India v England: Cheteshwar Pujara double hundred piles pressure on Alastair Cook

England in big trouble as Cook's men lose Compton, Anderson AND Trott under spin barrage after Pujara's double ton fires India



11:42 GMT, 16 November 2012


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England made a hapless start in their efforts to save the first Test, despite an eight-and-a-half-hour demonstration from Cheteshwar Pujara of the skills they need to do so.

India's 521 for eight declared owed much to Pujara's tour de force 206 not out, and more than a little too to the adventure of Virender Sehwag with his destructive hundred yesterday.

The upshot on day two at the Sardar Patel Stadium was that new England captain Alastair Cook and debutant Nick Compton's first task, in pursuit of an opening stalemate in this four-match series, was to come through 18 overs unscathed.

The Wall mk II: Cheteshwar Pujara hit a brilliant 206 not out for India

The Wall mk II: Cheteshwar Pujara hit a brilliant 206 not out for India

India v England: First Test
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Captain Cook suffers nightmare first day: How the play unfolded on day one

Cook survived. But Compton, nightwatchman
James Anderson and then Jonathan Trott could not stay with him in a
distinctly unpromising stumps total of 41 for three.

England were confronted immediately
with Ravichandran Ashwin's much-hyped variations, and spin at both ends
by the 10th over when slow left-armer Pragyan Ojha joined in.

A big off-break was too much for
Compton, turning between bat and pad to hit leg-stump and give Ashwin
his 50th Test wicket, in record Indian time.

Anderson went bat-pad to Ojha an over later, and then in the next Trott fell likewise to Ashwin.

Pujara had earlier ploughed on remorselessly to a maiden double-hundred at this level in only his sixth Test.

He shared a fifth-wicket stand of 130
with Yuvraj Singh (74), and put on another 66 for the seventh with
Ashwin before England were granted a rest – after 160 overs of hard and
largely unrewarded slog in the sun.

Graeme Swann eventually took his
wicket tally to five, for the 14th time for his country, but his
successes here came at a cost of 144 runs on a lifeless surface offering
only slow and irregular turn.

Leading from the front: England captain Alastair Cook dug in until the close

Leading from the front: England captain Alastair Cook dug in until the close

If there was a consolation for
England, it was that this pitch has yet to show any significant signs of
deterioration – and therefore their prospects of closing out a draw
should remain viable.

During their second consecutive
wicketless morning, Yuvraj passed a poignant comeback half-century – in
his first Test innings since recovering from cancer – and Pujara
completed India's second individual hundred of the match.

Yuvraj reached his 98-ball 50 with a
big hit over midwicket off Swann for his fifth four, to go with a one
straight six also off the off-spinner.

England gave the ball, only four overs old, to Swann rather than seam at each end this morning.

But the closest they came to a
breakthrough before lunch was with a series of lbw appeals, the most
convincing of which was Swann's from only the second ball of the day
when Yuvraj missed a sweep without addition to his overnight 24.

He and Pujara then appeared to target
Swann, taking 15 off one over – including that six from Yuvraj – but
Cook kept his nerve, and the off-spinner continued.

/11/16/article-2233872-141C70B5000005DC-704_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Five-fer: Graeme Swann added another Indian scalp to his overnight haul” class=”blkBorder” />

Five-fer: Graeme Swann added another Indian scalp to his overnight haul

Cook employed some unconventional
fielding positions at times, posting a seven-two off-side arrangement –
with no catchers behind the bat – to help Anderson dry up the run-rate
against Pujara.

The stoic No 3 is not a batsman to
respond with a loss of patience, however, and it seemed England's best
hope was to try to out-bore him and hope for a mistake from Yuvraj.

It was not until early afternoon that they had any respite.

Yuvraj clubbed a Samit Patel full-toss
to Swann in the leg-side deep, and then the off-spinner put himself
back in the wickets column too when Mahendra Singh Dhoni deflected an
attempted sweep down on to his stumps.

Pujara remained less co-operative,
still showing no signs of weariness as he negotiated a third successive
full session in an innings which would eventually encompass 389 balls.

It also contained 21 fours, many
classy deflections to leg and a collection driven down the ground –
until England's damage limitation left him little option but to pick off
runs into that packed off-side.

Kevin Pietersen had Ashwin edging a
cut behind, but it was not until Zaheer Khan speared an attempted drive
at Anderson to Trott at backward point that the first wicket at last
fell to pace.

Shortly afterwards, with Pujara's
double-century safely in the book, Dhoni decided it was time for
England's batsmen to be tested.