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

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

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UPDATED:

11:02 GMT, 14 December 2012

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

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

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

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

More to follow…

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

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

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

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

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

India v England: India must improve – David Lloyd

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

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UPDATED:

11:54 GMT, 9 December 2012

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

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

Well beaten: India must improve to please their fans

Well beaten: India must improve to please their fans

PICTURE DISPUTE

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

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

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

Zaheer today, gone tomorrow

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

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

Jimmy back to his best

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

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

Leave Samit alone

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

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

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

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

Get it done in four

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

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

Bailed out

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

Bacary Sagna is PSG target

PSG set sights on Sagna with Arsenal defender still refusing to sign new deal

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UPDATED:

13:29 GMT, 8 December 2012

Paris St German want to offer Arsenal contract rebel Bacary Sagna a way out of the Emirates.

The French right-back does not want to sign the Gunners' offer of a one-year extension to his contract, which runs out in 2014.

PSG will make a 10million bid for the 29-year-old defender in the summer, according to The Sun.

No dice: Bacary Sagna does not want to sign his one-year deal

No dice: Bacary Sagna does not want to sign his one-year deal

Arsene Wenger lambasted the defender in September after he questioned Arsenal's transfer business.

In French publication L'Equipe Sagna questioned the club's decision to sell Robin van Persie and Alex Song, while also bringing his own future into doubt.

'Did I speak to Sagna Yes,' admitted Wenger.

'I believe any player or any employee always has to defend the company he works for. And if he is not completely happy with it then he has to go somewhere else.

'That is basically what I think. That is what I say to everybody.

'You have the freedom to say what you want in life but it is also important you understand what people feel about the club.'

Frustrated: Arsene Wenger is having trouble tying his players down

Frustrated: Arsene Wenger is having trouble tying his players down

England winger Theo Walcott's talks have also broken down after he rejected a 75,000-per-week five-year deal.

The 23-year-old can sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club from January 1 or move to a Premier League side on a free at the end of the season.

India v England third Test – Top Spin at the Test

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

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 7 December 2012

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

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

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

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

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

PICTURE DISPUTE

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

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

…but one record eluded him

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

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

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

More records ahead for Cook

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome relief for Ashwin

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

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

Bell's barren spell goes on

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

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

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

India v England third Test: Alastair Cook allowed one slip-up – Nasser Hussain

Captain fantastic is allowed to make one slip-up

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 7 December 2012

The third day of a Test is about setting things up and England were excellent again at Eden Gardens. Since losing the toss they have barely put a foot wrong.

You know in India that, barring the completely unexpected, you will get five full days, so there really was no rush for England on Friday morning. Runs need to be made in the first innings on the subcontinent, while you wait for the pitch to deteriorate, and that’s what England have done.

If they had made a quick 400 before being bowled out, England would have let India back into the game, so it was important that they managed to bat on into day four, which again they managed to do expertly.

Rare mistake: Cook was run out on day three

Rare mistake: Cook was run out on day three

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.

Virtually everything has gone to plan for England but the running out of Alastair Cook wasn’t exactly in the script. He took evasive action but hadn’t put his bat down; however, I think we can excuse the boy his one mistake. After all the hours Cook has batted, he is allowed to have an aberration.

It was the first time Cook has ever been run out in a first-class match which, of course, led to a lot of comments about how lucky he was not to have played too much cricket with me. It’s certainly a surprising statistic and one that perhaps shows that Cook’s meticulous approach extends to his running too.

It was a shame Cook could not reach a double hundred but he will not be too worried about that after single-handedly turning this series around for England.

What started with his second-innings
hundred in Ahmedabad, in a losing cause, has now extended to the point
where he has been on the field for around 90 per cent of the series. No
wonder his brain was a little scrambled when he jumped out of the way of
that ball.

I am a
massive fan of Jonathan Trott and it was important for him that he too
scored runs. He is the glue at No 3 that England had been looking for
and it was ridiculous that some were saying he might be under pressure.

Back in the runs: Trott fell for 87 runs on day three

Back in the runs: Trott fell for 87 runs on day three

India continued to look sloppy in the field but their spinners, Ravi Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, were a bit better. You could see that they were trying to vary their pace and learn from the success of Monty Panesar.

If two Indian spinners are trying to copy an English one on Indian pitches then that is some compliment to Panesar and England.

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

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

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UPDATED:

13:39 GMT, 6 December 2012

Captain Cook leaves me lost for words

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

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

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

Che Pujara won't revolutionise fielding

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

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

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

Che Guevara

Che Pujara

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

Picture dispute

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fill yer boots, lads

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

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

My verdict on the four greats who Cook has overtaken

Kevin Pietersen

Geoff Boycott

Kevin Pietersen

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

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

Geoffrey Boycott

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

Colin Cowdrey

Wally Hammond

Colin Cowdrey

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

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

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

Wally Hammond

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

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

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

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 1 December 2012

Picture dispute

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asking too much: India captain MS Dhoni

Asking too much: India captain MS Dhoni

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monty Panesar: At last I"m fulfilling my potential

Panesar: At last, I'm showing the 'Inner Monty' (but I'd still like to bat a bit better)

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UPDATED:

23:30 GMT, 1 December 2012

Picture dispute

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

Eleven wickets in Mumbai, including a
glorious double over Sachin Tendulkar, did not merely signify a
successful return to Test cricket for a left-arm spinner seemingly stuck
in the international wilderness.

According to Monty Panesar, the
performance that helped secure only England's second Test win on the
subcontinent in almost three decades was also the culmination of a
two-year search for the 'Inner Monty'.

Left out of the first Test when
conditions in Ahmedabad screamed for his inclusion alongside Graeme
Swann, Panesar might have thought his latest England outing was going to
pan out like most of the others since the first Test of the 2009 Ashes;
thanks for coming, better luck next time.

Cool customer: Monty Panesar has worked on the mental side of his game

Cool customer: Monty Panesar has worked on the mental side of his game

But with an exquisite exhibition of orthodox slow left-arm bowling, the 'Montster' was back.

Now, as the third Test in Kolkata approaches, it is India who are under scrutiny and Panesar revealed that, as much as his journey back into the team was about finding a way forward as a bowler, it was also about finding himself as a person.

'When I was out of the side, that was a period when I needed to reflect,' he said.

'I felt I needed to know which direction to take my game. I wanted to take on the responsibility for my own learning so I invested in myself on and off the pitch by going to people away from the England Cricket Board.

'I did some work with Neil Burns [the former Essex wicketkeeper], who runs a sort of a mentoring organisation, and Dr Ken Jennings, a sports psychologist.

'We worked together on the emotional perspective and the mental side of things, seeing what was important for me as a cricketer. I helped build emotional resilience and mental focus. It's given me more sense of who I am. People were saying I needed to have lots of variations. I felt I needed to go back to my strengths, rather than trying to be a bowler I cannot be.

'When I first came into the international arena I was very shy. I'd defer to coaches, captains and players. I wouldn't speak to the coaches or anyone. Put a ball in my hand and I'd be happy to bowl line and length. Now I have a clearer understanding of who I am, what I can bring to a team.'

Inner Monty: Panesar is pleased with his progress

Inner Monty: Panesar is pleased with his progress

What he brought to England in Mumbai was a way back into the series.

'Coming into the Test I felt under a lot of pressure,' he added. 'I knew I had to be at my best, so my self-belief had to be high. I had to have that mindset where I don't take things for granted but I commit to my processes.

'For instance, when I bowled that ball to Sachin which bowled him, the previous ball was a short ball, so when I was walking back I was thinking: “Get my mind right. How is my breathing” All these things are on the checklist in my mind I was ticking off. It was like I was doing a service on me … an MOT.'

And how he passed it.

He added: 'I know I'm not the world's best batter or fielder, despite all the effort and improvements I've made. I want to play all forms of cricket, to improve in these areas.'

Investec, the specialist bank and asset manager, is the title sponsor of Test match cricket in England. Visit the Investec Cricket Zone at investec.co.uk/cricket for player analysis, stats, Test info and games.

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

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

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UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 27 November 2012

England v India – pictures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from Lawrence Booth…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE TOP SPIN ON TWITTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS

No laughing matter

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

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

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

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

Enough is enough

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

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

A twisted kind of logic

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

Beer we go: England celebrate their win in Mumbai

Beer we go: England celebrate their win in Mumbai

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

Let’s hear it for Tests

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

India v England, Second Test, Day Two report

Cook and KP put on 100 run partnership as England look to take control in second Test

By
David Clough, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

11:05 GMT, 24 November 2012

|

UPDATED:

11:29 GMT, 24 November 2012

Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen's unbroken century partnership put England in a position of great promise on day two of the second Test against India at the Wankhede Stadium.

Cook (87no) and Pietersen (62no) joined forces at a critical point in an intriguing contest, on this spinners' pitch, after England had lost two wickets for as many runs to Pragyan Ojha.

From 68 for two shortly before tea, in reply to 327 all out, they then saw out the day to the tune of 178 without further loss – and England's prospects of battling back here after their nine-wicket defeat in the first Test of four were significantly bolstered.

There was an England all-time record-equalling 22nd Test century on offer as extra motivation for each of the third-wicket pair.

But it was the opportunity to be associated with a famous victory here which had to be the principal guiding force.

England fared well almost throughout, save the setbacks of losing Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott in such quick succession.

After Monty Panesar completed his five-wicket haul, and Graeme Swann finally shifted Cheteshwar Pujara (135), openers Cook and Compton shared an encouraging stand of 66.

Leading the charge: Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook put England in a good position at the end of Day Two (file picture)

Leading the charge: Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook put England in a good position at the end of Day Two (file picture)

PICTURE DISPUTE

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Cook was less crease-bound than in his heroic but vain 176 in Ahmedabad – and after the captain had twice hit Ojha over the top, once for six over long-on, Compton too was emboldened to use his feet against India's three-strong specialist spin attack.

It was only when slow left-armer Ojha returned for his second spell that Compton was undone, caught at slip off a full ball which turned enough to take the edge of his forward-defence.

Then Trott went fatally back, as he has tended to on this tour, and was stone-dead lbw for his second duck in three Test innings in India.

Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh had conditions in their favour.

But Cook and Pietersen answered every question, in their contrasting styles, each needing a little luck as well as plenty of skill as edges were controlled short of slip and the line of the stumps protected when sharp turn often beat the bat.

Pietersen began with a cover-driven four off Harbhajan, and reached his 63-ball 50 with a back-foot stroke in the same direction for his eighth boundary off Ashwin.

Cook's tempo was slower, but his presence equally assured, taking more than twice as many deliveries to reach his half-century but hitting six fours and that six along the way.

Cleaning up: Spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann wrapped up the India innings (file picture)

Cleaning up: Spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann wrapped up the India innings (file picture)

Only when he escaped a sharp chance to Virender Sehwag, on 85, in the last over of the day from Harbhajan did he make a notable mistake.

Panesar and Swann had combined well too this morning, to take India's last four wickets for 61 runs. By the time Swann had Pujara stumped half an hour before lunch, the near immovable India number three had batted for almost 18 hours without being dismissed in the series since first taking guard at the Sardar Patel Stadium last week.

He underpinned a total which had appeared highly unlikely when the hosts stumbled to 119 for five yesterday, and his stand of 111 with Ashwin (68) was a source of particular frustration for England. Ashwin had hardly batted like a number eight, since his arrival at the crease last night.

Finally dismissed: Cheteshwar Pujara was out for 135 off the bowling of Graeme Swann - it was the first time he had lost his wicket in the series. (File picture)

Finally dismissed: Cheteshwar Pujara was out for 135 off the bowling of Graeme Swann – it was the first time he had lost his wicket in the series. (File picture)

But he was deceived by Panesar (five for 129), who followed a series of stock balls with one that hurried on to hit the back pad just on off-stump and win an lbw as Ashwin picked the wrong one to cut.

Harbhajan survived on one when an outside-edge off Panesar flew between wicketkeeper and first slip for four, and clubbed the slow left-armer for a six wide of long-on before Swann (four for 70) ended his fun – lbw walking across his stumps.

England's off-spinner then achieved what no one else had since this series started – getting Pujara up the wicket and missing on the forward-defence as an arm ball slid past the outside edge for Matt Prior to complete a routine stumping.

It was an underwhelming way for the new 'Wall' to fall at last, in an India innings which closed soon afterwards when Swann had Zaheer Khan caught at short-leg – off pad and shirt, on replay evidence, but to England's relief nonetheless.

By close of play, thanks to Cook and Pietersen, the visitors' dressing-room was doubtless an altogether more optimistic place.