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Jimmy Anderson puts England in control against India on Day Two of fourth Test

Anderson's three wickets put England on top as Root shines on his debut

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UPDATED:

11:02 GMT, 14 December 2012

Jimmy Anderson put England in control of the fourth Test with three wickets as India struggled on the second day in Nagpur.

England were eventually all out for 330 with debutant Joe Root scoring 73 and Graeme Swann chipping in with an important 56.

But then it was over to Anderson who took the wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag but then most importantly that of the Little Master Sachin Tendulkar for just two.

It is the ninth time that Anderson has taken the wicket of Tendulkar and it left the hosts struggling at the close of play on 87-4, 243 runs behind.

More to follow…

Main man: James Anderson celebrates dismissing Sachin Tendulkar (file picture)

Main man: James Anderson celebrates dismissing Sachin Tendulkar (file picture)

In good nick: Joe Root scored 73 in his first international innings

In good nick: Joe Root scored 73 in his first international innings

We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.
The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.
MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

India v England third Test in Kolkata – England on brink of history

England on the brink of history after sealing victory at Eden Gardens

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UPDATED:

05:04 GMT, 9 December 2012

The end may not have come as glitteringly as they would have liked, but there was no escaping the scarcely believable truth: having outplayed India at a venue where they had not lost for nearly 14 years, England stand on the brink of one of the most famous series wins in their history.

If you had offered Alastair Cook a 2-1 lead after the disappointment of Ahmedabad, the chances are he would have taken you into the corner and given you a stern talking-to.

India have not lost successive Tests at home since early 2000, when South Africa won in Mumbai and Bangalore. For Cook, in his first series as permanent Test captain, it is heady stuff.

On the brink: England became the first side to beat India at Eden Gardens for over 13 years

On the brink: England became the first side to beat India at Eden Gardens for over 13 years

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

His second stumping in Test cricket, and the two quick wickets that followed, may have taken just a fraction of the gloss off England’s win, but the captain could be forgiven.

Without his second-innings rearguard in the first Test, his team might not have developed the self-belief necessary to have a crack in the second.

Without his rock-solid century in Mumbai, Kevin Pietersen might not have batted with the licence he did, battering Indian aspiration on a heady Saturday afternoon at the Wankhede.

And without Cook’s 190 here at Eden Gardens, India might not have been ground into the dust, a precursor to their inexplicable post-lunch collapse yesterday.

Cook has lost all three tosses, but made good his dodgy calling twice. Really, it is one of the great examples of leadership-from-the-front, even if he might have set more aggressive fields while England sought to take India’s final two wickets last night.

Man of the match: Cook clocked up his third century of the series

Man of the match: Cook clocked up his third century of the series

But while there is scope for improvement, Cook generally handled his bowlers superbly well in a Test which exposed the cracks in the Indian edifice. The front page of Times of India this morning picked a team for Nagpur that included only five of the men who lost here. It was like England in the 1980s.

England, mercifully, will now look only forward. Through a combination of injury and error, they did not alight on their best attack until this game. Their fans will think it was worth the wait, although the curiosity was that the usual roles were reversed: a spinner, Monty Panesar, was leading wicket-taker in the first innings, while the Jimmy Anderson and Steven Finn – both finding reverse-swing, both outstanding – shared six in the second.

Other pieces fell into place, too. Nick Compton looks increasingly at home, Jonathan Trott made his first score of the series, and even Ian Bell – a peripheral figure until now – insured against a calamity this morning with a run-a-ball 28 not out.

You’ve got to hand it to them. They rightly had their wrists slapped after the first innings in Ahmedabad, when their protestations about improving against spin just sounded like hot air. But they have responded with a resolve that, for much of a traumatic year, appeared beyond them.

This series isn’t over yet: India can still salvage a draw at Nagpur, where the pitch may not be designed to last five days. But they have answered some serious questions. Now for one more.

India v England: India must improve – David Lloyd

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: A billion reasons why India must improve… (and leave Samit alone)

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UPDATED:

11:54 GMT, 9 December 2012

England were a bit frenetic on the final morning but the bottom line is that India got a good hiding. The home side now need to show 1.1 billion people that they actually care.

We are talking about players who earn more money than Rooney, Balotelli and Lampard (via endorsements and sponsors) and their fans deserve more. I want to see a major reaction from their players but can't see them beating England unless they improve their skill levels and attitude infinitely.

Well beaten: India must improve to please their fans

Well beaten: India must improve to please their fans

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Zaheer today, gone tomorrow

We now have back-to-back Tests and India had no real time to consider their defeat but they have still reacted and made several changes. But I am certain they have not picked better players.

Zaheer Khan may be a surprise omission to some but he looks out of condition. He's just one who showed no life or intensity in the field.

Jimmy back to his best

Nagpur is the venue for the final Test and the last three matches there have produced resounding results. India should produce a spinning pitch but they must bat better.

For England, they just pick the same team. It was absolutely right for Steven Finn to play in front of Stuart Broad and it was noticeable that Jimmy Anderson had more spark about him because the team had been freshened up.

Leave Samit alone

Get off Samit Patel's back. There is all sorts of Twitter and internet criticism over his ability and place in the team but just leave the lad alone.

He needs to do more, he'll know that, but he produced an attractive little innings in this Test and he'd also be a star fielder in this India team!

Under pressure: Patel has both Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan waiting in the wings

Under pressure: Patel has both Bairstow and Morgan waiting in the wings

Get it done in four

It was terrific to hear captain Alastair Cook say that when you win, you go and have a good night. Just one personal wish though. I hope England wrap the next Test up in four days, these early-morning starts are killing me!

When it became obvious on Saturday that we'd have be back in for just an hour's work at 3am yesterday, Mike Atherton (who is in India) was quick to text and say 'good luck!'. So come on Jimmy, come on Swanny, pull your fingers out!

Bailed out

Finally, in all my years of watching cricket, I have never seen a bail fall from its groove as it did when Jimmy Anderson bowled Pragyan Ojha. The ball just clipped the bail which took an eternity to move but finally dropped…it was as though someone had wind!

India v England third Test – Top Spin at the Test

Top Spin at the Test: Skipper makes it a gang of four after bizarre run out

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 7 December 2012

Alastair Cook’s bizarre dismissal, when he failed to ground his bat while trying to avoid being hit by a throw from Virat Kohli, at least allowed him access to an exclusive club.

Only three other Test batsmen have been run out in the 190s: Australia’s Arthur Morris made 196 in Don Bradman’s final Test, at The Oval in 1948. Garry Sobers fell for 198 at Kanpur in 1957-58.

And, most agonisingly, Pakistan’s Younis Khan was run out for 199 by a direct hit from India’s Harbhajan Singh at Lahore in 2005-06.

In good company: Sobers (pictured) was also run out in the 190s

In good company: Sobers (pictured) was also run out in the 190s

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies. MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

…but one record eluded him

Astonishingly, this was the first time Cook has been run out in his entire first-class career – and it took him until his 312th innings.

It meant he fell short of a record belonging to England selector James Whitaker, who has been in Kolkata for this Test.

Whitaker was not run out until his 393rd first-class innings. And it proved to be the only run-out of a career which ultimately extended to 497 innings.

More records ahead for Cook

The demise of the England captain meant he has now scored 547 runs in five innings in this series in more than 26 hours at the crease.

But he has a potential three more knocks in which to break yet another record: the most number of runs by an England batsman in a series in India.

Ahead of him stand Ken Barrington, who made 594 in 1961-62 and Mike Gatting, with 575 in 1984-85. But both men were playing in five-Test series.

Long handle: Gatting on his way to a double century in Madras in January 1985

Long handle: Gatting on his way to a double century in Madras in January 1985

Welcome relief for Ashwin

No wonder Ravichandran Ashwin let out a roar of relief when he removed Kevin Pietersen lbw for a lively 54: it was the Indian off-spinner’s first wicket of the innings after conceding 150 runs.

The demise of Ashwin in this series has been central to the plot after he took three wickets in England’s first innings at Ahmedabad. But his record since then has been dreadful: by stumps on day three in Kolkata, he had managed a further four wickets at 115 apiece.

Bell's barren spell goes on

It wasn't a great day for Ian Bell either, returning to the side after missing the second Test in Mumbai to spend time with his new baby son.

Bell wafted carelessly at Ishant Sharma in the second over after tea to depart for just five, and extend a mediocre record in India that now reads 207 runs at an average of just 17.

Overall, Bell averages 45 – but he is yet to make an impression in this part of the world.

India v England: Alastair Cook and Nick Compton are perfect blend – David Lloyd

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Cook and Compo are good neighbours (they have the perfect blend)… but Che Pujara won't revolutionise fielding

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UPDATED:

13:39 GMT, 6 December 2012

Captain Cook leaves me lost for words

A perfect day. Alastair Cook just goes on and on and I am running out of superlatives. England will be looking at a massive lead because this pitch is doing nothing. The theory is that they bat all day today, then look for some wear and tear in the pitch and tell the bowlers to get to work again on India.

Day to remember: Alastair Cook is now England's record Test century-maker with 23 hundreds

Day to remember: Alastair Cook is now England's record Test century-maker with 23 hundreds

Che Pujara won't revolutionise fielding

India’s fielding was abysmal. The young lad Che Pujara was standing at first slip with his shin pads on and a chest guard. This restricted his movement, he looked like a ridiculous Michelin man and, surprise, surprise, he crucially dropped Cook.

First slip is a specialist position and Virender Sehwag normally fields there but for some reason was stood at extra cover. Fielding is hard work, and India look reluctant to do it. This is Test cricket, it tests you physically and mentally.

Even India’s running between the wickets was farcical, summed up by Sehwag’s run-out. The ironic things is their specialist fielding coach is Trevor Penney, who was electric. He will be tearing his hair out.

Che Guevara

Che Pujara

One's a Marxist revolutionary, the other's a rubbish fielder: Che Guevara (left) and Che Pujara (right)

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures
from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of
Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news
organisations.

The BCCI has
refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty
Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.
MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and
supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Cook and Compo are good neighbours (they have the perfect blend)

Nick Compton definitely has a Test-match temperament. Nothing fazes him. He will continue to find his feet in a careful manner at this level and should find things more natural against Australia in English conditions next summer.

Compton contributed to an opening century partnership and has found a nice blend with Cook. It’s noticeable that Cook has increased his scoring repertoire and is the more aggressive of the two, developing his sweep shot, hitting over the top and generally extending his game.

Perfect foil: England captain Alastair Cook (right) and fellow opener Nick Compton (left)

Perfect foil: England captain Alastair Cook (right) and fellow opener Nick Compton (left)

Fill yer boots, lads

Jonathan Trott also looks very determined. The massive plus for England is that this pitch will be excellent for batting again on Friday and part of the talk from Cook and coach Andy Flower will be to keep India out in the field for as long as possible, especially if their fielding continues to be shambolic.

And remember that this pitch has been played on previously so something should be happening for the England bowlers – whether it’s turn for the spinners or movement for the seamers – on days four and five.

My verdict on the four greats who Cook has overtaken

Kevin Pietersen

Geoff Boycott

Kevin Pietersen

He will now be chasing Cook, he’ll see
this as a nice challenge.

KP is simply box office, the best English
player I have ever seen, just because of his sheer ability.

Geoffrey Boycott

The type of player you would want to
play for your life. Bowlers had to prise him out. And even when he was
out, he was reluctant to go! He was never out when he got back to the
dressing room. A typical Yorkshireman, he was careful in every aspect of
his life!

Colin Cowdrey

Wally Hammond

Colin Cowdrey

An elegant batsman and a gentleman, on
and off the pitch.

He would celebrate a century by doffing his cap,
maybe a warm handshake.

For some reason I can’t quite imagine him
kissing the pitch, kissing the badge or setting off on a dance!

Wally Hammond

Wally Hammond: I never saw him play but I
can only quote my great hero Fred Trueman, who once describe Hammond as
‘the great Wally’ and who could disagree with Fred Mind you, on Test
Match Special, Fred was once reminiscing about bowling at Hammond and
Bill Frindall looked up the stats and quietly mentioned that Wally had
retired before Fred had started playing!

DAVID LLOYD – BUMBLE TEST DIARY: I woke up dreaming of Monty Panesar and Bruno Tonioli (but Ian Botham is wrong, it had nothing to do with Timothy…

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: How I nodded off and woke up dreaming of Monty and Bruno (but Beefy's wrong, it had nothing to do with Timothy Taylor)

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UPDATED:

16:43 GMT, 5 December 2012

PANESAR'S SEXY DANCE DESERVES FULL MARKS

A word for Monty Panesar who is
revelling in the job he is doing and the contribution he is making. Cook
goes to him first, ahead of Swann, and he is bowling more overs but
they are brilliant in tandem, attacking all the time. I'm not too sure
about Monty's new celebration though – it seemed to have a bit too much
hip action and sexual innuendo – I'm not sure what Strictly judge Bruno
Tonioli would have made of it.

Monty Panesar

Bruno Tonioli

Dancing shoes: Monty Panesar (left) danced a new jig to celebrate the wicket of Pujari. It would doubtless have impressed Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli (right)

PICTURE DISPUTE: We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations. The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies. MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Eccentric: Brian Bolus

Eccentric: Brian Bolus

COOK IS THE WORLD'S MOST TERRIBLE TOSSER

An excellent day for England, especially after losing the toss. Alastair Cook is a world-class batsman but a terrible tosser! That's five times he's called heads and five times it's landed tails. Maybe he needs to take a leaf out of the book of former Notts captain Brian Bolus (right), who used to practise the toss in the dressing room on a green towel. He was a touch eccentric…

FORK-IN HELL, WHAT A PAINFUL STORY

It was great fun to see the
83-year-old groundsman. He'd had a sign made saying 'Mr Mukherjee,
Curator.' What a formidable character. He reminded me of a slightly
bonkers groundsman we had at Accrington, who was forking the pitch one
day when some lads came on to play football. He tried to shoo them off and promptly threw the fork through his foot, impaling himself on the pitch!

For fork's sake: Accrington Stanley groundsman Harry Nash with his dog Patch and Margaret Mayren on the Peel Park Pitch in 1962 (FILE IMAGE)

For fork's sake: Accrington Stanley groundsman Harry Nash with his dog Patch and Margaret Mayren on the Peel Park Pitch in 1962. It was Mr Nash with the fork, but we just love this picture (FILE IMAGE)

CAPTAIN'S JIMMY HUNCH PAYS

Jimmy Anderson was absolutely
magnificent. Earlier in his career it was suggested that unless it was
seaming and swinging he was hopeless. But he stuck two fingers up at
the critics with a great display of skill and experience.

And a massive
tick for Cook, who had a hunch that the new ball would work near the
close and was rewarded with that final wicket from Jimmy.

SACHIN THE MEMORY MAN

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar (right) somehow got 76 through
true grit but he was playing from memory.

It's now the perfect scenario
for England who have a golden opportunity to knock over India and then
build a first-innings lead.

DREAM ON BEEFY, IT WAS NOTHING TO DO OLD TIM

Finally, you may have noticed this picture of me catching 40 winks yesterday. The suggestion I'd had five pints of Timothy Taylor is scandalous – it's just these early mornings catching up on me!

Timothy Taylors beer on bar

Sleeping beauty: Ian Botham captures Bumble grabbing 40 winks this morning and posts it on his Twitter account

Jokes on tap: Sir Ian Botham posted the picture (right) on Twitter and alleged it had something to do with five pints of yummy Timothy Taylor beer (left). Not true, Beefy sir!

More from David Lloyd…

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Rolling Stones fan Bumble says – It's only an England Test victory in India… but I like it, like it, yes I do!
26/11/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Atherton is right, KP is a genius… but Monty and Co proved England can beat India at their own game
25/11/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Why Monty bowling on this pitch is 'Satisfaction' guaranteed… but unlike that old rocker Beefy, 'Wild Horses' can't drag me away from the cricket

23/11/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Drop Trott, it's time to wield the axe because India are having England for breakfast
19/11/12

Bumble's diary: Cook doesn't perspire and never changes his gloves, magnificent
18/11/12

Bumble's Test diary: England finally wake up and join the Test series
18/11/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: How the utter madness of England sending in Jimmy left me calling for Sunny and Cher
16/11/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: England have picked the wrong team… but why I'm in a tizz over Chas
15/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

MS Dhoni says Kolkata pitch for third Test will suit seam

Pull the other one, MS… Dhoni says that seam will prosper during third Test in Kolkata

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UPDATED:

13:42 GMT, 4 December 2012

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from England's tour of India due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni kept the mixed messages coming on the state of the pitch for the third Test against England.

Thousands of inconclusive words have been written and spoken over the past week about the conditions to be expected when play at last gets under way on Wednesday with the series level at 1-1.

It is hard to escape the likely conclusion that a slow turner – closer to Ahmedabad, where England lost the first Test, than Mumbai, where they won the second – will be presented at Eden Gardens.

If it was Dhoni's intention to confuse the opposition, however, he could hardly have chosen much more effective language than at his pre-match press conference.

His opposite number Alastair Cook, and England's remaining batsmen, may do best in fact to turn down the volume and just trust the evidence of their own eyes.

Under pressure: Dhoni's side were beaten by 10 wickets in Mumbai

Under pressure: Dhoni's side were beaten by 10 wickets in Mumbai

'The wicket looks good. I don't think there will be much help for the spinners initially,' said Dhoni.

'The fast bowlers get a bit of swing at this time of year, both at start of play and then close to stumps. So I think the role of fast bowlers will be very crucial in this game.'

Dhoni's thesis is that home advantage is a fundamental part of international cricket and one that should be fostered rather than mistrusted because it creates one of his sport's great challenges and fascinations.

'When you come to India you want to play on turning tracks, irrespective of the result,' said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

'We lost the last game, but still we want to play on wickets that suit the sub-continent – what the sub-continental challenge is all about.

'If you're not really doing that then that concept of playing around the world, and facing different challenges, goes down the drain.

'If you come to India, why do you want to play on wickets that are flat for the first three or four days

'And sometimes even five days is not enough to get a result.

'I feel the challenge is to play on tracks that turn, and assist the spinners.'

Spin kings: Swann (right) and Panesar took 19 Indian wickets in Mumbai

Spin kings: Swann (right) and Panesar took 19 Indian wickets in Mumbai

England could perhaps boast – they have been careful not to – that they beat India at their own game on a spinners' pitch in Mumbai last week.

But Dhoni added: 'It doesn't matter if we lose a few games, or if we win the series …

'The crucial thing is that a cricketer who has played five or six years can say 'I went to the sub-continent and the wickets were turning and bouncing and I scored runs or I failed'.

'We should still stick to turning tracks because that's what our strength is.

'That's what home advantage means.

'It doesn't mean that when Australia play in Australia and England play in England they win all the games – but they still stick to the speciality they have.

'It's the same for the sub-continental teams.

'Whatever the result, we'll stick to the kind of wicket that is our speciality.'

To that end, India can be expected – despite Dhoni's initial contention that pace will play a big part – to major on spin again.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh missed net practice because of flu today, and Yuvraj Singh took a blow in the nets.

But the indications from the home camp were that both should be fit for selection.

England spinners can deliver victory against India, says Alastair Cook

England's spin cycle can dumbfound India once again, says Cook ahead of third Test

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UPDATED:

11:14 GMT, 4 December 2012

Alastair Cook has welcomed the prospect of another turning pitch as England seek to take an unexpected 2-1 lead over India in Kolkata.

The tourists won the second Test in Mumbai after Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann claimed 19 wickets between them on a Wankhede Stadium surface that had supposedly been tailor-made for India's three-spin attack.

India's captain MS Dhoni has repeated his demands ahead of tomorrow's game for a pitch that turns from the start – a stance that has turned Eden Gardens's straight-talking curator Prabir Mukherjee into a headline act over the past few days.

Captain's job: Cook is hoping England can take a series lead in Kolkata

Captain's job: Cook is hoping England can take a series lead in Kolkata

But England's experience in Mumbai was a reminder that turning pitches bring their own attack into the game more than the kind of slow, low surface they encountered during their nine-wicket defeat in the first Test at Ahmedabad.

'As I said in Mumbai, it gave us a great chance of winning as it was a result wicket,' said Cook. 'If you go in on real flat ones it can be very hard to get a result.

'Mumbai proved that a turning wicket gives both sides a chance. I'm not quite sure how this wicket will play. I don't think it will have the bounce Mumbai had – it hasn't got that red clay – but all the reports say that, especially after day three, it will turn. So that brings both our excellent spinners into the game.'

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from England's tour of India due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

If the talk post-Ahmedabad was of a 4-0
revenge whitewash for India after they were humiliated in England in
2011, the mood changed completely after the Mumbai Test.

Cook admitted: 'It's given us a lot of confidence, certainly, and a belief that what we're doing is the right stuff. But that doesn’t mean it'll count for anything when it comes to this game. Hopefully, this week we can continue that improvement.’

The England captain refused to be drawn, as ever, on the make-up of the England team, but it would be a major surprise now if Steven Finn does not play his first Test of the series following his recovery from a thigh injury in place of vice-captain Stuart Broad.

'It’s great that Finn is back fully fit,’ said Cook. 'It's disappointing that he’s missed two games, and we have some tough selection meetings ahead of us.

'He's got a little bit more pace than the other guys. And he's bowled well in the subcontinent, especially in the one-dayers.'

On the team sheet Swann's in, but will Broad miss out

On the team sheet Swann's in, but will Broad miss out

Asked about Broad, whose figures in this series have been a below-par 36-2-157-0, Cook said: 'They've been tough wickets for seamers, and he’s been slightly unlucky in that he hasn’t been fully fit with some illnesses. He’s had a tough couple of games.

'But I saw a stat that he was the leading seamer wicket-taker in the world this year. It’s been a tough couple of games but I’m very glad he’s English.’

In fact, Broad’s haul of 40 Test wickets in 2012, at an average of 31, is now three behind South Africa’s Vernon Philander. But England are aware they will be making a big call by dropping their vice-captain and new-ball stalwart for the first time in four years.

England embroiled in row over "doctored" wicket after groundsman speaks out

England embroiled in row over 'doctored' wicket after groundsman speaks out

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 1 December 2012

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from England's tour of India due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India
(BCCI) and international news organisations. The BCCI has refused access
to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action
Images and other Indian photographic agencies. MailOnline consider this
action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to
boycott BCCI imagery.

The build-up to the third
Test in Kolkata has been overshadowed by an extraordinary row which saw
the Eden Gardens groundsman step down after branding India captain
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's request for a pitch which turns from day one as
'immoral'.

The 'Eden Pitch War' has dominated
the news in this cricket-obsessed country. It started when Dhoni, out to
avenge a 4-0 whitewash in England last year, asked for 'rank turners'
after India's nine-wicket win in the first Test at Ahmedabad.

Although that backfired in Mumbai,
where England spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar took 19 wickets
between them to propel their side to a memorable win, Dhoni repeated the
request for a turning wicket here.

Controversial: The Eden Gardens ground where the next test will take place

Controversial: The Eden Gardens ground where the next test will take place

That led to the Board of Control for Cricket in India putting intense pressure on Prabir Mukherjee, the 83-year-old groundsman, to cede to their captain's demands.

They included flying in their own groundsman – East Zone's Ashish Bhowmick – last Wednesday, four days after Daljit Singh, the chairman of the BCCI's pitches committee, had inspected the track.

Mukherjee asked for a month's leave citing health reasons sparked by the strain of the situation.

He was later persuaded to backtrack after talks with Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of the Cricket Association of Bengal. But not before he had fired an embarrassing broadside at Dhoni and the BCCI.

Mukherjee, curator at Eden Gardens since 1985, said: 'I'm not in a position to accept this. It's illogical and immoral to tamper with the pitch as per the request of the captain. I've never done it in my life and I'm not about to do it now. They're trying to take advantage of people and I don't want to be hanged if anything goes wrong.

Asking too much: India captain MS Dhoni

Asking too much: India captain MS Dhoni

'Dhoni is asking for a square-turner from the first day. This is immoral. The BCCI have taken money for a five-day Test. But Dhoni is asking for a square-turner where the match will end in three days. You are robbing people of two days' play.

'If the India captain says he wants the moon, do you give it to him'

Mukherjee and Dhoni have a history, with the India captain branding the wicket he prepared for last year's one-day match against England 'ugly' despite winning.

While these events, which laid bare the BCCI's attempts to bully an elderly man, are embarrassing for Dhoni, coach Duncan Fletcher and the board, matters are made worse by Mukherjee's personal circumstances.

His wife and daughter died within six days of each other in May and his dedication was such that he did not take a day off.

Having won his battle with the BCCI, Mukherjee returned to Eden Gardens, with groundstaff claiming the pitch would only turn later in the match.

India v England second Test analysis – The Top Spin, Lawrence Booth

Home is not so comforting after all as Dhoni's plan backfires

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UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 27 November 2012

England v India – pictures

We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

One of England’s most famous wins must also rank as one of India’s most wretched defeats. This series, if local TV is to be believed, was all about revenge – not just for fact of the 4-0 loss in 2011, but for the manner of it, played out in what many Indians have convinced themselves were conditions tailored for an English triumph.

And so India, egged on by MS Dhoni, decided two could play at that game. They denied England any meaningful practice against spin during the three warm-up games – a tactic akin to county sides picking four slow bowlers at home against India – and chose three frontline tweakers for the first time in a Test since the visit of Australia in 2003-04.

Dhoni even expressed dissatisfaction with the pitch at Ahmedabad, despite it being precisely the kind of surface on which England have traditionally struggled: slow, ankle-low, flat as a roti.

Back to the drawing board: Dhoni's plan to spin England out backfired spectacularly

Back to the drawing board: Dhoni's plan to spin England out backfired spectacularly

More from Lawrence Booth…

The Top Spin: Spooked England were beaten in their minds in Ahmedabad
20/11/12

The Top Spin: India preparations leave England in a spin, but for Cook's charges the warm-up has barely begun
13/11/12

The Top Spin: Why India are clinging to faith in England's ineptitude against spin
06/11/12

The Top Spin: England's batsmen show they are still struggling to get to grips with spin
24/09/12

The Top Spin: England voyage into the unknown on a wing and a prayer
18/09/12

The Top Spin: Bears, Twitter and textgate… a review of the summer that was
10/09/12

The Top Spin: KP's England future is more dependent on his attitude than he may realise
03/09/12

The Top Spin: Strauss's future uncertain after mid-table mediocrity takes hold at precisely the wrong moment
21/08/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Had he really wanted to rub English noses in it, he would have demanded three more pitches just like that one. Instead, eyes lit up in the first over of the Test, when Jimmy Anderson – as well as removing Gautam Gambhir – had Matt Prior taking the ball above his shoulder.

Bounce: it’s the one ingredient designed to bring England into a Test match in Asia, because it encourages both strokeplay and attacking spin bowlers. India, it turns out, have only one: Pragyan Ojha. England, miracle of miracles, have two.

In the post-match press conference Dhoni stuck manfully to his line about wanting Indian pitches to turn from the first ball, because – he says – this renders the toss less important. Either he’s being genuinely philanthropic or hopelessly disingenuous. Lamentably for India, Plan A backfired. And there was no Plan B.

India can quite obviously still win this series, but it might do their long-term prospects the world of good if they stopped taking refuge in the old chestnut of home advantage.

Let’s rewind for a moment to 2011, the series in which England supposedly knocked them over on a succession of obliging greentops.

Lord’s, the venue for the first Test, is no such thing. It happens to be one of the truest surfaces in the world. India’s problem in that game was the early injury to an unfit Zaheer Khan.

At Trent Bridge, India twice blew match-winning positions, reducing England to 124 for 8 on the first day, then eyeing up a decisive first-innings lead when they reached 267 for 4 themselves. That they lost by 319 runs had little to do with the conditions.

Famous win: England twice came from behind to beat India at Trent Bridge last year

Famous win: England twice came from behind to beat India at Trent Bridge last year

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At Edgbaston, England scored 710 for 7 against an Indian attack containing three seamers. Again, if that really was a seaming track, it was simply the case that India failed to exploit it.

And at The Oval, they lost seven wickets after tea on the final day on a typically flat Kennington pitch and with the game ripe for the saving.

But the narrative that emerged from that series was a convenient one: India had been diddled by home advantage. What hope did they have

At Edgbaston, Gautam Gambhir suggested life would be less congenial for England when they arrived in India. And at Ahmedabad, it most certainly was. Yet England, to their eternal credit, refused to panic, even if Stuart Broad betrayed their tetchiness on Twitter.

Here, though, we come to another twist: England’s win in Mumbai was essentially the work of four men, with a little help from Nick Compton. And all four played out of their skins.

Bowled him: Gautam Gambhir loses his wicket at Edgbaston last year

Bowled him: Gautam Gambhir loses his wicket at Edgbaston last year

To apply the law of averages, you might think Alastair Cook is due a failure at Kolkata after scoring 357 runs at 119 in the first two Tests, while Kevin Pietersen’s extra-terrestrial innings tend not to occur more than once a series. (This is not a dig, just an observation.)

Equally, it remains unclear who should partner Anderson as the second seamer at Eden Gardens. Will Steven Finn be fit Will Broad be in the right frame of mind Will Tim Bresnan even be considered

Just as the Ahmedabad win glossed over India’s own deficiencies, so Mumbai runs the risk of over-inflating England. The champagne-glass half-full will have tasted sweet last night.

But the glass half-empty tells you that the normally grounded Jonathan Trott looks at sea against spin, Ian Bell will have to start again – assuming he returns in place of Jonny Bairstow – and Samit Patel is yet to make a serious impact.

And that is the beauty of a Test series longer than three matches. This series has time for the subplots to work their magic or do their worst. England can either make history – or repeat it.

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS

No laughing matter

Even in the aftermath of England’s historic win in Mumbai came a sense of the touchiness that has been close to the surface ever since the loss in Ahmedabad. Speaking about England’s constant claims over the past few months about how their batting has improved against spin, Alastair Cook suggested that ‘you guys were probably laughing a little bit’ – as if the media were walking around revelling in the latest collapse.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s no fun writing the same old story time and again. If there was any laughter at the Wankhede, it came from a mixture of pleasure and relief: the best tale is the most unexpected one.

Backs to the wall: Cook felt the media were against England after Ahmedabad

Backs to the wall: Cook felt the media were against England after Ahmedabad

Enough is enough

What has happened to the umpiring in this series At times, the lbw and bat-pad decisions have resembled guesswork. When Aleem Dar turned down Monty Panesar’s appeal for the wicket of Pragyan Ojha, who had gloved him to backward short leg, he almost deserved our sympathy.

While the BCCI’s objection to the DRS looks more absurd by the howler, could it be that umpires who have grown used to officiating with the comfort blanket of technology have subsequently lost their bearings without it With DRS, a mistake does not remain a mistake for long; without it, the pressure is on. The need for the ICC’s other Full Members to drag India into line is more urgent than ever. Don’t hold your breath.

A twisted kind of logic

Why does Kevin Pietersen’s for-the-ages 186 demand an apology from those who suggested England were right to drop him in the summer Answer: it doesn’t. It takes a wilfully bone-headed type of logic to claim that KP has shown England what they have been missing, since he was never dropped for a lack of runs in the first place.

Beer we go: England celebrate their win in Mumbai

Beer we go: England celebrate their win in Mumbai

If that proves a little tricky to grasp, then this should be more straightforward: it was Pietersen himself who retired from one-day international and Twenty20 cricket, Pietersen himself who warned that the Lord’s Test against South Africa could be his last. The one good thing to come from the texting furore was that it brought to a head tensions that had been simmering for months. Now, can we just get on with enjoying the rest of his career

Let’s hear it for Tests

On the same day that England were beating India in Mumbai, South Africa completed a fantastic rearguard in Adelaide, where Test debutant Faf du Plessis batted for 14 minutes short of eight hours to make a mockery of those who claimed the game was already Australia’s. The two matches had as much in common as the batting of Cook and Pietersen – yet both contrasts were a reminder of the endless fascination of Test cricket. We’re lucky to have it.