crying shame and is mocking at the collective intelligence of people who respect rules.

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    There are lot of emotional selections like rushing Yuvi, Harbhajan, Ishant.. lets hope for some good selections based on current form and not on past laurels.

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    India is not very far from 11 losses from their last 12 test matches!! when they are gonna turn around this downward spiral??

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    Team India should do something to bring in some luck for so called unlucky bowler Ishant!! After 45 test matches is he still unlucky?

  • Al on December 8, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    People like @myStraightTalk and @Naresh28 either don't understand the game of cricket, or like majority of Indian fans living in denial. Sure, bowlers win matches, but batsmen lose matches. This was a 500 run pitch. Our batsmen put the team in a compromising position by scoring only 300 runs on a 500 run pitch. myStraightTalk still thinks India has a chance to win this match. What planet is he from?

  • Ross on December 8, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    @PFEL -More than a little hypocritical for moans about sportsmanship to be coming from supporters of a team responsible for the shenanigans in Cardiff in 2009 and Prior's 'stumping' in the SA series just past - to name just two.

  • Patrick on December 8, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    I just saw the cook dismissal, and i suppose according to the rules out is out, but i can't help but be incredibly dissapointed in sportsmanship of the Indians and Dhoni in particular. It seems every match Dhoni is involved with something controversial, as far as sportsmanship is concerned.

  • Srinivas on December 8, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    @Naresh28, you are wrong. Bowlers don't lose you matches in test cricket. Batsmen do. Bowlers win the matches and batsmen lose the matches. If bowlers aren't good, they may not win matches for you. Batsmen are the ones who should defend the team from losses and when you are losing so badly, something has to be wrong with the batting. It's the batsmen's job to make sure that we don't lose the matches by making sure that they set up good to high scores. We batted first on a pitch conducive for batting and then failed to put up 500!!!! The batsmen are going scot-free with below normal performances on a batting pitch and you are asking bowlers to perform above their potential on a pitch conducive to batting?? Check it again. It's the Indian batsmen who are losing us matches with their below par for the course performances.

  • Srinivas on December 7, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    I have no doubt that it's Ishant Sharma's hair that was his undoing. Absolutely indisciplined 'professionals' we have in our team.

  • Srinivas on December 7, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    @FFL, get real. What should Kohli do? Throw the ball wide of the stumps, so that he can avoid hitting the stumps and Cook in the process? Cook made an error of judgment. Simple. You sure would throw the ball away from the stumps and preach that to England players as well right when an opposition batsman is out of his ground? Oh wait a minute, Collingwood was from your country right? Or was he an Indian when he was appealing disgracefully after knocking down the batsman in mid-pitch by one of his bowlers and suddenly became an Englsih player???? Nuff said!

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