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Part Time Brilliance from England

December 8th 2012 15:35
England look set to guarantee at least a draw on their Indian tour after a topsy-turvy day in Kolkata.

England resumed on 509-6 this morning, with Matt Prior on 40 and Graeme Swann on 21. However the first session of the day certainly went to India, Swann was first to go, removed by Pragyan Ojha without adding to his overnight score. Prior went in the next over, caught behind off the bowling of Zaheer Khan for 41. Jimmy Anderson and Steve Finn put on England’s best partnership of the day with 13 runs, before Anderson was caught by Sehwag off Ravi Ashwin. Panesar was harshly removed next ball, LBW to Ashwin, despite getting a clear edge on the ball. This ended England’s innings on 523, with a lead of 207. The touring camp would’ve been pretty disappointed with the amount of runs they added in the morning, with the last 4 wickets falling for just 14 runs.

Gautum Gambhir and Virender Sehwag came to the crease and immediately showed the England tail how to bat. They put on 86 runs up to the lunch interval, the intentions of the Indians clear from the way that Gambhir hit the last over before the break. Taking a six and a four from Monty Panesar, to leave England with lots to think about over the lunch table. But the momentum changed from the first ball after the break as Graeme Swann bowled Sehwag after a loose shot from the opener. The run machine from the early matches Cheteshwar Pujara was next to the crease, but he was Gambhir’s second run out victim of the game. The opener turned a short ball from Steve Finn to mid-wicket and immediately called for the run. Ian Bell swooped on the ball and hit the stumps from an acute angle to get rid of India’s version of Alistair Cook. Gambhir was next to go, he swung at a wide, full ball from Anderson and was caught behind by Prior. The Little Master, Sachin Tendulkar was now joined by Virat Kohli who hasn’t lived up to his billing in this series. But this partnership was short and not particularly sweet as Swann removed Sachin with an arm ball that went straight on and took the edge, well caught by Jonathan Trott at slip. New man Yuvraj Singh and Kohli looked to be building some foundations before Singh was bowled by Anderson for just 11. Captain Dhoni came to the crease with India reeling on 122-5, but he was the next man unable to stick around as he became Anderson’s second victim, in the first ball of his next over.

Kohli and Ravi Ashwin were able to limit their losses up to tea, but soon after it the last recognised batsman, Kohli, was removed by Steve Finn and another catch for Matt Prior. Zaheer Khan went in the next Finn over, plumb LBW without scoring. This left India on 159-8, but what followed left all England fans thoroughly frustrated. Ashwin and Ishant Sharma put on 38 in 18 over's, before Sharma became a victim for Panesar who had slaved away all day without reward. Pragyan Ojha came to the middle with 10 over's of the day left, and with his team still 10 runs behind. England would’ve been confident of finishing the match off without having to return the following day, the Indian 10th wicket partnership had other ideas. Ashwin and Ojha wore down the England bowlers and took the lead and more. They eventually finished the 4th day on 239 for 9, an unbeaten 42 run final partnership has India 32 runs ahead. Ravichandran Ashwin will return tomorrow just 17 runs short of his second Test century. England will be hoping to finish the game off as quickly as possible and start preparations for the final test in Nagpur which starts later in the week.

Australian Big Bash
Sydney Thunder 143-9 (20overs) RGL Carters 33*(24), LW Feldman 2-18.
Sydney Sixers 147-3 (18.4overs) BJ Haddin 59(48), SPD Smith 41*(32), CP Tremain 2-27
Sydney Sixers won by 7 wickets with 8 balls remaining.

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