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Stuart Broad ruled out of Twenty20 series

Heel injury rules Broad out of Twenty20 series with Morgan replacing him as skipper

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UPDATED:

09:38 GMT, 13 December 2012

Stuart Broad has been ruled out of the Twenty20 series against India because of his bruised left heel, which also kept him out of the final Test.

The fast bowler lost form, after first
suffering a heel injury in a tour match in Mumbai last month, and was
not involved in last week's seven-wicket victory at Eden Gardens.

After suffering more discomfort at net
practice, he was sent for a second scan – which showed exactly the same
as the first one he underwent five weeks ago.

Setback: Stuart Broad has been troubled by a heel injury

Setback: Stuart Broad has been troubled by a heel injury

Broad has endured an especially
miserable tour, in which he did not manage to take a wicket in either of
the first two Tests – and was then dropped for the third, in order to
accommodate fit-again seamer Steven Finn.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced he will be replaced as captain by Eoin Morgan,

James Harris has been called into the Twenty20 squad as a result.

England paceman Stuart Broad ruled out of final India Test

Broad ruled out of India Test but England delay decision on Twenty20 series

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UPDATED:

07:51 GMT, 12 December 2012

Stuart Broad has been ruled
out of contention for Thursday's final Test against India because of his
bruised left heel, but have delayed making a decision on his
availabilty for next week's two Twenty20s.

England's Twenty20 captain was highly
unlikely in any case to be selected to play India in Nagpur, when the
tourists will be bidding for a historic 3-1 series win.

Setback: Stuart Broad has been troubled by a heel injury

Setback: Stuart Broad has been troubled by a heel injury

The fast bowler lost form, after first suffering a heel injury in a tour match in Mumbai last month, and was not involved in last week's seven-wicket victory at Eden Gardens.

After suffering more discomfort at net practice yesterday, he was sent for a second scan – which showed exactly the same as the first one he underwent five weeks ago.

Test captain Alastair Cook confirmed the news at his press conference at the VCA Stadium.

'Stuart is out of this Test match,' he said.

'His scan has showed a bruised heel, and we'll assess him over the next day or so to see what happens with the Twenty20.

Focused: England's Monty Panesar

Focused: England's Monty Panesar

'We'll know a bit more when it settles down.'

Broad has endured an especially
miserable tour, in which he did not manage to take a wicket in either of
the first two Tests – and was then dropped for the third, in order to
accommodate fit-again seamer Steven Finn.

'It's the nature of sport, isn't it Some people have good tours, and some people don't,' added Cook.

'Unfortunately, more down to niggles and and illnesses, Broady hasn't quite managed to get into the tour.

'It's frustrating for him, and disappointing for us as a side.

'But we all know the class of Broady, and he'll be back.'

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

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

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UPDATED:

05:04 GMT, 9 December 2012

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

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

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

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

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

PICTURE DISPUTE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alastair Cook praises whole England team after third Test victory over India

Cook aiming for 3-1 series win after seeing England claim second Test by seven wickets

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UPDATED:

07:38 GMT, 9 December 2012

Alastair Cook set his sights on a historic 3-1 series triumph this week in Nagpur after England took less than an hour to wrap up a seven-wicket win on the final morning of the third Test at Eden Gardens.

A 2-1 victory would be epoch-making in its own right, for England have not won a series in India since David Gower’s side did so by the same margin in 1984-85.

But no visiting team has ever won three Tests in India in a series of shorter than five matches. And Cook is acutely aware of the danger of heading to the City of Oranges only to slip up on a banana skin.

All together: Alastair Cook praised England's all round team performance

All together: Alastair Cook praised England's all round team performance

'Without a doubt we will go into
Nagpur aiming to win,’ he said. ‘Clearly, I would take the draw now if
someone offered it. But you can’t go into a game with that mentality.

'We have to go in the same as these
last two games and produce the goods again. We can do something very
special but it takes a lot of hard work to do it over here.’

The turnaround in this series has been one of the stories of a sporting year already overflowing with them.

Hammered in the first Test at
Ahmedabad, England were ridiculed for another dismal display –
especially in the first innings – against spin. But Cook’s
second-innings century there was the first of three for England’s new
captain in what has turned out to be a run-glut to match his performance
in the 2010-11 Ashes.

Making the breakthrough: Graeme Swann took England's first wicket after lunch on Saturday

Making the breakthrough: Graeme Swann took England's first wicket after lunch on Saturday

Of the eight overseas batsmen to have
scored more in a series in India than his 548 (average: 109), only one –
Australia’s Matthew Hayden – played in as few as three Tests. The other
seven played in five or more.

Modestly, Cook preferred to spread
the praise for England’s comeback. ‘It’s been down to a lot of hard
work,’ he said. ‘We have taken what we have been doing in the nets out
in to the middle, and are starting to perform close to our potential.
That’s what has really happened.

'In this game our bowlers have been
outstanding. To restrict them to 300 on that wicket was a great effort
and yesterday, when they were 80-odd for 0, to put in a session like we
did was highly skilled bowling.’

Finishing up: Jimmy Anderson took the final wicket of the India innings early on Sunday morning

Finishing up: Jimmy Anderson took the final wicket of the India innings early on Sunday morning

After months of obfuscation and
denial from the England camp, Cook was finally able to admit – from a
position of strength – that the batsmen had been hampered by their
Achilles heel.

'The first thing,’ he said, ‘was the
realisation of the problem against playing spin. It probably wasn’t as
big as everyone made out, but I think all of us as a batting unit had to
look at our technique against spin and work out a method which suits
each individual player. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re
now starting to get a few results from it.

'We just spoke about batting long
periods of time pretty much. There are not many people in world cricket
who come to India and can dominate bowling the whole day. Kev obviously
did it in Mumbai with a great innings, but that’s not the norm.

'The norm is you have to accumulate
and be prepared to bat the whole day or as long as you can. It has been a
really good tour for that but unfortunately we can’t keep patting
ourselves on the back now. It’s not the time to do it. We’ve got
another challenge very quickly round the corner so we’re going to have
to recover well and go into that test match believing we can win again.’

If they do, Cook will be hailed as a miracle worker. And the troubles of a difficult year will almost be forgotten.

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.

James Anderson praises Alastair Cook"s leadership skills

Anderson praises captain Cook for leading by example with the bat to put England on brink of series win

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UPDATED:

11:21 GMT, 9 December 2012

Relaxing after the win: Jimmy Anderson raises a glass after the win

Relaxing after the win: Jimmy Anderson raises a glass after the win

England paceman James Anderson praised the leadership skills of captain Alastair Cook after leading the side to a seven-wicket win over India in the third Test in Kolkata.

Cook's 190 in the first innings helped set the tourists on their way at Eden Gardens before the bowlers took over to dismiss India for 247 on their second turn at the crease.

That left England with a victory target of 41 runs and, despite a last-minute wobble, Ian Bell and Nick Compton settled nerves to move the team 2-1 ahead in the series with one match to play.

It followed an impressive performance in the second Test in Mumbai last week, and Anderson admits they could not have done it without captain Cook.

'The first Test we saw how it was going to be tough for us,' he told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek.

'We bounced back last week but to come here and put in an equally good performance was something special.

'Cook has been brilliant. The amount of runs he's got in the last three games have been incredible and he's crucial to the team. His first-innings score was a huge factor in us winning the game.

In form: Anderson had a good Test with the ball

In form: Anderson had a good Test with the ball

'He's the sort of guy who likes to lead from the front, lead by example, and he just wants to go out there and show what he can do and hopes everyone follows him. And we're certainly doing that.'

Anderson finished with six wickets in the match, but thinks spinners Graeme Swann (three wickets) and Monty Panesar (five) also deserve credit for the part they played.
'(Swann and Panesar) have been fantastic in the last two games,” said Anderson.

'Monty especially, having not played much international cricket over the last 12 months.
'He's settled back in brilliantly and got us crucial wickets at crucial times, and he's done that throughout the game.

In it together: Anderson says Cook has been a good leader on the tour

In it together: Anderson says Cook has been a good leader on the tour

'With Swanny, we know what we're going to get with him. As in this game, getting the crucial wicket of (Virender) Sehwag which started off that run for us in that session yesterday.'

Anderson is already turning his attention to the fourth Test in Nagpur next week, where England have the chance to secure a 3-1 series win.

But the paceman sounded a note of caution, saying: “We've got a lot of improving to do.

'We're really pleased with the last two wins, but going into the fourth Test we want to win the series outright and put in a really good performance to finish with.

'We really want to focus on the last game and if we can win that and win the series outright we can celebrate after that.'

Duncan Fletcher could pay the price as India search for a scapegoat

Fletcher could pay the price as India search for a scapegoat

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UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 8 December 2012

If England had any doubt whatsoever they had brought Indian cricket to its knees over the course of the past two Tests, they only had to listen to the words of Virender Sehwag after a momentous day’s play at Eden Gardens.

It ended with the home side just 32 runs ahead on 239 for nine, with just the lone tail-end resistance of Ravichandran Ashwin keeping them alive.

Sehwag, one of a number of ageing ‘galacticos’ in the India dressing room, summed up the mood perfectly when he said: ‘It’s disappointing. I hope something can happen but only God can help us now.’

When the opposition are praying for divine intervention, you know you have them exactly where you want them. Acts of God permitting, England will have wrapped up victory early this morning to take a 2-1 lead in the series and open up the mother of all inquests into the state of a cricketing dynasty in decline.

Serious question: Duncan Fletcher's record as India coach is underwhelming

Serious question: Duncan Fletcher's record as India coach is underwhelming

First in the firing line will be Duncan Fletcher, the Zimbabwean who coached England for eight years and who is almost certain to find himself out of a job when his contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India expires in April.

Back-to-back 4-0 whitewashes in England and Australia when he was new to the role were overlooked. Losing a first home series since 2004, or even the threat of such an occurrence, is enough for the BCCI to pull the lever on the guillotine.

Whipping boys: India could lose a home series for the fist time in eight years

Whipping boys: India could lose a home series for the fist time in eight years

That it is England who will tap the executioner on the shoulder will no doubt irk Fletcher, who left his post at the ECB after the twin humiliations of a 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia and an abject World Cup campaign in the Caribbean.

As well as Fletcher, the groundsman at Eden Gardens, 83-year-old Prabir Mukherjee, is also in the BCCI’s crosshairs after they lodged an official complaint to the Cricket Association of Bengal over the pitch.

Never mind the fact the hosts won the toss and had first use of a wicket made for batting, India are looking for scapegoats. Last weekend, Mukherjee branded India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s request for a pitch which turns from day one as ‘immoral’.

Yesterday, it emerged the BCCI have asked the CAB to tell Mukherjee to fall in line in future or face the sack. That, though, did not stop the outspoken octogenarian criticising the most influential man in world cricket, BCCI president N Srinivasan. ‘Let him say whatever he wants to,’ said Mukherjee. ‘I don’t listen to him.’
He might also have done well to advise Srinivasan that India’s problems run far deeper than just the state of a pitch.

England on verge of winning third Test in India

England on verge of victory but Ashwin frustrates tourists as India dig in

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UPDATED:

11:35 GMT, 8 December 2012

England inflicted a telling collapse on India to put themselves on the verge of victory, and an unassailable 2-1 series lead, after day four of the third Test at Eden Gardens.

The tourists took six wickets for 36 runs this afternoon but, with an innings win almost within their grasp in the final session, Ravichandran Ashwin (83 not out) prevented them finishing the job.

Number eight Ashwin even took India into a 32-run credit by stumps on 239 for nine, and forced England to take a second new ball under floodlights, as the contest somehow limped into a final day.

There was no way past Ashwin and Ishant Sharma for more than an hour in a ninth-wicket stand of 38.

Ashwin escaped a stumping chance on 22, and Sharma was dropped by wicketkeeper Matt Prior on nought – both off Monty Panesar.

Then even after Panesar at last got the number 10, toppling over to be bowled, Ashwin stayed to complete his 111-ball 50 with successive fours off Graeme Swann which also ensured England must bat again.

England just did not have the leeway they needed as Ashwin stood firm, in company with last man Pragyan Ojha.

After dominating the first three days thanks to Alastair Cook's batting and James Anderson and Panesar's bowling, the tourists first had to overcome a chastening morning before India's collapse.

England's own last four wickets could muster only 14 on the way to 523 all out and then they were unable to take any of India's before lunch.

But after Graeme Swann kickstarted the hosts' troubles by bowling Virender Sehwag with the first ball of the afternoon, the rest of the frontline batting simply folded.

Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir sowed some doubts in an opening stand of 86 in just 28 overs, during which England had a half-chance to see off each of the openers.

But Sehwag escaped on seven when Swann could not hang on to a low one-handed catch to his left at second slip off Anderson, then Gambhir pushed Panesar off the face of the bat to short-leg, where Ian Bell could not quite react in time.

Ball rolling: Graeme Swann took the first wicket of India's second innings

Ball rolling: Graeme Swann took the first wicket of India's second innings

The most worrying aspect for the tourists was the increasing ease with which Sehwag in particular was playing their spinners.

But they need not have been concerned because Swann produced the perfect off-break to draw the drive, beat the bat and hit the outside of off-stump straight after the break.

Gambhir had accepted the blame in the first innings for Sehwag's run-out, and perhaps will need to do likewise for his part in a faulty single which saw off Cheteshwar Pujara thanks to Bell's direct hit from midwicket.

Transient controversy followed when Gambhir escaped on 36, umpire Rod Tucker apparently initially satisfied he had edged to slip but unsure whether the ball had carried to a diving Jonathan Trott.

It had, but third umpire Vineet Kulkarni also seemed to convey the fact Gambhir had not got bat on ball after all.

The right decision had been reached via a grey area in the established process for series not involving DRS.

But the fact that Gambhir followed some reverse-swing from Finn (three for 37) to edge behind just four runs later relegated the discussion, and it was less relevant still when Sachin Tendulkar was next out, edging a Swann arm ball to slip.

Flying Finn: England's bowlers all chipped in to dismantle India

Flying Finn: England's bowlers all chipped in to dismantle India

Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli's attempt to stop the rot did not last long before the left-hander was bowled by one from Anderson that snaked in from round the wicket and kept low, and India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni edged the same bowler low to his opposite number Cook at slip.

Kohli edged behind flailing at some more outswing from Finn after tea, and it seemed certain England were on the home straight – until Ashwin got set.

England had arrived this morning in the hope of maximising the pressure and an hour's profitable batting would have been their first wish.

Instead, their innings was finished in under five overs.

Prior and Swann could add only a single between them to their existing seventh-wicket stand of 56.

Prior drove the first ball of the day for a single, only for Swann to then immediately become Ojha's fourth victim – edging another attempted drive to slip.

Tail end: Monty Panesar took the final wicket of the day

Tail end: Monty Panesar took the final wicket of the day

Then Prior went to cut Zaheer Khan at the other end and edged behind – England's second departure in the space of seven balls.

Finn and Anderson managed a boundary each but the introduction of Ashwin for Ojha (four for 142) brought two wickets in two balls to conclude the innings.

Ashwin had previously conceded 183 runs for his one success but, after Anderson edged to slip and Monty Panesar went lbw first ball, despite an apparent inside-edge, the off-spinner had two more at no further cost.

It seemed the mid-match momentum had perhaps switched, all the more so when Sehwag and Gambhir tried to seize the initiative too.

But it was a short-lived illusion.

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.

England"s patience paid off against India – Steven Finn

Patience paid off for England, admits Finn after India collapse in third Test

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UPDATED:

13:07 GMT, 8 December 2012

Steven Finn believes England earned reward for their patience after a stunning afternoon session catapulted them to the brink of victory in the third Test against India.

India collapsed after lunch on the fourth day, losing six for 36, to at one stage leave them staring at the prospect of an innings defeat.

The hosts had been 86 for none at lunch but they folded after Graeme Swann bowled Virender Sehwag with the first ball after the break.

Main man: Steven Finn helped England move towards victory in the third Test

Main man: Steven Finn helped England move towards victory in the third Test

A determined unbeaten 83 from Ravichandran Ashwin slowed England's progress, however, the tourists will begin the final day tomorrow expectant of leaving Eden Gardens 2-1 ahead in the four-Test series.

India will resume 32 runs ahead, with just Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha left to defy England's bowlers, who were led by Finn's three for 37 today.

'It was hard for us to get that first wicket but we stuck to our guns and we stuck to the plans we have worked towards in the series and that paid off,' he said.

'At lunch we said that we needed to up it a bit. We needed to focus on how we wanted to get the batsmen out.

'We got lucky with the run out and we had a very good ball first up after lunch.

'I thought we worked hard.'

Under pressure: Virender Sehwag

Under pressure: Virender Sehwag

Finn grabbed the key wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli before noticeable reverse swing trapped Zaheer Khan in front.

Asked about the late swing he found, Finn said: 'That is something I like doing.

'When you come out here it is something that you have to be able to do.
“It's a good weapon for us to have. It has done it more here than at the other grounds because the wicket is more abrasive.'

Despite India's predicament Sehwag retained hope they could yet claim an unlikely draw.

'We lost six wickets in a session which is disappointing,' he said.

'But we are still fighting. Something could happen tomorrow and we could draw the Test match.'

The right-hander did admit, however, that his fellow batsmen had lacked the application required today, but denied they had been left red-faced by Ashwin's innings late in the day.

'It's not embarrassment. He's part of the team and he's a good player,' he said.

'He has a different style that can work. My style is different.

'If you apply yourself on this wicket I don't think it is too difficult to score runs.'

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 dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara on way to record century in third Test in Kolkata

Pujara left to ponder Cook clanger as ruthless England leave India dazed and confused

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UPDATED:

11:09 GMT, 6 December 2012

It was a day of records for Alastair Cook, but the England captain would doubtless apply a different slant. For him, this was the day his side gave themselves a glorious chance of taking control of a series they were told they had no chance of winning.

The generous interpretation, at least from an Indian point of view, was that England’s 10-wicket win at Mumbai was a one-off. But if that argument felt flaky at the time, it has now been exposed as a total fallacy. Since giving up a potentially soul-destroying first-innings deficit of 330 in Ahmedabad, England have quite simply been the better side.

Their spinners have looked more potent, their seamers – here in Kolkata, at any rate – have found more reverse-swing, and their in-form batsmen have played the more decisive innings.

Record breaker: Alastair Cook (left) hit 136 not out on day two in Kolkata

Record breaker: Alastair Cook (left) hit 136 not out on day two in Kolkata

Cook, of course, belongs to the last group. But he is also in a class of his own.

It was he who showed England they could, in fact, score runs against spinners in Asia with his second-innings 176 in the first Test. And, despite the headlines grabbed by the brilliance of Kevin Pietersen at the Wankhede, it was Cook who quietly helped him ensure a crucial first-innings lead.

Today at Eden Gardens, it was Cook who – with the aid of the diligent and unsung Nick Compton – ground India into the dust.

Ouch: Cheteshwar Pujara dropped Cook at slip when he had scored just 17

Ouch: Cheteshwar Pujara dropped Cook at slip when he had scored just 17

Trailing by only 100 and with nine
wickets in hand, England can now regard tomorrow as a free day’s
batting: there is no time pressure and they will hope to bat only once.
If that sounds familiar, then cast your mind back to Edgbaston in 2011,
when Cook moved to 294 on a remorseless third day and England piled up
710 for 7.

That is a long, long way off. But India’s performance with the ball on the second day confirmed the impression they made with the bat on the first, when the cheap loss of their two centurions in this series – Virender Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara – seemed to leave them dazed and confused.

Worse, they looked listless in the field, flopping over the ball rather than diving, beseeching team-mates to set off in pursuit to the fence, and conceding overthrows. Even the lone wicket they took might have been overturned had the DRS been in use.

Then there was Pujara’s drop at first slip when Cook had 17. This can happen to anyone, and it was by no means a gimme.

But it was hard not think of Durham wicketkeeper Chris Scott, who missed Brian Lara on 18 in a county match at Edgbaston in 1994. ‘I expect he’ll get a hundred now,’ moaned Scott. Lara finished unbeaten on 501.

Cook has already added 119 runs since Pujara put him down. More of the same tomorrow, and England can think about a 2-1 lead.

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.