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England vs India ~ 4th Test Day 1

December 13th 2012 17:57
Another day and for a change it is a failure for England captain Alistair Cook. But it didn’t start that way for him.

India announced straight after the 3rd Test in Kolkata that they would be dropping Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh, the men they brought in were a little surprising however. Khan was replaced by leg spinner Piyush Chawla, this meant the Indians had three spinners in their side, so everybody expected the other man to be a seamer. They were wrong. Instead, MS Dhoni selected his Chennai Super Kings teammate Ravindra Jadeja, a left handed all-rounder who is well known for his spin bowling, but he has just this season accomplished a feat, even Sachin Tendulkar hasn’t been able to do (for obvious reasons). Jadeja, just last month, became the first player in history to score 3 triple centuries in the Ranji Trophy, a huge feat for anyone, let alone a (!!!!) year old. These changes left the Indian side very spin heavy with Ishant Sharma as the only seamer. England also made 2 changes to their side, Steven Finn was unable to come through a fitness test and was replaced by Tim Bresnan, more for his batting ability to strengthen the tail than anything else. The other change has made this cricket fan very, very happy, Samit Patel was dropped and rather surprisingly replaced by Joe Root who would get his first cap. Root was selected ahead of Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan which shows what the England coaches think about the future of the Yorkshire batsman Root.

England captain Cook won the toss and decided to take first knock on a pitch that the groundsman said would be ‘a sporting wicket’. Nobody was quite sure what this meant, but after a few overs from Sharma everybody understood. It was a pitch that had enough in it for the seamers to make Dhoni regret just picking Sharma, but it also looks flat at times, and it will definitely deteriorate to spin in the coming days. Something for everybody me thinks.

Cook and Nic Compton took to the crease but immediately realised that they were going to have a tough time of it. Compton was the first wicket to fall prodding at a back of a length ball from Sharma and nicking it through to Dhoni. The next wicket was unexpected and unlucky. Alistair Cook, the run machine, failed for the second successive innings, Sharma came round the wicket and pitched one just on a good length, Cook looked to get stuck on the crease as the ball stayed incredibly low to strike him on the pad. That was unlucky you may think as the umpire raises his finger, you’d be right because as well as the lack of bounce, the ball would also have gone on to miss the timbers. England 2 down early, and in need of a fight back. Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen duly provided such an effort. They put on almost 100 in over 2 hours before Trott succumbed to Jadeja giving him his maiden Test wicket. Trott seems to have a KP style voodoo against left arm spin and today was another chapter in that tale. He decided to leave and ball that was going on to hit the stumps, he didn’t realise it was going to hit the stumps, until the ball that was going on to hit the stumps, hit the stumps and Trotty was out. Ian Bell came to the middle still under pressure, and he once again was unable to contribute in any real way. He made just 1 run from the 28 balls he faced, before he once again gifted his wicket away. Joe Root came to the crease to join Pietersen who had early brought up his slowest Test 50 in terms of deliveries faced. This showed the new fight that Pietersen seems to be showing having returned from the International wilderness, but he also gifted his wicket to the Indian bowlers, the Indian left arm bowlers to be exact as he was caught by Pragyan Ojha off Ravindra Jadeja, for 73.

Ian Bell is averaging just 14 against India on this tour.

Joe Root and Matt Prior halted what the hosts thought would be a rampage of the lower order and tail, as they built an undefeated 60 run partnership up to stumps. Prior is on 34* and Root 31* will be looking to keep the Indians in the field for as long as possible tomorrow, and build a big innings to put the hosts on the back foot.

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