Tag Archives: dhoni

Pakistan beat India in Chennai thanks to Nasir Jamshed century

Dhoni heroics not enough as Jamshed ton gives Pakistan lead over India in one-day series

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UPDATED:

14:33 GMT, 30 December 2012

Man-of-the-match: Jamshed

Man-of-the-match: Jamshed

Nasir Jamshed struck an unbeaten century as Pakistan claimed a six-wicket win over India in Chennai to take a 1-0 lead in the one-day series.

The 23-year-old opener hit 101 from 132 balls as Pakistan reached their target of 228 for the loss of four wickets and with 11 balls to spare.

Younis Khan made 58, putting on a third-wicket stand of 112 with Jamshed, while Shoaib Malik contributed an unbeaten 34, sealing victory with a four.

India, playing their first match since the one-day retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, made 228 for six and the 'Little Master' proved a predictably tough act to follow.

The top five scored a combined 18 and only a magnificent 113 not out from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni made their total remotely competitive.
Junaid Khan did most of the damage to the top order and finished with four wickets for 43.

Pakistan's chase got off to the worst possible start though as they lost the wicket of Mohammad Hafeez first ball, Bhuvneshwar Kumar's delivery taking out the off stump as the batsman failed to offer a shot.

Azhar Ali became Kumar's second victim when he had him caught by Rohit Sharma at square leg for just nine as Pakistan reached 21 for two.

Jamshed stood firm throughout a tricky period, though, and, with Younis getting comfortable at the other end, brought up his half-century with a flicked single.

Younis reached his 50 in more spectacular style, hitting Suresh Raina for six.

India finally made a breakthrough when they removed Younis, the dismissal confirmed by the third umpire.

Defiant knock: Dhoni rescued India's innings

Defiant knock: Dhoni rescued India's innings

Ashok Dinda delivered a low full toss and Ashwin took a low catch, replays showing he had got his hands under the ball in the nick of time.

With Younis gone for 58 off 60, Pakistan were 133 for three, but Jamshed remained a consistent presence at the other end.

Misbah-ul-Haq was beaten by a slower delivery from Ishant Sharma for 16, but India were dealt a blow when Virat Kohli appeared to hurt his knee in a fall when his back foot slipped as he came into bowl and he had to limp from the field.

And, with the victory target in sight, Jamshed and Malik guided the visitors home.

Earlier, India had a captain's innings from Dhoni to thank for rescuing them from a desperate position.

Khan ripped through the top order to leave the hosts on 29 for five in the 10th over.

Virender Sehwag (four) misjudged an attempted a push to cover to become Junaid's first victim, bowled between bat and pads.

Fellow opener Gautam Gambhir fared little better as he went for eight in the next over, this time Mohammad Irfan taking out the batsman's middle stump.

Out of nick: Sehwag went for just four

Out of nick: Sehwag went for just four

Junaid took two more scalps in quick succession, deceiving Virat Kohli, bowled off an inside edge, with a fuller-length delivery for nought and then dismissing Yuvraj Singh for two.

The onslaught continued in the 10th over, Rohit Sharma (four) expertly snapped up by Hafeez at third slip, again off the bowling of Junaid.

That brought Dhoni to join Raina in the middle, and the pair steadied the ship with a stand of 73.

Dhoni survived a scare on 17 when he punched a Hafeez delivery straight to Misbah at mid-wicket, but the Pakistan skipper could only palm the straightforward chance over his head.

The pair dug in stubbornly, but with only the second ball of the batting powerplay Raina (43) was removed by Hafeez, bowled off the pads, as Pakistan made another breakthrough.

Dhoni then brought up the 200 with a boundary off Irfan and from the next delivery another four saw him pass 7000 runs in one-day internationals.

Irfan took some late punishment as Dhoni lofted him over cover for six to bring up his century, while at the other end Ashwin finished unbeaten on 31.

England"s ruthless streak turned India series around – Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain: England's new ruthless streak turned series around

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UPDATED:

23:46 GMT, 17 December 2012

The first Test in Ahmedabad may have seen England beaten heavily but the second innings there proved a turning point both in this series and in the future of this team. Without it things could look very different now.

Just look at what had gone on before then. The high of going to No 1 in the Test world last year was followed by a 5-0 one-day thrashing in India, then a 3-0 Test hammering by Pakistan in the UAE followed by a convincing Test series defeat by South Africa last summer and then a very poor performance in spinning conditions in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

All the good vibes about the England cricket team were starting to be questioned.

Ruthless: Stuart Broad was gone from the side after two poor tests

Ruthless: Stuart Broad was gone from the side after two poor tests

More from Nasser Hussain…

Nasser Hussain: We have to bring in DRS for all Test matches
16/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Little Master has no answer to the immaculate Anderson
14/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Careless England fail to punish defensive Dhoni and leave the door ajar
13/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Don't let India off the hook now – win and leave them in turmoil
11/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Do Dhoni, Gambhir, Sachin and India legends still have Test hunger
09/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Captain fantastic is allowed to make one slip-up
07/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Fletch told me 'This lad will be a great…' I just couldn't see it!
06/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Sachin just cannot work paceman out as Anderson gets the better of him again
05/12/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

But when Alastair Cook scored a big hundred in a losing cause in Ahmedabad in that second innings things changed. It was the moment the captain said to his team: ‘Hang on, there are no demons here. The ball is not spinning both ways. If we show some character, application and belief we can do this.’ And since then the transformation has been astonishing.

Everything England have done since then has been right. And their business has been conducted in a quite ruthless manner. There has been no dilly-dallying, no worrying about reputations. This has been anything but a closed shop.

Tim Bresnan has been a very good cricketer for England but as soon as Cook and Andy Flower realised they had made a mistake in not picking Monty Panesar for the first Test the Yorkshireman was gone.

Stuart Broad was England’s vice-captain and one of the leading wicket-takers in world cricket in 2012 but when he had two poor Tests and England knew they had to get a fit-again Steven Finn in the side, Broad was also gone.

Samit Patel had not done too much wrong but once it became clear that his bowling was not going to be required with Panesar in the team England took one look at him and said: ‘He’s not one of our best six batsmen.’

And then they overlooked Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan to make another ruthless, and what turned out to be a thoroughly astute, call in picking Joe Root.

England basically had to nail everything to win this series after going one down and they did it. Look at Kevin Pietersen. He was a frenetic wreck in the first Test and only had a couple of days to come up with a defensive technique against his old nemesis, left-arm spin. What happened He went out and smashed 186 in Mumbai.

Good call: Joe Root was brought in for business and it proved a wise decision

Good call: Joe Root was brought in for business and it proved a wise decision

Consider also that this effectively became a three-match series when you look at how poor the wicket in Nagpur was.

Nobody
was going to get a result on that so England had to win in both Mumbai
and Kolkata, which they did in spectacular fashion. Two players stand
out — Cook and Jimmy Anderson. The way the new captain went about his
work was hugely impressive. He is a run machine. Cook would always start
again after a big innings as if he still had everything to prove.

Tour by numbers

Tour by numbers

He was never out straight after an interval or after drinks, as many were in this series, and he always made sure he kicked on after reaching a hundred.

And Anderson was world-class. The deliveries and spells he produced. The hold he had over Sachin Tendulkar. He led the attack with great energy and gusto, and he was not even as grumpy as he can be. Jimmy set the tone and he enjoyed what he did.

India are not the side they were. If I was putting together a composite side from the two teams I would start by picking the whole England attack. England, for once, had better spinners than India in Indian conditions. The tourists were fitter, both physically and mentally, and hungrier for Test cricket. India would not have been able to take four wickets late in a day, after two sessions without a wicket, as England did on Saturday.

India went one up and just thought they could prepare a turning pitch and England would crumble. They showed too much bravado.

And England made them pay very heavily indeed for that.

Picture dispute: 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.

Jonathan Trott"s sportsmanship has been questioned by Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin

Ashwin's anger: Spinner questions Trott's sportsmanship

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UPDATED:

03:42 GMT, 17 December 2012

Tempers spilled over in Nagpur yesterday when Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin questioned Jonathan Trott’s sportsmanship as England closed in on an historic series win.

Trott had taken advantage of a delivery from slow left-armer Ravindra Jadeja that slipped out of the bowler’s hand and bounced several times away on an adjacent strip.

Anger: Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin (pictured) was angered by Jonathan Trott hitting a ball that slipped out of Ravindra Jadeja's hand for four

Anger: Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin (pictured) was angered by Jonathan Trott hitting a ball that slipped out of Ravindra Jadeja's hand for four

The batsman took a few steps to his left and whacked the ball for four, as he was in his rights to do.

But after tea India were incensed when they thought they had Trott caught behind on 43 — although the Snickometer revealed no edge — and Ashwin later became involved in a heated exchange with the England No 3 after warning him for backing up too far.

‘It was just about the shot with the rolling ball he got away with,’ said Ashwin. ‘When you talk about gamesmanship, we think you should hold yourself to the standards you expect from the opposition.’

India have not forgotten an incident during the first Test at Ahmedabad, when Trott clearly grassed a slip catch which was then referred to the TV umpire — although he made it clear at the time he was unsure whether the ball had bounced.

And India were furious yesterday when Ishant Sharma went up for a caught behind as Trott played an uncharacteristically loose cut shot.

Umpire Kumar Dharmasena correctly ruled not out, which was the cue for uproar, as Sharma and Virat Kohli gave Trott — who appeared to blow them a kiss — the benefit of their advice, and India captain MS Dhoni had to be spoken to by the officials.

Then 10 overs later, Ashwin pulled up in his delivery stride to warn Trott he had strayed too far from his crease. ‘I said I could run him out if he could hit that ball,’ said Ashwin, a reference to the Jadeja incident.

Gamesmanship: Trott (pictured) is 66 not out as England head towards an historic series win

Gamesmanship: Trott (pictured) is 66 not out as England head towards an historic series win

‘He said you might as well run me out. But I said I wouldn’t. We’ve got him out enough times to get him out again.’

England fast bowler Jimmy Anderson last night defended his team-mate, saying: ‘I’d do the same if I was batting.

‘I think I saw Dhoni laughing about it at one stage, so I don’t think that was the catalyst for what happened later. But when you’re in the middle of a crucial Test, things are going to get heated from time to time.

‘There are two teams wanting to win a game of cricket, and the series is on the line. So things inevitably do boil over.’

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 – DAVID LLOYD: Get on with the flipping game, India… You"re 2-1 down, says Bumble

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Get on with the flipping game, India… You're 2-1 down! I was expecting someone to bring you tea and sarnies

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UPDATED:

14:53 GMT, 13 December 2012

AN INDIAN TEA PARTY

These unofficial breaks during play
are taking the absolute mickey. At one stage yesterday, the players took
about 10 minutes for drinks and there was another break when I thought
they were having an Indian tea party. MS Dhoni got a neck rub and I was
half-expecting someone to bring out a brew and some sarnies! Get on with
the flipping game! India are 2-1 down but they seemed to think it was
15 overs an hour maximum. Staggering.

India's Yuvraj Singh rides his motorbike that he recieved for his Man of the Match award with team mate MS Dhoni

Sandwiches

On yer bike, lads: MS Dhoni (driving Yuvraj on a motorbike in 2008, left) and his team have been ambling around on day one like they were at a picnic, rather than playing in a Test match which they must win

A RIGHT OLD FIFTIES THROW-BACK

What a grinder of a day. It was back to the 1950s when everyone scored at two runs an over and everything ended in a draw. The pitch is as dead as a doornail and it's not easy for the players or the spectators. India also set defensive fields and England's score of 199-5 might be worth a lot more than that. Paul Collingwood predicts this game will finish in three days as the pitch is as 'dry as a riverbed'. He might be right.

Bore draws: It's like being back in the Fifties... Ted Dexter (far left) is poised to field the ball on the first day of the final Test at The Oval during India's tour of England

Bore draws: It's like being back in the Fifties… Ted Dexter (far left) is poised to field the ball on the first day of the final Test at The Oval during India's tour of England

IT WAS COOK'S CALL TO ROOT FOR JOE

I believe Alastair Cook was a massive influence behind the selection of Joe Root. Just a reminder that Kevin Pietersen also came back into the team after Cook's intervention. The captain himself made his debut in India at 21, just like Root, and I think Cook thought “I will have the kid”. Graeme Thorpe is a massive fan of Root's and he played splendidly. England obviously want him in the team and he is a significant selection.

NEW BOYS ARE BORN WINNERS

England have had a problem with the No 6 position, basically since Andrew Flintoff retired. Samit Patel will have been terribly disappointed to be left out but he has not done enough. However, what does Root's selection say to Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan The fact England have gone with a debutant when they are 2-1 up is a pretty decisive move. Nick Compton has also been given a new improved contract so they are obviously happy with him too.

Caught out... in dungarees: Tiny-tot Joe Root grew up to make a fine debut at No 6 today

Caught out… in dungarees: Tiny-tot Joe Root grew up to make a fine debut at No 6 today

Eoin Morgan

England's Jonny Bairstow

Overlooked: Root was selected for the final Test ahead of Eoin Morgan (left) and Jonny Bairstow (right)

I TRUST ENGLAND TO KNOW THEIR ONIONS

The other interesting selection was Tim Bresnan ahead of Graham Onions. Having seen the pitch, I would have gone with a wicket-to- wicket seamer like Onions but I can completely understand why the selectors went with Bresnan. He won't let you down and should also strengthen the batting.

CLASSY KP

Kevin Pietersen will always divide opinion but his innings of 73 was an invaluable knock. He showed great discipline and was ultra patient, batting well within himself. And he was unlucky to get out, the ball stopping on him as he looked to attack. England's other attacking batsman, Matt Prior, continues his fine form. He is just a wonderful player, well within himself.

Grounded innings: Kevin Pietersen hit a responsible - and potentially vital 73 - for England today (FILE IMAGE)

Grounded innings: Kevin Pietersen hit a responsible – and potentially vital 73 – for England today (FILE IMAGE)

Picture Dispute

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.

More from David Lloyd…

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: A billion reasons why India must improve… (and leave Samit alone)
09/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: It's a case of 'after you Claude' for captain Cook but England can rely on their attack
07/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Cook and Compo are good neighbours (they have the perfect blend)… but Che Pujara won't revolutionise fielding
06/12/12

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)
05/12/12

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

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

India v England in Nagpur: Hosts hold edge after day one – Lawrence Booth

Lawrence Booth: India claim the edge at stumps after England's old-fashioned progress

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UPDATED:

11:30 GMT, 13 December 2012

The opening day of the Nagpur Test was characterised by caginess and perhaps a little fear.

A combination of India's desperation to avoid a historic series defeat, England's determination not to squander a rare triumph at the toss, and a pitch of stultifying slowness meant the cricket rarely got out of second gear.

It was tempting to label as old-fashioned England's progress to 199 for 5 from 97 overs, especially given the sight of a Yorkshireman – the assured 21-year-old debutant Joe Root – getting his head down with something close to religious fervour.

Good day at the office: Pietersen steadied the England ship in Nagpur

Good day at the office: Pietersen steadied the England ship in Nagpur

In fact, the day was full of the angst that has marked both side's cricket in 2012 – and it finished, appropriately, in an uneasy kind of truce, with India just claiming the edge.

Their policy of selecting only one seamer, Ishant Sharma, would have looked slightly less curious had MS Dhoni won his fourth successive toss.

Forced to take the field for the first time in the series, the Indian captain instead opted for containment, quickly dispensing with all his slips and keeping Alastair Cook quiet with a 7-2 leg-side field for the bowling of Pragyan Ojha.

Sharma's first spell of 6-2-8-2 – which included a needless nibble by Nick Compton and a geometrically ignorant lbw decision against Cook by Kumar Dharmasena – suggested India had got their selection horribly wrong.

And while Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen were advancing to 102 for 2 against a four-pronged spin attack that seemed to rotate while Sharma rested, England appeared to be quietly taking advantage.

In the runs: Trott made 44 for England before he was dismissed

In the runs: Trott made 44 for England before he was dismissed

But India's slow bowlers were giving nothing away – and nor were the fields. If England wanted to make history, Dhoni seemed to be saying, they would have to make all the running too. It turned into an unexpectedly successful ploy.

Trott shouldered arms to the debutant Ravindra Jadeja, whose left-arm spin is a class above poor old Samit Patel's. Ian Bell contrived to pick out short extra cover with a little over 10 minutes to go before tea. And Pietersen, having controlled his urges for well over three hours, went down the track to whip Jadeja to short midwicket.

If there was culpability in all three shots, then they were at least understandable: Chinese water torture can do funny things to the mind. At 139 for 5, England's innings felt more like Ahmedabad than Mumbai or Kolkata.

But Root, who had stylishly collected 10 runs from the 11 balls he faced before tea, came with no baggage and played with a freshman's resolve, while Matt Prior helped him inch the run-rate above two.

Root ran hard between the wickets, stretched well forward to smother the very gentle turn, and even had the nerve to reverse-sweep Ravi Ashwin. Prior was the ideal partner: busy, wise, and with a deft touch against spin.

Together, they have given England hope of a first-innings total which, if the pitch really does break up, could ask serious questions of India's shaky batting line-up. But it was a day that only grudgingly yielded answers.

Picture Dispute

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.

England must teach India much-needed lesson in fourth Test in Nagpur – The Top Spin

Let's all hope England teach India a much-needed lesson in Nagpur

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UPDATED:

11:32 GMT, 11 December 2012

Top Spin

India may yet square the series at Nagpur on a pitch that, it’s safe to say, won’t be produced with the fifth evening in mind. But the best thing for them would be a bit of tough love – and another loss.

I write that not as Englishman keen to witness history – although witnessing history comes right at the top of the sportswriter’s wishlist – but as a cricket lover who does not want to see the game’s superpower turn away from Test cricket.

Victory for India later this week may, in some quarters – BCCI HQ, mainly – be regarded as vindication of the status quo.

MS Dhoni

N Srinivasan

Hubris: The two most powerful men in world cricket – MS Dhoni (left) and BCCI president N Srinivasan (right)

But should they lose (or draw), the excuses will have run dry. If Indian cricket really is interested in more than money, it will finally have to address a malaise which, since the start of the tour of England in 2011, has brought them 10 defeats in 16 Tests, and five wins – all at home, and four of them against West Indies and New Zealand.

This will doubtless enrage those Indian fans who may have noticed that England, until Mumbai and Kolkata, had suffered a pretty disastrous year of their own. But the last two Tests have revealed a resolve that was entirely lacking when India lost 4-0 in both England and Australia. Against all the odds, England have dusted themselves off and had another go.

THE TOP SPIN ON TWITTER

For cricket-related snippets from England’s tour of India, feel free to go to twitter.com/the_topspin

The nature of India’s malaise is a basic one: they could just about swallow their overseas capitulations because they expected to return the favour once they hosted non-Asian guests. And at Ahmedabad, both sides followed the script to the letter.

Then hubris struck. So keen were N Srinivasan and MS Dhoni to demonstrate the inevitable triumph of home conditions – and, by logical extension, to mitigate the whitewashes in England and Australia – that they overplayed their hand: Alastair Cook’s team would be humiliated on turning pitches.

Amid the clamour for revenge, the fact that England, once they had sorted out their selection issues, possessed the better spinners seemed to be forgotten.

While the two most powerful men in the world game have been getting worked up about the Wankhede and Eden Gardens pitches – it seems they reckoned without a single-minded 83-year-old – England got on with the task of addressing their problems against spin.

Captain marvel: Alastair Cook is just one win away from leading England to an historic triumph

Captain marvel: Alastair Cook is just one win away from leading England to an historic triumph

From an English perspective, this year will be remembered for the meltdown in the UAE, the Kevin Pietersen affair, the resignation of Andrew Strauss – and, if they avoid defeat in Nagpur, a stunning turnaround which says plenty for their refusal to take the easy way out and blame alien conditions.

It’s unclear whether India are willing to make the same concession. In a recent interview with Sambit Bal of ESPN Cricinfo that should concern anyone who cares about the future of the global game, Srinivasan concluded an answer about India’s overseas record thus: ‘I don't think we should run down our players by saying we did not do well abroad. Other teams don't do well when they come to India.’

More from Lawrence Booth…

The Top Spin: Kolkata pitch row revelations highlight panic among India's cricket establishment
04/12/12

The Top Spin: Home is not so comforting after all as Dhoni's plan backfires
27/11/12

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

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

He was speaking before the series turned on its axis in Mumbai, but the message was clear – and it is being delivered from the very top of the Indian game: so long as India are prospering at home, both on and off the field, little else matters.

The fragility of the argument has been exposed. But what will India do about it The impression Srinivasan gave to Cricinfo was that, as long as the IPL continued to rake in the cash, the rest would take care of itself.

Pushed on the question of the impact the IPL was having on other countries’ schedules, he replied: ‘It's a free world. People and players make their choices and we can't compel a person.’ True. But you can coerce them with a fistful of dollars.

Even in the aftermath of their defeats in the second and third Tests, India have been in denial. Dhoni used his post-Mumbai press conference to insist on another turner in Eden Gardens (hadn’t he seen what Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann had just done to his batsmen); and, on Sunday, he suggested his bowlers had actually done OK.

Really, MS It’s true that Pragyan Ojha has not let him down, but Ravichandran Ashwin and Zaheer Khan have fallen well short: their combined 15 wickets have cost 52 apiece. The loss of Umesh Yadav after Ahmedabad has turned out to be more serious for India than either side could have imagined.

An Indian win in Nagpur will allow them to paper over the cracks. Defeat, and they may just be forced to look beyond their own cocoon. And for that, the rest of the world would be extremely grateful.

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS

Cheeky: Legendary England opener Geoffrey Boycott had a dig at the state of the roads in Kolkata

Cheeky: Legendary England opener Geoffrey Boycott had a dig at the state of the roads in Kolkata

Boycott’s headline act

Improbably, perhaps, Geoff Boycott’s brand of straight-talking Yorkshireness has always played well in India, and he made the front page in Kolkata last week when he felt moved to comment on the quality of the city’s roads. Invited to open a set of concrete cricket pitches at a local school, Boycott was asked what he would do if, in some wacky parallel universe, he was ever elected to office in the capital city of West Bengal.

‘You’ve got to fix your roads,’ offered Boycs. ‘It takes forever to reach anywhere.’ The look on the local politicians’ faces was said to have been worth the admission fee alone, and transport minister Madan Mitra later claimed: ‘Boycott did not mean that the roads were bad [Yes, he did]. He tried to say that the journey was too long [No he didn’t].’

Perhaps with the A647 from Bradford to Leeds in mind, Mitra added: ‘In his country, it may take him a few minutes to travel from one place to another but the roads are not like that in this country.’ Which was a nice try.

Compton’s heartfelt tribute

On the second evening at Kolkata, Nick Compton gave a long and engaging answer to a question about batting with Alastair Cook. For a moment, it stripped away some of the cynicism that can surround modern sport. In essence, England’s new opener conveyed the awe he felt when he looked up at the Eden Gardens scoreboard and saw the giant homage to Cook’s 7,000 Test runs – reached at a younger age than anyone, including Sachin Tendulkar.

Forgive me if I come across misty-eyed but, in a part of the world where the size of your IPL deal is now up there in terms of importance with the size of your Test average, it was heartening to hear a newcomer to the international game speak with such ingenuousness about a colleague – and, to extrapolate, about his own hopes and dreams.

Best seat in the house: Nick Compton has watched opening partner Cook pile on the runs

Best seat in the house: Nick Compton has watched opening partner Cook pile on the runs

Did I say ‘ugly’

There were touching scenes ahead of the Kolkata Test, when MS Dhoni was seen embracing his bte noire Prabir Mukherjee, the Eden Gardens curator who has stubbornly refused to do what he’s told by the BCCI.

According to Indian newspaper reports, Mukherjee said Dhoni told him: ‘Have I ever disrespected you You are the boss here.’ This was all very well, except that a year earlier Dhoni had branded Eden Gardens an ‘ugly wicket’ after a one-day international against England.

Beggars can’t be choosers

New Zealand have had a miserable Test year since blowing away Zimbabwe at Napier in January. They lost at home to South Africa, when rain limited the damage to 1-0. They lost 2-0 in the West Indies, then 2-0 in India. Sri Lanka then beat them by 10 wickets at Galle. It may be that Ross Taylor, the captain they have just sacked, does indeed lack the leadership qualities of Brendon McCullum, as some close to the story have claimed.

But wasn’t it a strange piece of timing to kick Taylor out after he made 142 and 74 to help New Zealand square the series in Colombo If any team needs to cling on to their world-class performers, it is New Zealand. But Taylor will now miss the tour of South Africa while he wonders whether it’s all worth the hassle.

Thanks for nothing! New Zealand ditched Ross Taylor as captain despite a drawn series in Sri Lanka

Thanks for nothing! New Zealand ditched Ross Taylor as captain despite a drawn series in Sri Lanka

And finally…

A quick plea: next time Shane Warne gives a straight answer to a straight question about a hypothetical return to Test cricket, can we all ignore it Thank you.

LIVE: India v England – day one, third Test, Kolkata

India v England – the action on day one of the third Test in Kolkata as it happened

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UPDATED:

11:23 GMT, 5 December 2012


India v England – essentials

India: Sehwag, Gambhir, Pujara, Tendulkar, Kohli, Yuvraj, Dhoni (c/wk), Ashwin, Zaheer, Sharma, Ojha.

England: Cook (c), Compton, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Patel, Prior (wk), Swann, Anderson, Finn, Panesar.

Umpires: HDPK Dharmasena (SRI) and RJ Tucker (AUS)

Match referee JJ Crowe (NZ)

India won the toss and elected to bat

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3am: Good morning and welcome to Sportsmail's coverage on the first day of the third Test between India and England from Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

What a difference four and a bit days make. The doomsters had written-off the tourists' hopes after the first match in Ahmedabad, only to be forced to swallow humble curry after the 10 wicket victory in Mumbai.

Alastair Cook's side played the Indians at their own game – specifically bowling spin and playing spin better than their opponents. It was a victory to savour.

Will Stuart Broad retain his place in the team after a wicketless series thus far

What will become of Eden Gardens' 83-year-old groundsman Prabhir Mukherjee after being asked to step aside by the BCCI following a frank exchange of opinions with MS Dhoni over the type of pitch to be prepared for the next five days

OK, Mukherjee is back in place. I'm not so sure Broad will be when the teams are announced in a few moments.

One thing is certain, England have the opportunity to end what has been a ragged year on a momentous high if they maintain the momentum from Mumbai.

But history is against them. Pakistan are the last team to beat India in Kolkata – and then by just 46 runs, in 1999.

India have since won five of seven Tests, including innings victories over South Africa and West Indies on their two most recent visits in each of the last two years. Eek.

All the action is on the way in a moment. Good news.

3.05: BREAKING NEWS – India win toss and elect to bat.

3.06: ENGLAND TEAM NEWS – Stuart Broad is dropped for Steven Finn and Ian Bell returns in place of Jonny Bairstow.

3.15: Broad's omission is no surprise. Finn was excellent in the ODIs last year and the vice-captain's form so far on this tour has been below his usual very high standards. Finn's extra pace can certainly give the hosts a big problem.

3.19: There was a collective meltdown yesterday after Shane Warne appeared to chuck his hat into the ring for next year's back-to-back Ashes series.

But Warne has now backed away from claims he wants to come out of retirement.

After waking to headlines this morning declaring he was willing to end his five-year exile from Test cricket and return if asked by skipper and best friend Michael Clarke, former leg-spinner Warne took to Twitter to explain his situation.

'Clarification guys & thankyou for the kind words, but… I was asked “could” I play not “would” I play..yes, I could..didn't say I would!' Warne wrote.

'It was a hypothetical question re if Michael Clarke asked me… Read my quotes 'I'm not asking Michael to ask me' Hope I didn't disappoint !”

'Sorry @MClarke23 if you woke up to calls! See you soon buddy…'

Booo, etc.

3.25: Players are on their way out, cricket is imminent. Super.

Grounds for concern: Eden Gardens has been at the centre of recent controversy

Grounds for concern: Eden Gardens has been at the centre of recent controversy

1st over: India 1-0 (Gambhir 1, Sehwag 0)

Early morning mist engulfing the ground as the match begins at 9am local time. James Anderson begins the attack for England on a track which looks bone dry and full of cracks. Any suggestion this pitch has bounce or will favour seamers (yes, I'm talking to you MS Dhoni) is a complete nonsense. There's a hint of some swing, mind.

2nd over: India 10-0 (Gambhir 9, Sehwag 0)

General consensus is the omission of Broad freshens up the attack for England and gives the vice-captain a break and time to compose his thoughts after what has been a tricky first two Tests. His replacement starts with two real looseners, straying down leg with his first and edged past the slips with his second. Both race to the boundary. There follows a huge shout for caught behind, but the sound heard is the bat hitting pad, not ball on bat.

3rd over: India 14-0 (Gambhir 14, Sehwag 0)

Still some movement in there to keep Jimmy interested, but the early signs are this will be a long day for England, particularly after this ball loses its shine and the morning mist is burned off by the sun. Tidy shot from Gambhir as he leans forward and pushes square for four.

4th over: India 18-0 (Gambhir 14, Sehwag 4)

Two slips, but no gully for Sehwag who moves off the mark with a confident punch wide of Pietersen at point to the boundary for four. I could be wrong, but I'd have the spinners on some time around the drinks break. If not sooner.

5th over: India 18-0 (Gambhir 14, Sehwag 4)

'Pace and bounce', said the much-maligned groundsman Prabir Mukherjee of this Kolkata track. Pace and bloody bounce Not a chance. Anderson's fourth delivery of the over bounces no more than two inches and hobbles through to Matt Prior behind the stumps. Maiden.

6th over: India 21-0 (Gambhir 14, Sehwag 7)

Sehwag dabs through the covers and Samit Patel goes trundling after it, there's another single in there, too. Monty must be looking at this and be contemplating a 35 over day today.

Leading the way: Sehwag has made a decent start in India's first innings

Leading the way: Sehwag has made a decent start in India's first innings

7th over: India 28-0 (Gambhir 14, Sehwag 14)

Anderson's plan is clearly to try and tempt Sehwag into a drive outside off stump. The opener duly obliges with a risky drive which bounces wide of Pietersen at gully and races for four. Monty 's limbering up, looks like he's ready to come on.

8th over: India 33-0 (Gambhir 18, Sehwag 15)

We're 30 minutes into the Test and already England have opted for Spin. India's nemesis from the second match, Monty Panesar, is into the fray. Monty dips one in short, Gambhir rocks back on his heels and punches through cover for four.

9th over: India 38-0 (Gambhir 18, Sehwag 20)

No gully in for Sehwag who duly drives wildly at one and sends the ball flying through that area. Annoyingly, Cook then puts a man in that position. Chasing the ball and all that, a real bug bear of mine. Decent shout for lbw in there, but it seemed to the naked (and DRS-less) eye that it was sliding down leg.

10th over: India 45-0 (Gambhir 24, Sehwag 21)

Shot! Gambhir takes a trot down the track and punches Panesar back over his head and to the long-off boundary for four runs. India moving along nicely here.

WICKET! Virender Sehwag run out (Finn) 23

Shocking running between the wickets hands England a real gimme. Gambhir to blame, turning his back on Sehwag as Patel chased the ball down in the deep, Finn threw in and the opener was well short of his ground.

11th over: India 49-1 (Gambhir 24, Pujara 2)

What a bonus for England, India were cruising up until that point. Still. Pujara is in now. He's been good for a few runs so far in this series, hasn't he.

12th over: India 49-1 (Gambhir 24, Pujara 2)

Zooooom. Panesar far rips through his over to Gambhir. No runs added – the second maiden of the day for England. Chance here for the tourists to apply some pressure.

13th over: India 54-1 (Gambhir 28, Pujara 3)

Nasser's chuntering away in the Sky comms studio in west London. 'There are 14million residents in Kolkata and only a handful in this ground today. Why don't they just let a few in' Not sure regular fee tickets is the way to encourage the locals to shell out for a ticket. But what do I know Credit to Jimmy who's still plugging away, Gambhir seizes on a wide length ball and drives hard through gully for four.

Run out: Finn's excellent throw helped England to make the breakthrough

Run out: Finn's excellent throw helped England to make the breakthrough

14th over: India 54-1 (Gambhir 28, Pujara 3)

'Brilliant Panny, brilliant Panny', is the constant shrill from Prior behind the stumps. Pujara looks happy to dab the spinner away. Not quite the forward press style Duncan Fletcher adores so. And now it is time for drinks. Slurp.

15th over: India 54-1 (Gambhir 28, Pujara 3)

Paul Collingwood has taken to Twitter to reveal his umbrage at Cook's continuing failure at the toss: 'When does Alaister Cook start calling tails! #IndvdEng #road'. I think the England captain will be more distressed at how Colly spells his first name, but that's another issue. Steven Finn is in to replace James Anderson and begins with a maiden.

16th over: India 54-1 (Gambhir 28, Pujara 3)

Another maiden as Panny continues his spell. England building up some pressure here. The saying goes that three consecutive maidens brings a wicket. Complete nonsense, of course, but I'm one of life's dreamers.

17th over: India 58-1 (Gambhir 32, Pujara 3)

Shot! Gambhir shakes his wrists at Finn's delivery which went angling across his body. A risky option as the ball was airborne through the fifth slip area. Credit the batsman there for showing ambition, but England will be pleased all the India batsmen are nibbling at the outside off-stump carrot being dangled.

18th over: India 62-1 (Gambhir 32, Pujara 7)

Excellent over. For lots of reasons. Pujara dazzles witha full-blooded punch back through mid-on/midwicket. Great footwork sets up the drive which races for four. But Monty strikes back – getting one to rip off the track and finds some extra bounce, too. Good stuff.

19th over: India 64-1 (Gambhir 33, Pujara 8)

Just a couple of singles in there. Have I mentioned this is a dead cert to be a day of hard graft for England If not, I will mention it again later. I promise.

20th over: India 70-1 (Gambhir 33, Pujara 14)

Howizaaaaaaaat Monty asks the question, but umpire Dharmasena shakes his head. Looked faster that delivery. Maybe his arm ball Looked to be heading the way of the leg. No dice. There follows a mighty impressive on drive from Pujara which races to the fence for four.

21st over: India 70-1 (Gambhir 33, Pujara 14)

Howizaaaaaaaat Monty asks the question, but umpire Dharmasena shakes his head. Looked faster that delivery. Maybe his arm ball Looked to be heading the way of the leg. No dice. There follows a mighty impressive on drive from Pujara which races to the fence for four.

Grace and style: Gambhir has been in fine nick in the opening session

Grace and style: Gambhir has been in fine nick in the opening session

22nd over: India 80-1 (Gambhir 42, Pujara 15)

Shot! Gambhir's seeing it like a beachball now, his dance down the track and crash through point for four would suggest he's enjoying himself out there at now after the earlier run out debacle. Unlike the bowlers, of course…

23rd over: India 81-1 (Gambhir 43, Pujara 15)

Bowling change: Swanny is ushered into action and begins well. A slip and short leg in place and the ball is worked past the man close in for the only single of the over.

24th over: India 84-1 (Gambhir 45, Pujara 16)

Twenty minutes until the break for lunch and England are hoping they can take another wicket or two before then. They have put in a great deal of hard work on a flat-as-a-pancake pitch without much return. This looks like an excellent toss for the hosts to have won. Three singles from the over and we move on.

25th over: India 88-1 (Gambhir 49, Pujara 16)

Shot! Gambhir nudges down fine leg and the ball fair zips to the fence for four more. Fine shot. England need something here.

WICKET! Cheteshwar Pujara b Panesar 16

Bowled him! Done on length, Pujara steps back and is gated through a tentative push. Huge wicket for England and it's that man again.

In the wickets: Monty made the key breakthrough of India's Pujara late in the first session

In the wickets: Monty made the key breakthrough of India's Pujara late in the first session

26th over: India 88-2 (Gambhir 49, Tendulkar 0)

Ovation for Tendulkar as he comes ambling out. The home fans go wild for Sachin, but forget that, Panesar's done the damage again and his whistling/dance celebration was something to behold. Wicket maiden.

27th over: India 90-2 (Gambhir 50, Tendulkar 1)

Howizaaaat Huge appeal from the massed England ranks, as Prior takes a catch which ricocheted off Bell's shin. The umpires send it upstairs, but the replays show the ball bounced half a yard shy of Bell's leg before hitting him. Slightly embarrassed, we move on as Gambhir reaches his half century and Tendulkar moves off the mark via a respective singles.

28th over: India 90-2 (Gambhir 50, Tendulkar 1)

We're five minutes shy of the lunch break, but I've already eaten the sandwiches my wife lovingly made for me before I came to work. Sometimes I wonder if there is any justice in the world. In more important matters, Monty has just bowled another maiden.

29th over: India 90-2 (Gambhir 50, Tendulkar 1)

Bowling change: Jimmy Anderson is back in for an over before lunch. Looks like we might get the full 30 in before the break, too. Bumble will be pleased. Maiden.

LUNCH: INDIA ARE 90-2

Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth in Kolkata writes: 'Momentum is an over-rated notion in modern sport, but you sensed that England’s best chance of harnessing whatever remained from their win in Mumbai was to make first use of what looks like a flat Eden Gardens track. If they are to win this series, they must do it the hard way: Alastair Cook has now lost three tosses out of three.

'And yet, at lunch on the first day, they are hanging on in there, having been gifted one wicket by the mindless running of Virender Sehwag and burgled another when Cheteshwar Pujara got into a muddle against Monty Panesar’s arm-ball.

'Given that India have passed 600 in each of their last three first innings in Kolkata, Cook would presumably have taken a scoreline of 90 for 2. But, well, losing the toss wasn’t a great start.

'Still, there were two bonuses for England. Steven Finn’s second spell of 4-1-10-0 looked much sharper than his first (3-0-16-0), while Pujara’s first first-innings failure of the series has given the bowlers an unexpected route in to a struggling middle order. But England could do with three more wickets by tea.'

30th over: India 90-2 (Gambhir 50, Tendulkar 1)

Here we go then, Monty to his *bunny Tendulkar. England know they must remain patient in this middle passage. They'll have no help from the pitch, but India's middle order are ripe for the taking. *joke. Maiden.

31st over: India 90-2 (Gambhir 50, Tendulkar 1)

Jimmy's back following the break and he continues round the wicket to the left-hand bat Gambhir. Another maiden as Gambhir shoulder arms the life out of the over.

Little master: Tendulkar has made a tentative start to his first innings

Little master: Tendulkar has made a tentative start to his first innings

32nd over: India 92-2 (Gambhir 51, Tendulkar 2)

If you'd like to share any thoughts on the day's play thus far, you can get in touch via the Twitter and email options above. Ta very much. A couple of singles from Monty's over. Again, nothing coming from the pitch to embolden the England bowler's spirits.

33rd over: India 96-2 (Gambhir 55, Tendulkar 2)

Shot! Oh, the beauty of it. Anderson's full length delivery is swatted away nonchalantly through cover point by Gambhir. A rip-snorter which arrives at the boundary in the blink of an eye.

34th over: India 100-2 (Gambhir 55, Tendulkar 6)

Century up for India – and the cheers are even more raucous as the hosts pass the landmark as the runs come via an edge past the slips from the Little Master.

35th over: India 100-2 (Gambhir 55, Tendulkar 6)

Anderson changes to over the wicket to Gambhir. No dice, another maiden.

36th over: India 100-2 (Gambhir 55, Tendulkar 6)

This
is better from England, crowding a few men round the bat, ramping the
pressure up on Tendulkar. There's a man at short leg, silly point and a
leg slip in. Nothing biting, though. Maiden.

37th over: India 102-2 (Gambhir 56, Tendulkar 7)

Changes
all round: Steven Finn comes in to replaces Anderson and Sachin
Tendulkar has asked for a change of bat. Nasser's convinced that's the
sign of a man out of nick: 'If you're lacking form, the first thing you
do is blame your kit'. Finn bumps a couple up into Tendulkar's ribs,
but the wise old sage is good to the challenge.

38th over: India 103-2 (Gambhir 56, Tendulkar 8)

Tendulkar pushes a single to mid on and, erm, that's a bout it. *drumsfingersondesk

39th over: India 108-2 (Gambhir 60, Tendulkar 9)

The
India pair have been very watchful in these early exchanges, in fact,
barely a stroke has been played. But that's a fine dab from Gambhir, who
allows the ball to come onto his bat and guides the ball square for
four runs.

Full Monty: Panesar has taken two key wickets today

Full Monty: Panesar has taken two key wickets today

40th over: India 109-2 (Gambhir 60, Tendulkar 10)

Zooooooom! Monty screams through his six, Tendulkar takes a single and we move on. Seems Monty is bowling from stumps to stumps, hoping for a mistake from the batsman.

41st over: India 117-2 (Gambhir 60, Tendulkar 18)

Two stunning shots from the Little Master cast-off the shackles which England have been attempting to chain around Tendulkar this morning. A neat clip to fine leg slides under the dive of Monty Panesar and there follows a picture perfect punch low back down the ground on the on side.

WICKET! Gautam Gambhir c Trott b Panesar 60

Monty does the business again! Pitched up, Gambhir tries the cut, but the turn finds the outside edge and Trott makes no mistake at first slip.

42nd over: India 117-3 (Tendulkar 18, Kohli 0)

Bless
ya, Monty! And credit to Trott who had to show quick reflexes to grab
the ball at the second bite after it initially hit him on the arm.
Wicket maiden.

43rd over: India 118-3 (Tendulkar 18, Kohli 0)

Oooohs
and aaaaahs from the England fielders as Finn bumps one in short and
Tendulkar gets himself into a bit of a mess. The ball bounces off his
arm and lands harmlessly next to the track.

44th over: India 120-3 (Tendulkar 19, Kohli 1)

A
couple of singles for each of the batsmen and that takes us up to
drinks. A decent hour for England who have taken one wicket for 30 runs
in the session thus far.

45th over: India 121-3 (Tendulkar 19, Kohli 2)

Anderson's
back and he's obviously been watching the action studiously as this
over offers far more variation than any of his previous. A yorker, an in
ducker and some full stuff. Just the single from it.

46th over: India 121-3 (Tendulkar 19, Kohli 2)

Dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. That's a maiden.

47th over: India 128-3 (Tendulkar 26, Kohli 2)

Oh
my word! Anderson holds his head, looking anguished after Tendulkar's
edge bounces *this far* shy of Swann at second slip. To add insult to
injury, the ball races for four. But England will take heart that the
Little Master is willing to play those kinds of shots. Great over from
Anderson.

Jumping Jimmy: Anderson has chipped in with a vital wicket

Jumping Jimmy: Anderson has chipped in with a vital wicket

48th over: India 132-3 (Tendulkar 26, Kohli 2)

Oh dear. Oh deary me. Prior hangs his head after being nutmegged by a straight delivery from Panesar. Four byes.

WICKET! Virat Kohli c Swann b Anderson 6

Edged behind, Swann pouches. England and in particular, James Anderson, has their just rewards. Great, low take from Swanny at second slip.

49th over: India 136-4 (Tendulkar 26, Singh 0)

This is rapidly becoming an excellent session for England. On a pitch which is offering little to no support, taking two scalps, with half an hour of the afternoon remaining, they are certainly enjoying the better of the action thus far.

50th over: India 138-4 (Tendulkar 28, Singh 0)

Bowling change: Swann is introduced for just his fourth over of the day. Sure he'll bowl plenty more as the day goes on. Two from the over for Tendulkar and we move on.

51st over: India 139-4 (Tendulkar 28, Singh 1)

Huge, huge lbw shout as Singh pads up outside the line. But the ball strikes in line with off stump, that's go to be out. Surely But umpire Rod Tucker shakes his head. Not out. The chaps at Sky tell us that he would have been out had the DRS system been a) available and b) called into play.

52nd over: India 147-4 (Tendulkar 28, Singh 9)

Boom, crash, pow! Singh carves successive strikes through point and via mid-on for a brace of boundaries.

53rd over: India 155-4 (Tendulkar 36, Singh 9)

Credit to Anderson, he's developing some shape on the ball in this spell, going for four an over and taking the key wicket of Kohli. But he's given the treatment there by Tendulkar who crashes successive boundaries to end the over.

54th over: India 158-4 (Tendulkar 38, Singh 9)

Swann continues into his third over of this spell, Tendulkar pushes a couple via long leg as we enter the final final minutes before the tea break

55th over: India 159-4 (Tendulkar 38, Singh 9)

Bowling change: Steven Finn comes in for Anderson who took something of a shellacking at the end of his last over. Just a single from it, a no ball, for overstepping.

56th over: India 167-4 (Tendulkar 46, Singh 9)

Hands on hips, I think they call it a teapot, whatever you want to call it, it means Swann is looking very unimpressed after going for eight in that over. Four go via fine leg, and another four go via third man… a genuine edge. India ending the session on a high after some sticky stuff earlier on.

57th over: India 168-4 (Tendulkar 46, Singh 9)

Penultimate over before tea, Finn goes back to his old tricks and kicks over the stumps with his fourth delivery and there's just a single from the over.

58th over: India 172-4 (Tendulkar 46, Singh 14)

Swann takes the final over before tea, Singh bags a boundary and that's your lot for this session.

TEA: INDIA ARE 172-4

Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth in Kolkata writes: 'That
was a superb session from England’s bowlers – and they deserved better.
It helped that Sachin Tendulkar was fighting a battle against the
ravages of time as well as trying to hold India’s innings together, but
Monty Panesar was remorseless and James Anderson world-class.

'Had
Rod Tucker upheld Anderson’s more-than-plausible shout leg-before shout
when Yuvraj Singh had only one, England would be unquestionably in
control. Instead, the innings feels in the balance, even if Tendulkar’s
travails have limited it to second gear.

'It
was fascinating to watch him at work – fascinating, and slightly
voyeuristic. Here was an all-time great, willed on by an Eden Gardens
crowd that grew as his innings progressed, struggling to come to terms
with his own decline.

'One
back-foot force for four off Steven Finn (which should have been kept
to two by Anderson) had some of the old timing. But otherwise he was
reliant on nicks and nudges behind the wicket. More than anything, he
was kept out there by sheer competitive instinct.

'The
upshot was a sense of control for England. Panesar completed a superb
spell of 21-9-42-2, having persuaded Gautam Gambhir to chop to slip for
60, while Anderson – after removing Virat Kolhi with a smidgen of
away-movement – was in his groove.

'This
game is boiling up nicely. And if Tendulkar is still there at stumps,
we may have witnessed one of the great acts of willpower on a cricket
field.'

59th over: India 182-4 (Tendulkar 56, Singh 14)

As I ponder just how this session is going to pan out, Tendulkar takes the advantage with successive boundaries off the first tow deliveries. His first squirms backwards of square to bring up his half century – cue bedlam at Eden Gardens. Finn disappears off into the deep, scratching his head after that post-tea rude awakening.

60th over: India 189-4 (Tendulkar 56, Singh 21)

With a hop, skip and jump, Yuvraj dances down the pitch and pumps Panesar back down the pitch for SIX big runs. Some statement for the Indians in these early exchanges.

61st over: India 189-4 (Tendulkar 57, Singh 22)

Woah there, Monty! Panesar very nearly makes a complete hash down at third man, finding a wet patch/tiny ice rink under his feet and slips at the vital moment. But he composes himself and manages to pluck the ball out of the air to save a couple of runs.

62nd over: India 189-4 (Tendulkar 57, Singh 22)

Dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. That's a maiden in old money.

63rd over: India 195-4 (Tendulkar 59, Singh 24)

It's a lesson in concentration from Tendulkar who is thinking long and hard over every shot selection. A steely determination which is moving his score slowly but steadily upwards. Four singles from the over.

64th over: India 203-4 (Tendulkar 63, Singh 24)

Two boundaries from Monty's over takes India past the 200 mark – the first a bye which clipped the pad, the second a purposeful tap down the leg side. The hosts have been moving along at 4.4 an over, a fair old lick in the last ten.

65th over: India 204-4 (Tendulkar 63, Singh 25)

'Oh yes, Swanny boy', comes the cry from behind the stumps. Matt Prior's excited after Yuvraj shovels one towards Cook at mid-off, but the ball lands short.

66th over: India 205-4 (Tendulkar 63, Singh 25)

Spinners on at both ends now as England look to take advantage of a pitch which has seen some treatment in this first day. The cracks are there to be exposed, but there's no joy for Monty there. Still, he only concedes the one run.

67th over: India 214-4 (Tendulkar 67, Singh 31)

Yep,
this is an excellent session thus far and profitable partnership for
India. It's worth 79 -helped by two crashing boundaries off Swann's
bowling. England need to put their foot on this, or it could run away
from them in this session.

68th over: India 215-4 (Tendulkar 67, Singh 32)

Better. Monty gives it some flight and dip, Yuvraj and Tendulkar stay back in their crease – just one from the over.

Spin the zone: Swanny has chipped in with a wicket today

Spin the zone: Swanny has chipped in with a wicket today

WICKET! Yuvraj Singh c Cook b Swann 32

Big wicket for England, ending a prosperous partnership. But it was a horrible shot from Yuvraj: a feeble dink to Cook at short extra cover.

69th over: India 215-5 (Tendulkar 67, Dhoni 0)

Huge wicket for England, but it came so close to being two as Dhoni's attempted drive landed *this far* short of Patel's grasp at midwicket. Nervy start from the India captain.

70th over: India 216-5 (Tendulkar 68, Dhoni 0)

Right, no time for England to turn the screw, one more wicket and they're into the tail. There's a great chance they could (could) bowl the Indians out today. Granted, that insight is coming from an England fan. One from the over.

71st over: India 217-5 (Tendulkar 69, Dhoni 0)

Yep, India have gone right back into their shells here. The Barmy Army are in fine voice, too. But England are still a wicket or three away from claiming rights on this being 'their' day.

72nd over: India 217-5 (Tendulkar 69, Dhoni 0)

A series of dots, six in total: Maiden.

73rd over: India 223-5 (Tendulkar 69, Dhoni 6)

'Oh Jimmy, Jimmy', chirp the hardy Barmy Army England fans who have made the trip to the subcontinent. After a few nervy prods and pushes, Dhoni finally finds some cojones as he splashes a back foot drive past to the fence for four.

74th over: India 230-5 (Tendulkar 69, Dhoni 6)

This topsy-turvy session swings back India's way, courtesy of the Little Master who is displaying a dogged determination to score his 52nd Test century. Tendulkar times the life out of a picture-perfect cover-drive. And it's time for some drinks.

WICKET! Sachin Tendulkar c Prior b Anderson 76

Big
moment. Great nut from Anderson, pitching on off stump and moving away
just enough to entice the drive and Tendulkar duly obliged, edging
behind to Prior.

75th over: India 232-6 (Dhoni 7, Ashwin 1)

Great
take, low to his left by Prior. But the joy of taking Tendulkar's
wicket has the gloss taken off it after a howler from Steven Finn wastes
a golden run-out chance. Ashwin and Dhoni were at the same end for a
stage, but Finn fumbled the ball and the moment passed.

76th over: India 236-6 (Dhoni 11, Ashwin 1)

Now,
England can't let that moment detract from what was a great over from
Anderson. They must just not let Dhoni and/or Ashwin score big runs now.
Dhoni adds four with a crunch through point.

77th over: India 236-6 (Dhoni 11, Ashwin 1)

Anderson
continues – a maiden over. Interestingly, Anderson has now dismissed
Tendulkar eight times, equalling Muralitharan's record.

Safe hands: Prior held onto a stunning catch to dismiss Tendulkar

Safe hands: Prior held onto a stunning catch to dismiss Tendulkar

78th over: India 238-6 (Dhoni 12, Ashwin 2)

Will England take the new ball The current one is moving around for Anderson so the general consensus is that they won't take it as soon as possible. India aren't scoring many runs, so I'm inclined to agree. Two runs from Monty's over.

79th over: India 244-6 (Dhoni 12, Ashwin 8)

Credit to the Barmy Army and in particular Billy Cooper, the trumpet player – and that chap who sings falsetto on the Lions Sleeps Tonight. They're doing their best to entertain the masses in the last dregs of the day. Ashwin crunches four past point from the bowling of Anderson.

80th over: India 244-6 (Dhoni 14, Ashwin 8)

Panesar continues – his 32nd over of the day, no less – India snaffle a couple more, but all eyes now on the umpire. Will they take the new ball

81st over: India 249-6 (Dhoni 16, Ashwin 9)

New ball available, but no, England stick with the old cherry which is still doing just about enough. Finn enters the attack – probably to give it a bit of dip before taking the new nut in four or five overs.

82nd over: India 251-6 (Dhoni 16, Ashwin 11)

Oh, how England would love another wicket or two before the close. We've seen it plenty of times before, one more wicket would mean England end the day the more pleased of the two sides.

83rd over: India 254-6 (Dhoni 17, Ashwin 12)

The floodlights are on now as the evening encroaches on Kolkata. Finn keeps it tight, just three singles from the over. I fancy Anderson will be brought back in at the death for a couple of overs with the new ball. Just a hunch, mind.

84th over: India 255-6 (Dhoni 18, Ashwin 12)

Right, last six overs of the day. Who's got that touch of magic dust to cap a fine day for England Swann has a go, but there's nowt doing. Just one from the over.

85th over: India 256-6 (Dhoni 19, Ashwin 12)

Finn has been excellent today, despite not taking any wickets (thus far) and exemplifies that point in this over with a tight, straight line – if a little short. One from the over. Not many left now.

NEW BALL TAKEN

86th over: India 259-6 (Dhoni 20, Ashwin 14)

Swann continues, nowt going on. Time for new ball, surely Give the batsmen something new to think about in the final four overs of the day

87th over: India 264-6 (Dhoni 21, Ashwin 17)

Yes, new cherry is taken and Finn continues his spell with it. Ashwin clips one off his hips ad Patel saves a boundary bout in the deep… but only after 1,798 replays for the TV umpire. Huff.

88th over: India 264-6 (Dhoni 21, Ashwin 17)

India have shut up shop now. Six dot balls, that's a maiden for Panesar.

WICKET! Ravichandran Ashwin b Anderson 21

You beauty! Just what England wanted… and thoroughly deserved. Ashwin plays inside a delivery which lands on middle and off and straightens through the gate.

89th over: India 268-7 (Dhoni 21, Z Khan 0)

Great captaincy from Cook to introduce Jimmy right at the death here, that wicket means today is firmly England's.

90th over: India 273-7 (Dhoni 22, Z Khan 0)

Five men round the bat to the tailender Khan. But there's nowt doing in Panesar – and England's – final over of the day. That is stumps.

STUMPS: INDIA ARE 273-7

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.

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.

Kolkata pitch row revelations highlight panic among India"s cricket establishment – Lawrence Booth

Kolkata pitch row revelations highlight panic among India's cricket establishment

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UPDATED:

14:56 GMT, 4 December 2012

The narrative in Kolkata this past week has centred, rather unexpectedly, on an old man with a fierce sense of pride and a refusal to be cowed by the BCCI. World cricket's administrators must be looking on in awe.

India had hoped the build-up to the third Test would allow them to stand back and chuckle at yet more wailing and gnashing of teeth over England's ineptitude against spin.

But events in Mumbai changed all that, instead shining a light on the Kolkata pitch and the alleged attempts by the Indian board to prevent the troublesome Prabir Mukherjee – long-standing curator at one of world cricket's most evocative venues and a man presumably absent from MS Dhoni's Christmas-card list – from doing his job.

Bowled over: Dhini has been embroiled in a row with the Kolkata groundsman

Bowled over: Dhini has been embroiled in a row with the Kolkata groundsman

More from Lawrence Booth…

The Top Spin: Home is not so comforting after all as Dhoni's plan backfires
27/11/12

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

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

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Bear witness: The priest in The Life of Brian couldn't resist using the word Jehovah

For even if the pitch does assist the
slow bowlers, India must still hope for rather more from Ravichandran
Ashwin, who has taken 3 for 278 since the first innings at Ahmedabad.
With Harbhajan Singh set for the chop, the onus will rest unduly on
Pragyan Ojha.

But just as India will fret about
what may happen if Cheteshwar Pujara fails in their first innings, so
England will be hoping others can take up the slack should Alastair Cook
not reach three figures for the first time in five Tests as captain.

The Top Spin on Twitter

For cricket-related snippets from England's tour of India, go to twitter.com/the_topspin

That may sound harsh on Kevin Pietersen, who was self-evidently magnificent in Mumbai. But his 22 Test hundreds have been scored in 17 different series: he’s more likely to dazzle once than twice.

The rest need to play their part, especially if Steven Finn replaces Stuart Broad, which would mean Swann batting as high as No 8, a position he hasn’t ascended to since Perth two years ago.

And yet while India picked the wrong attack in Mumbai – generously returning the favour after England’s gaffe at Ahmedabad – the English may just have stumbled, partly by accident and partly by design, over their most potent bowling line-up.

If the pitch does their bidding, memories from a painful year will be more easily forgotten.

Ever reliant: Cook has led England from the front, but will need support to win series

Ever reliant: Cook has led England from the front, but will need support to win series

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS

More from Mukherjee

As we have seen, Prabir Mukherjee is plainly no respecter of reputations, and he was at it again yesterday when he was snapped ‘shooing away’ Mike Atherton from the middle of the Eden Gardens pitch.

Athers and Vic Marks – described in one Indian newspaper as ‘a fellow-scribe’ – were hoping for a look at one of the most talked-about strips in recent Test history, but Mukherjee was having none of it.

Ever-ready to provide a quote, and displaying masterful knowledge of his brief, he declared: 'Nobody except the players and match officials are allowed inside the playing arena. He may be an ex-England international, but he’s here as a journalist. He had no business to be there.'

Grounds for concern: Eden Gardens has been at the centre of recent controversy

Grounds for concern: Eden Gardens has been at the centre of recent controversy

One punt too many

Proof that Australia is a more sentimental place than it likes to admit could be found in the treatment of Ricky Ponting in Perth. The standing ovations and Ponting’s own, final, salute to Australian crowds were as you’d expect for an all-time great.

We’ll all miss Ponting in our different ways. But is it callous to wonder whether his selection for the third and final Test against South Africa was a triumph of hope over expectation

Ponting himself had admitted before the Test that his time was up, saying his performances against the South Africans had not reached ‘the level required of a batsman in the Australia team’.

No matter: for a game in which victory would have taken Australia to the top of the Test rankings, there was no suggestion at all that Ponting should miss out. Actually, it’s rather nice that this was the case. But let’s not pretend the Australian selectors made a decision that was anything other than misty-eyed.

Slick Rick: Ponting has finally called time on his Aussie career

Slick Rick: Ponting has finally called time on his Aussie career

Mud sticks

A belated thought about poor Imran Tahir’s monstering by Australia’s batsmen at Adelaide, where his match return of 0 for 260 was the worst in Test history. As the bowler whose record he broke can testify, these stats can scar a man. Khan Mohammad took 0 for 259 in the Jamaica Test of 1957-58, when Garry Sobers hit his then-world record 365*.

But he deserved better than to be known for those figures alone: his 13-Test career as a seamer for Pakistan brought him 54 wickets at under 24 apiece.

Wisden's Steven Lynch remembers meeting Mohammad when he was coaching at Lord’s some years back, and enquiring about the Sobers innings. The reply betrayed a certain weariness: ‘Everyone always asks me about that. They never ask about when I bowled Len Hutton for 0.’ Tahir beware.

Anderson spreads his wings

Sniffy journalists like to accuse professional sportsmen of lacking a hinterland, as if there’s time to write a novel or learn the oboe in between winning Test matches for their country. So hats off to Jimmy Anderson for agreeing to become executive producer of Warriors, a film directed by Barney Douglas – who provides video content for the ECB – about the role cricket is playing among the Maasai tribespeople of Kenya.

The film, which charts the villagers’ hopes of taking part in a tournament in England and examines some of the darker aspects of Maasai life, is due out in 2013. It’s a terrific idea. But it needs your help. To find out more, and to contribute to the fund-raising drive, please visit http://www.indiegogo.com/warriorsfilm

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.