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Andy Flower praises England team after India victory

They've done country proud! Flower hails England heroes after victory in India

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UPDATED:

13:08 GMT, 17 December 2012

Andy Flower believes his England side have done the country proud after sealing a rare series victory in India.

Needing just a draw to claim a 2-1 win and their first series success in India for nearly 28 years, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell both struck centuries as England safely negotiated the final day’s play in Nagpur.

Flower took particular satisfaction from the fact his side learnt from their mistakes after losing the first Test, although he warned them against complacency in the future.

Beer we go! Tim Bresnan, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow

Beer we go! Tim Bresnan, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow

'They’ve really done themselves proud here and their country proud,' he told Sky Sports 1.

'To come out here and show that they’ve learnt things is one of the special things about this victory.

'They’ve learnt how to play spin a lot better, obviously not the finished article but they’ve learnt how to play spin a lot better, they’ve learnt how to take 20 wickets in these conditions and they’ve learnt how to be resilient in foreign conditions.

'I think those are all things they can be very proud of.'

A nine-wicket humbling in Ahmedabad led to much derision from the media that England could not play spin in the sub-continent, following on from their 3-0 loss against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.

But Flower was rewarded for his patience with the batsmen as England charged back with victories in Mumbai and Kolkata.

'It's nice for that faith to be repaid,' he added. 'I must say after that first Test loss I was heartened by the way that we played in the second part of the first innings and heartened by the way we played in the second innings.

'I’ve also seen the work, obviously very close hand, that they were doing in training and I was convinced they were better players of spin than they showed in the first bit of that first innings in Ahmedabad – that cost us really dear there.

'We didn't know which way it was going to go but I think they’ve proved they've learnt a lot especially some of the older players.

'That is a testament to some of their humility and their maturity to continue their learning into this phase of their career.'

Captain Alastair Cook savoured a 'very special' series win.

He said: 'It’s a very special day for us, it’s been a special tour. The bowlers have been brilliant and our batters have contributed big runs. Everyone in the squad can be very proud, especially after Ahmedabad and that heavy defeat.'

Opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted India’s batting at times had let them down, but praised James Anderson, named man of the match after taking four for 81 in India’s first innings.

Bowled over: Coach David Saker with Anderson

Bowled over: Coach David Saker with Anderson

'I think we struggled in the batting department but the difference between the two bowling sides was James Anderson,' he said.

'He bowled really well. He was testing the batsman quite often.'

The lifeless pitch in Nagpur attracted some criticism and Dhoni acknowledged it did not suit either side.

'There was not much really for the fast bowlers or the spinners,' he added.

'It was difficult to score runs but if you kept your head down it was difficult to get the batsmen out.'

Anderson, who finished with 12 wickets in the series after mastering reverse swing in the third and fourth Tests, said: 'When we come over here, people think that spinners are going to get all the wickets but we knew that the seamers had a job to do.

'I've bowled better than I have before. Reverse swing has been a key part of us doing well.'

Even after Anderson prevented India taking a first-innings lead, there were some concerns for England at 94 for three before Trott and Bell put on 208.

Trott said: 'We'd lost two pretty quick wickets there, but Ian and myself dug in and complimented each other quite well with the tempo we batted at.'

There was some ill feeling out in the middle late in yesterday's play, not least after Trott chased down a wayward Ravichandran Ashwin no-ball and cracked it for four, but the Warwickshire batsman added: “I enjoy that, it gets me going.

'We’d take all the runs we could at that stage, to get a boundary early on was important so I’ll definitely take it – I’m not giving it back.'

County colleague Bell agreed, saying: 'The way I was batting I would have done the same. I would have taken any run at that time.'

Bell's hundred was his first in Tests this year and salvaged a poor personal tour which started with a dismal golden duck in Ahmedabad before he missed the second Test for the birth of his first child.

He said: 'It's been a tricky tour so it’s nice to finish on a high and nice to contribute today. Up to now I (only) had a run-out so it was nice to get some with the bat as well.'

England batsman Joe Root: I was quite relaxed in the middle

I was quite relaxed in the middle, claims England new boy Root

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UPDATED:

20:43 GMT, 14 December 2012

Joe Root admitted his selection for a
Test debut in one of England's most important games of the year had come
as a surprise after he held India at bay for almost five hours at
Nagpur.

Root, who turns 22 this month, was
only told by captain Alastair Cook that he had replaced Samit Patel at
No 6 – as well as leapfrogged both Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan – the
day before the game.

Relaxed: England's Joe Root (file image)

Relaxed: England's Joe Root (file image)

'It was a little bit of a surprise,' he admitted after making 73 to help England reach 330 in their first innings. 'But I got myself into a good frame of mind once I found out and tried to get my head round it as quickly as I could.'

His selection completed a remarkable rise to prominence for the Sheffield-born batsman, who in his debut season of 2009 was presented with his chestguard – part of a Yorkshire dressing-room tradition – by former England captain Michael Vaughan, who played alongside Root's father Matt at Sheffield Collegiate CC .

Root added: 'I was delighted to get the opportunity, and to score a few runs at the same time was a real good feeling. It would be wrong to say there are no nerves when you're waiting to bat in Test cricket for the first time, but I've got a great team around me who were very encouraging and helpful.

'Once I got in the middle I was quite relaxed.'

Timely response: The 289-minute innings by Joe Root was the eighth longest on debut by an England Test batsman

Timely response: The 289-minute innings by Joe Root was the eighth longest on debut by an England Test batsman

Asked what advice he had been given as he walked out to bat with England struggling at 119 for four – soon to become 139 for five – Root replied: 'More than anything, it was just to keep your foot movements very precise and very quick and just grind it out. The guys who had gone in before said it was tough out there and it was quite a defensive field, so it wasn't fast scoring. It was about getting your bearings and being patient. You just try to adapt to the conditions and the situation.'

Was he disappointed to miss out on a debut hundred

'Thinking about it now, that's what you dream of as a kid going through your career. It just makes you more determined if you get another opportunity to make the most of it.'

England choose Joe Root for final India Test

EXCLUSIVE: England turn to Root as replacement for Patel in final India Test

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UPDATED:

00:42 GMT, 13 December 2012

England are set to spring a surprise for the final Test in India by handing a Test debut to 21-year-old Joe Root.

Root is in line to replace Samit Patel at No 6, ahead of fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow, in Nagpur later today.

Chosen one: Joe Root is set to be named in the England side

Chosen one: Joe Root is set to be named in the England side

Root lost out to Nick Compton in the first Test and was overlooked in favour of Bairstow for the second Test when Ian Bell flew home for the birth of his child.

But his 166 in a warm-up match for the England Performance Programme impressed and it now seems he will be given his chance.

Missing out: Nick Compton was also in the frame to play

Missing out: Nick Compton was also in the frame to play

England need a win or draw to clinch a series victory in India for the first time since 1984-5.

England must beat India and leave them in turmoil: Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain: Don't let India off the hook now – win and leave them in turmoil

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UPDATED:

23:29 GMT, 11 December 2012

There is always the temptation in
cricket to set yourself targets and tick them off. For me it was beating
West Indies, for Michael Vaughan it was winning the Ashes at home and
for Andrew Strauss it was winning the Ashes both home and away.

Now, for Alastair Cook, it is leading
an England team to a series victory in India for the first time in 27
years. The final Test frontier.

It would be, by anyone’s standards, a
fantastic achievement if England win or draw in Nagpur, particularly
after losing all three tosses so far, and for me these back-to-back wins
in Mumbai and Kolkata have surpassed even the last Ashes.

Leading by example: Alastair Cook has been sensational in India as both captain and batsman

Leading by example: Alastair Cook (right) has been sensational in India as both captain and batsman

But I hope England do not get carried
away with what has happened in India. I didn’t like it when they were
talking about becoming one of the best teams ever after they went to No 1
in the world, and I didn’t like it when they were talking of creating
some kind of legacy. It suggested to me they were looking too far down
the line instead of just the next game.

They just need to be the best they can
be, to keep winning as many series as possible. I’m sure that is what
Andy Flower and Alastair Cook will be thinking now because they will
remember that this has been a bad year. They won’t be getting carried
away but they will know that they stand on the verge of something very
special.

England have to be ruthless now. They
cannot soften their focus with the winning post in sight. They were
ruthless when they left Stuart Broad out of the third Test and they must
be prepared to change a winning side again if it feels the right thing
to do.

Will he get the nod Samit Patel faces pressure from Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow

Will he get the nod Samit Patel faces pressure from Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow

For instance, if the pitch does look as if it will be a raging turner they will not need to worry about Samit Patel’s bowling. He simply won’t be doing any with Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar around if it is a surface like Mumbai.

So then they need to decide whether Patel really is the sixth best batsman in England against quality spin on the subcontinent or whether Jonny Bairstow or Eoin Morgan would be a better pick.

And they must be ruthless in the way they play. I will be watching Kevin Pietersen closely. I don’t want Mumbai to be a one-off. I want him to repay the faith England have shown in him with another major contribution.

England cannot be preoccupied with India’s problems and whether or not this is the end of the road for Sachin Tendulkar. If England ease up in any way then, of course, India are capable of winning in Nagpur.

Don’t let them off the hook now, England. Don’t let them escape with a 2-2 draw and be able to say: ‘Well, we didn’t do too badly in the end.’ Make sure you leave India in turmoil when you come home.

For five more days, show them the mental toughness that you require for Test cricket. Then the transformation in this series will be complete.

Ian Bell to ring changes in third Test against India

I'll be ringing the changes, insists returning Bell ahead of third Test against India

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 2 December 2012

Back to business for England at the iconic Eden Gardens on Sunday, with a pitch row still raging and a new dad vowing to put cricket into its proper perspective.

As England enjoyed a few days off in the aftermath of their historic win in Mumbai, India have found themselves caught up in an unseemly squabble over the surface for the third Test which starts here on Wednesday.

Prabir Mukherjee, the octogenarian Eden Gardens groundsman who called MS Dhoni’s demand for a turning pitch ‘immoral’, was enjoying his time in the spotlight, happily waving and chatting to all and sundry, while England quietly practised with the series level and the pressure off them.

Captain's orders: India's MS Dhoni has demanded a pitch to suit his side

Captain's orders: India's MS Dhoni has demanded a pitch to suit his side

The sprightly Mukherjee has vowed to ignore Dhoni and do things his way, but the bad news for England is that the pitch he wants to prepare is more likely to resemble the low, slow turner of Ahmedabad than the bouncy, jagging Mumbai surface that was such to Monty Panesar’s liking.

‘It will be a true pitch — and it will be up to the players to play well on it,’ said a defiant Mukherjee.

One man who will be happy to play on anything provided is Ian Bell, who flew back to Kolkata two days ahead of the England team’s arrival here after missing the second Test in theory to return home for the birth of his first child.

As it turned out, Joseph William Bell was impatient to appear, and his father, having rushed away from the Test in Ahmedabad, had not left India when he was born.

Back: Ian Bell returns to the England squad for the third Test against India

Back: Ian Bell returns to the England squad for the third Test against India

‘I managed to get as far as Mumbai when the baby arrived,’ said Bell, who looks sure to regain his place at the expense of Jonny Bairstow. ‘I would have been there had he been on time but he couldn’t wait! It worked out well, though, in that they came home early so I could spend more time with them.’

Bell had looked distracted in the early weeks of this tour, and the hope now is that his paternity leave will clear his mind and help him improve the poor record in India that, at the moment, is a stain on his international record. His lamentable shot first ball in Ahmedabad summed up his fortunes here.

‘Maybe, sometimes, I’ve tried a bit too hard,’ said Bell. ‘And that shot in Ahmedabad was a sign of me saying, “Right, I’m coming at you”. But after what has happened in the last week or so, my whole attitude has changed.

Raring to go: Steven Finn will be fit for England's next Test against India

Raring to go: Steven Finn will be fit for England's next Test against India

‘Maybe I’ve put a bit too much on myself in the past and beat myself up, but now I just want to go out and trust my ability. I have no regrets about going home — parenthood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It has given me more of a balance and I can enjoy every day I’m with the England team. That’s what I want to do — go out, not worry about things and enjoy my cricket.’

Steven Finn did not bowl at Eden Gardens on Sunday, but England insisted that was more to do with the fact that he delivered 23 hostile overs for the England Performance Squad last week rather than any worries about his fitness.

Finn, who damaged his thigh in England’s first warm-up game, was due to return to action on Monday with the out-of-sorts Stuart Broad, who bowled for 40 minutes on Sunday, sitting out practice.

The odds remain on Finn playing in place of his vice-captain in a second change to England’s winning team.

LIVE: India v England, day four, second Test, Mumbai

LIVE: India v England – the action on day four of the second Test in Mumbai

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UPDATED:

06:46 GMT, 26 November 2012

Stay up to date with all the action on day four of the second Test between England and India with Sportsmail's
unrivalled team. We'll deliver over-by-over coverage as the action
unfolds in Mumbai while our brilliant team of writers update
with their insights from the ground. Tweet your thoughts to: @jamesandrew_ or email [email protected]

India v England: Essentials

India: G Gambhir, V Sehwag, CA Pujara,
SR Tendulkar, V Kohli, Y Singh, MS Dhoni (Captain, wkt), R Ashwin, H Singh, Z Khan, PP Ojha

England: AN Cook (Captain), NRD Compton, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, JM Bairstow, SR Patel, MJ Prior (wkt), SCJ Broad, GP Swann, JM Anderson, MS Panesar

Umpires: A Dar (Pak) and T Hill (NZ)

Match referee: R Mahanama (SL)

India won the toss and elected to bat

First innings: India 327, England 413

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3.45am: Good morning and welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of the fourth day of the second day between India and England in Mumbai.

And if you are an England fan then it promises to be an exciting morning with the chance of victory with a day to spare.

Yesterday, Kevin Pietersen lead the way with the bat and then it was the turn of Monty Panesar to leave India in a spin with the ball, can he do the same this morning

3.50am: Play is due to get underway at 4am (UK time) and Gambhir and Harbhajan will be the men in the middle for India as they try and lead the fightback.34th over: India 127-7 (Gambhir 58, Harbhajan 6)

34th over: India 127-7 (Gambhir 58, Harbhajan 6)

Monty Panesar opens the bowling for England, and Harbhajan makes a statement of intent with the first ball, smashing the ball over mid-on for FOUR. Gambhir then shows his intent with a FOUR from a loosner on the leg side. 10 runs from the first over for India.

35th over: India 128-8 (Gambhir 59, Khan 0)

Graeme Swann is the bowler at the other end. Gambhir works one away off the pads for a single.

WICKET: Harbhajan c Trott b Swann 6

Breakthrough for England in the second over. Swann gets some good bounce on the ball and it comes off the gloves and is a simple catch for Jonathan Trott at slip.

36th over: India 129-8 (Gambhir 60, Khan 0)

Panesar finds his range and after 10 from his first over, India manage just one off the over from Gambhir.

37th over: India 131-8 (Gambhir 61, Khan 1)

Gambhir takes a single off the first ball, in normal circumstances he would try and keep the strike as much as possible, but in this case, every run counts so he has to take the single when they are on offer. Khan gets off the mark with an inside edge.

Spin twins: Swann (right) and Panesar (left) mopped up the final few wickets for England

Spin twins: Swann (right) and Panesar (left) mopped up the final few wickets for England

38th over: India 131-9 (Gambhir 61, Ojah 0)

Panesar gets the chance to bowl at Khan.

WICKET: Khan C Prior b Panesar 1

England's excellent start to the morning continues as Panesar gets in on the act. Khan goes for a slog sweep and miss-times the shot and get a huge top edge and Prior gets himself into position to take a simple catch.

Ojha is the final man out in the middle.Wicket maiden for Monty.

39th over: India 131-9 (Gambhir 61, Ojha 0)

Hugh shout for LBW off Swann's first ball to Ojha, but the ball was probably turning too much. Maiden for Swann.

40th over: India 136-9 (Gambhir 62, Ojah 4)

Gambhir continues to take runs when they are on offer and expose the tail. One off the first ball. Ojha then hits a FOUR as he drills it down the ground. Next ball Ojha gets an inside edge to the ball and Swann takes the catch at slip. But for some reason Umpire Dar does not give it out, a quite bizarre decision.

Last man out: Gautam Gambhir was the final wicket to fall

Last man out: Gautam Gambhir was the final wicket to fall

41st over: India 136-9 (Gambhir 62, Ojah 4)

Swann chips in with another maiden.

42nd over: India 139-9 (Gambhir 64, Ojah 5)

Ojha gets an inside edge off the first ball and takes a single. India then go for two of the penultimate ball and it is nearly a run out, poor running from India, but they do get home.

43rd over: India 140-9 (Gambhir 64, Ojah 6)

Ojha takes a single with a thick outside edge.

44th over: India 142-9 (Gambhir 65, Ojah 6)

Panesar gets one to turn sharply and it goes past Prior for a bye and then Gambhir goes onto his back foot to work one round the corner for one.

44th over: India 142-9 (Gambhir 65, Ojah 6)

WICKET: Gambhir LBW b Swann 65

That is it! Swann takes the final wicket of the innings with an LBW that Tony Hill has no hesitation in raising his finger, despite a hint of bat before it hit the pad. While two wrongs don't make a right, England will feel justice is done after the clear catch was not given a couple of overs ago.

INDIA ALL OUT FOR 142

1st over: England 8-0 (Cook 4 Compton 0)

England need just 57 runs to win the Test. Ravi Ashwin opens the bowling and the first ball goes for four byes. Alastair Cook then tries a cut shot and get an inside edge and sees it away for FOUR.

2nd over: England 13-0 (Cook 4 Compton 5)

Nick Compton looks to be positive from the start and smashes the ball from Ojha down the ground for FOUR, he then takes a single off the next ball.

3rd over: England 21-0 (Cook 4 Compton 13)

Ashwin bowls a full toss to Compton and the England batsman does not miss out as he times the ball perfectly as he drives the ball wide of mid-on for FOUR. Compton seems to be in a hurry, he takes another FOUR with a reverse sweep.

4th over: England 25-0 (Cook 7 Compton 14)

Cook takes a single off the first ball from Ojha. Compton takes a single, these two don't look like they want to hang around for too long, they want to get the job done as quickly as possible. Cook adds a couple more.

Positive play: England batsman Nick Compton scored 30 not out as the tourists won

Positive play: England batsman Nick Compton scored 30 not out as the tourists won

5th over: England 31-0 (Cook 11 Compton 16)

Leg bye off the first ball, and then Cook takes a single off the second ball, these two are rotating the strike well. Cook finds the gap and gets the ball wide of point and take three runs.

6th over: England 38-0 (Cook 11 Compton 22)

Good footwork from Compton as he hits a maximum down the ground for a flat SIX. England have broken the back of this total, they need just 19 more to win.

7th over: England 43-0 (Cook 15 Compton 23)

Harbhajan Singh is on to bowl for India. Cook drives the ball off the pads for three and then Compton drives one to long-on for one. Big shout for LBW for Cook, but it is outside the line.

8th over: England 45-0 (Cook 15 Compton 24)

One bye off the first ball, Compton, who is playing very positively, gets a single.

Professional job: Alastair Cook saw England home to victory

Professional job: Alastair Cook saw England home to victory

9th over: England 50-0 (Cook 18 Compton 26)

Cook tucks one away off Singh for a and they come back for two as England get the target down to single figures. Compton works one away for a single.

10th over: England 58-0 (Cook 18 Compton 30)

Ashwin is back on for India and the first ball is sent to the boundary. Compton gets forward and then rocks back and cuts the ball away, the fast outfield sees it over the rope for FOUR. Four more runs come from a wayward ball that goes away for four byes and THAT IS IT. ENGLAND WIN THE SECOND TEST BY 10 WICKETS

ENGLAND WIN THE SECOND TEST BY 10 WICKETS AND THE SERIES IS LEVEL AT 1-1 WITH TWO TESTS TO PLAY

A very professional days play by England. Panesar and Swann did the job with the ball and then Cook and Compton took no time at all to chase down India's target.

Kevin Pietersen is awarded the man of the match for his 186 in the first innings.

Time to deliver: England and India will play the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai

Time to deliver: England and India will play the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai

Picture Dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the Second Test in Mumbai
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.

Ian Bell misses birth of baby son

Bell misses birth of baby son despite leaving India before end of first Test

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UPDATED:

00:33 GMT, 21 November 2012

Ian Bell’s hopes of rushing home to be present for the arrival of his first child were dashed when his wife Chantal gave birth to a boy without him.

Bell attracted criticism in some quarters for leaving Ahmedabad on Monday — with permission — before the end of England’s first-Test defeat by India after hearing that his wife had gone into labour.

But his decision to bring forward his flight after his active participation in the match had ended proved in vain as Joseph William Bell appeared early.

Missing out: Ian Bell did not make it back to England in time for the birth of his son

Missing out: Ian Bell did not make it back to England in time for the birth of his son

Bell, who had seemed distracted on tour and was out to an awful shot first ball in the first innings of the first Test, will now spend a few days at home with his wife and son before returning for the third Test in Kolkata.

Jonny Bairstow is expected to replace Bell in the team for Friday’s second Test.

England need to show they can play – Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain: The time has come for you to go out and show us you can play

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UPDATED:

23:37 GMT, 19 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.

England’s batsmen have proved themselves fine players with fantastic records over the years and we must not have short memories but enough is enough.

This was not the first time this year that the bulk of them have failed in subcontinental conditions and the time has come in Mumbai on Friday to put that right. You keep saying you are good players of spin. So go out there and show us.

One captain in Alastair Cook led brilliantly by example in Ahmedabad but the other one in MS Dhoni was more tactically astute and England have to stop being so English. The Indian captain bowled spin early and kept his seamers fresh for when there was reverse swing and that’s what Cook has to do in Mumbai.

The toss on Friday will be absolutely crucial.

The England bowlers will be looking
out at the middle saying, ‘Please win it, skip’, because if England are
really going to win two out of three Tests to win this series they have
to bat first.

Entering: Jonathan Bairstow (right) is likely to come in

Entering: Jonathan Bairstow (right) is likely to come in

If I was captain now I would love to have five specialist bowlers in the second Test because Matt Prior is clearly good enough to bat at six. But I would resist the temptation this time because there is so much uncertainty over England’s middle order.

A new batsman will come in for Ian Bell, presumably Jonny Bairstow in the interests of continuity, and I would stick with the others, including Samit Patel ahead of Eoin Morgan.

Monty Panesar has to come in because Patel is no more than a part-time bowler and I would select him ahead of Tim Bresnan.

Both Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson would remain in my side because you have to remember how little there was in the pitch on the first two days in Ahmedabad. There should be a bit more bounce in Mumbai.

Bumble at the Test: England finally wake up and join the Test

Bumble's Test diary: England finally wake up and join the Test series

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UPDATED:

12:34 GMT, 18 November 2012

England have joined the tour. Abysmal in the first innings but they have finally entered the series, and Alastair Cook has been outstanding, while Matt Prior’s knock was fantastic. All we have heard is 'England’s batsmen can’t play spin', but these two have put that to bed. And they can definitely get something out of this game today…

Welcome to the tour: Alastair Cook got England up and running in India

Welcome to the tour: Alastair Cook got England up and running in India

Captain Cook stays cool under pressure

It’s the captain Cook show. He has already batted longer than any other England player in a follow-on situation and has also now made more centuries on the subcontinent (five) than any other Englishman. And it’s no sweat for him. He doesn’t perspire and never changes his gloves. Magnificent.

KP looks out of sorts as England's batsmen struggle

However, the lack of runs from other big names in the top six (Trott, Pietersen and Bell) is a worry. Pietersen looks out of sorts generally, and against left-arm spin in particular. Bell of course flies home now for the birth of his child and Jonny Bairstow should replace him for the second Test

In a spin: Kevin Pietersen has not been at his best in the two innings so far

In a spin: Kevin Pietersen has not been at his best in the two innings so far

England must admit they got it wrong… and turn to Monty

The nailed-on bowling change for Mumbai is Monty Panesar for Tim Bresnan because the pitch will spin and England do not need three seamers. They must admit they picked the wrong side. England should also consider bringing in Steven Finn, but this would be at the expense of Jimmy Anderson or Stuart Broad, so I don’t see it happening, even though the latter has struggled lately.

The time is now: England need to call up Monty Panesar for the second Test

The time is now: England need to call up Monty Panesar for the second Test

Ojha leaves Ashwin in the shade

Monty and Graeme Swann lose nothing in comparison with Ravi Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. Ashwin is supposedly India’s star spinner but he has now gone an eternity without taking a wicket.

Fire alarm broke my sleep pattern

My sleeping patterns are all over the place! After my oversleeping episode on Friday, I was hit by a double whammy last night…the fire alarm went off in the hotel and there was a wedding reception! I need to get my head down…

Steven Finn back in the nets as he builds up to first Test

In like Finn – our fastest bowler is back in the nets and may be fit for first Test

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UPDATED:

02:37 GMT, 10 November 2012

Steven Finn’s hopes of playing in the first Test against India received a boost when he bowled off his full run-up for the first time since injuring his thigh on the opening day of the tour.

England have been talking down the chances of their fastest bowler recovering for the Ahmedabad Test, starting on Thursday. But Finn could yet make a surprise appearance after sending down three overs in the nets.

'It’s a massive boost for us,’ said Tim Bresnan, who took two wickets as Haryana closed on 172 for four as England’s bowlers were stopped by an unforgiving pitch — and a langur monkey.

Water boy: Steven Finn bowled in the nets off a full run up as he builds up his fitness ahead of the first test

Water boy: Steven Finn bowled in the nets off a full run up as he builds up his fitness ahead of the first test

'You throw someone like Steve Finn in there, who is bowling 90mph-plus consistently, and getting bounce and lift. He would probably get in any side in the world at the minute.’

Stuart Broad continues to rest his bruised left heel, while Graeme Swann is expected back in India on Sunday after flying home to be with his unwell baby daughter, Charlotte.

With Jimmy Anderson rested from this four-day practice match, England’s second-string attack toiled on the flattest of surfaces, and were granted light relief only when the monkey held up play for a couple of minutes.
Staking a claim: Bresnan took two wickets to keep in contention

Staking a claim: Bresnan took two wickets to keep in contention

Staking a claim: Bresnan took two wickets to keep in contention

Bresnan alone advanced much of a case
for Test selection, bouncing out Haryana opener Nitin Saini, then
removing Abhimanyu Khod after a smart slip catch by Jonathan Trott.

Meanwhile, Matt Prior rushed from the
field after lunch with a stomach upset, but Alastair Cook’s request to
replace him behind the stumps with Jonny Bairstow was first turned down
by the umpires and match referee. But Prior was relieved of his duties
after the BCCI gave the match referee permission to grant England’s
request – thus averting a diplomatic incident only six days from the
first Test.

Late arrival: Meaker played his first game of the tour

Late arrival: Meaker played his first game of the tour

Earlier, Samit Patel continued his
fine form with the bat to make 66, but his wicket was part of a late
England slide of five for 14, encouraging rookie off-spinner Jayant
Yadav to claim the tourists had looked ‘very uncomfortable against spin’
— despite making 521.

But since England had lost eight wickets to Yadav
and leg-spinner Amit Mishra, and only one – at a cost of 332 runs – to
Haryana’s four seamers, his point may not have been quite as ridiculous
as it sounded.

Controversy: Cook (left) was originally told that Prior (right) could not leave the field

Controversy: Cook (left) was originally told that Prior (right) could not leave the field

OI, I’m the king of the swingers…

Jimmy Anderson has a new rival as our swing bowler — a langur monkey who took to the field in Ahmedabad to ape the King of Swing in his absence and make a cheeky play for his spot in the England attack. Sadly, the jungle VIP’s run-up failed to chimpress the watching England coach Andy Flower. Still, close but no banana…

King of the swingers: The presence of a langur monkey stops play in Ahmedabad

King of the swingers: The presence of a langur monkey stops play in Ahmedabad

King of the swingers: The presence of a langur monkey stops play in Ahmedabad

King of the swingers: The presence of a langur monkey stops play in Ahmedabad
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Monkey business: The animal stole the headlines on an unremarkable day

Monkey business: The animal stole the headlines on an unremarkable day