Daijiworld Media Network
Ahmedabad, Nov 18: Day 4 of the 1st Test: India are in command but England are fighting through their openers. The pitch has slowed down considerably which means the batsmen are getting enough time to negotiate the turn from Ashwin and Ojha. An interesting day's play is in store - England trail by 219 runs and have all 10 wickets in store.
England managed to win the last session after being down in the dumps at the end of the 2nd. Cook has played a captain's knock so far and got superb support from the debutant, Compton. The Indian players almost seemed deflated towards the end of the session. They had been on the field for 95 overs but barring a close LBW call against Cook and a tough catch that went down, there were not too many chances. Dhoni will need his men to come out and show better spirit tomorrow. They are still leading by 219 runs.
Day 3 - brief report :
Following on in the first Test, England were 111 for no loss at stumps on Day 3 at the Sardar Patel Stadium. Remaining unbeaten on 74 with Nick Compton on 34 at the end of dayís play, England skipper Alastair Cook lead the visitorís fight back in an effort to stay in the match.
The visitors were spun out for 191 in the first innings by Indiaís spin twins Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin who claimed eight wickets amongst themselves giving India the edge at Motera. Ojha finished with a fiver, while Ashwin surpassed Anil Kumble to become the fastest Indian bowler to claim 50 Test wickets.
Earlier, resuming on 41 for three, Cook and Kevin Pietersen were kept on tenterhooks by Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin from the first over. However, they managed to hold their ground for 14 overs, before Ojha struck. In the 15th over of the day, he set the ball rolling with the wickets of Pietersen and Ian Bell off consecutive deliveries. In a maiden with two wickets, the left-arm spinner first knocked back Pietersenís middle-stump, while Bell who came down the crease and lofted him high in the air was caught by Sachin Tendulkar at mid-off.
With half the side back in the dressing room for 69 runs, Samit Patel joined the England skipper at the crease. But 11 runs later, Cook who had persisted to accumulate 41 runs nicked Ashwin to first slip where Virender Sehwag took a low catch to end the England captainís stay in the middle.
A few overs later the Prior was dropped by Zaheer Khan at deep mid-wicket off Ashwin and the ball rolled over to the ropes giving the batsman and England an extended lease in the innings. In the next over, Umesh Yadav trapped Patel leg-before in his first over of the match to leave the tourists reeling on 97 for seven. In the following over, Prior took England past 100 with a boundary off Ashwin. At lunch England were 110 for seven with Prior (20) and Bresnan (0) at the crease.
Making the most of the life given to him while on three, Prior put up a late fight in the second session with Bresnan and then Stuart Broad. He was involved in two of the biggest partnerships for England in the innings. His stand with Bresnan was worth 47 when Ojha removed the latter. He then stitched a 43-run partnership with Broad until Khan trapped the tail-ender lbw for 25.
Ojha then rattled Priorís stumps to wrap up the visitorsí first innings for 191 a few minutes before tea, forcing them to follow on. The England wicketkeeper missed out on a well deserved half-century as he became Ojhaís fifth scalp.
With India in a dominating position, skipper MS Dhoni handed the ball to Yadav to open the bowling as Cook and Compton took guard for the second time in two days. Trailing by 330 runs the England openers started off cautiously and negotiated the Indian bowlers with determination. Although they survived a few half chances the batsmen worked the ball around and kept the score board ticking. Gaining in confidence as the runs came by more freely, the England captain pulled Ojha for boundary through square-leg to reach his half-century. The batsmen scored more fluently and a while later Cook brought up Englandís 100 with a four off Tendulkar.
Although they fell like nine pins in the first innings, the visitors applied themselves and have put up a better show in the second.
At the end of Day 3: England 1st innings 191 all out in 74.2 overs (M Prior 48, A Cook 41, PP Ojha 5/45, R Ashwin 3/80); England 2nd innings 111/0 in 38 overs (A Cook 74*, N Compton 34*)
At the end of Day 2: India 1st innings 521/8 decl. in 160 overs (C Pujara 206*, Yuvraj Singh 74, G Swann 5/144); England 1st innings 41/3 in 18 overs (A Cook 22*, K Pietersen 6*, R Ashwin 2/21, PP Ojha 1/3)
At the end of Day 1: India 1st innings 323/4 in 90 overs (V Sehwag 117, C Pujara 98*, Y Singh 24*, G Swann 4/85
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