Tag Archives: indian

Rafael Nadal beats David Ferrer 6-0 6-2 in Mexican Open final

Nadal crushes Ferrer to claim Mexican Open title… and he's raring to go for Indian Wells!

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

12:32 GMT, 3 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:44 GMT, 3 March 2013

A dominant Rafa Nadal dismantled fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-0 6-2 on Saturday to win his second Mexican Open title and continue his successful comeback from a long injury lay-off.

Nadal, ranked fifth in the world, needed just over an hour to dispatch top seed Ferrer and was delighted with his form.

'For me, I played almost perfectly,' said Nadal following the match. 'My knee responded well all week.'

King of clay: Rafael Nadal collects his trophy wearing a sombrero in Acapulco

King of clay: Rafael Nadal collects his trophy wearing a sombrero in Acapulco

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Moving on: The Spaniard will play in the Indian Wells Masters tournament next week

Nadal also confirmed he would play in next week's Indian Wells hard-court tournament, despite speculation he might skip the event to spare his knee.

'My heart tells me I should continue competing, that I need to move on to the next tournament,' he added.

Nadal had been sidelined for more than seven months due to a partially torn tendon in his knee. He made his return early last month at the Chilean Open, losing in the final to Argentine Horacio Zeballos. A week later he claimed the Brazil Open title.

Easy: Nadal dropped just two games and was on court for little more than an hour against David Ferrer

Easy: Nadal dropped just two games and was on court for little more than an hour against David Ferrer

Easy: Nadal dropped just two games and was on court for little more than an hour against Ferrer

The former world number one charged out of the blocks and won the first eight games against three-time defending champion Ferrer, who saw his 19-match winning streak at the clay-court event come to an end.

'Rafa was just better than me today,' said Ferrer.

World No 4 Ferrer waited 44 minutes to win his first game of the final, the crowd erupting in applause as he put away a service winner to trail 2-1 in the second set.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Success: Nadal added the Mexican title to his triumph in Brazil and final in Chile since his return from injury

Crushed: Ferrer admitted his compatriot was the better man on the day

Crushed: Ferrer admitted his compatriot was the better man on the day

With Ferrer serving down 3-1, an extended rally in which both players scrambled back and forth from the net ended with a top-spin lob winner by Nadal, bringing the crowd to its feet and the score to 30-30.

Second seed Nadal, the 2005 Mexican Open champion, won the next two points to go up two breaks in the set and virtually put the match away.

The Footballers" Football Column – Rohan Ricketts: Globetrotter how he moved from England to Ecuador via India

ROHAN RICKETTS: Cows in the road and Twitter row meant my Indian adventure ended early… but I went back in time to live the dream in South America

PUBLISHED:

08:20 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:06 GMT, 18 February 2013

Rohan Ricketts

Rohan Ricketts started his football career playing for Arsenal and was part of the hugely successful side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2000 and 2001. But a year later he made the move that only four players before him had and crossed the north London divide to join Tottenham. After 30 appearances for the White Hart Lane club, Ricketts began his football journey playing for Wolves, Coventry, QPR, Barnsley before he opted to move abroad and to join MLS side Toronto FC. Since then he has played in Hungary, Moldova, Germany, Ireland and India. He is now playing in South America, in Ecuador. Before you read his first Footballers' Football Column, watch his video.

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv37260','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_sport&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv37260”,
'videoPlayer' : “2167751012001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/index.html”

});

I’ve often been called a ‘journeyman’ in my football career and in late 2012 I made my biggest journey to date when I signed for Dempo SC in Goa, India. It doesn’t sound like the most obvious move to make but, as they say, football is a funny old game.

Last summer I was really keen to return to the UK, after a stint at Shamrock Rovers in Ireland so I returned to London to see what I could find.

But it is such a tough market and there were so many players looking for a club. There’s a fine balance between holding your nerve and waiting to find a club or signing somewhere to ensure financial security for your family.

Getting to know the locals: Ricketts enjoyed his short spell in India, despite his issues on the pitch

Getting to know the locals: Ricketts enjoyed his short spell in India, despite his issues on the pitch

There were many players who were still looking for a club even after the season started. It’s easy to assume that players are being choosy about which club they sign for and ruling out lower league clubs but for me that wasn’t the case.

I love playing football, it’s what I was born to do. I may have been nearing 30 but I had no plans to give it up just yet.

After much deliberation with my family and friends, I made the decision to sign for Dempo SC. India isn’t really known for its football, I knew it would be different to Europe but the challenge of living in another country and helping them to build up the reputation of football really appealed to me.

I did it before when I signed for Toronto FC in MLS and I found it really rewarding to help educate a new generation about the sport.

First move abroad: Ricketts moved to MLS and joined Toronto

First move abroad: Ricketts moved to MLS and joined Toronto

I was told how serious Dempo SC were about growing football in India and I was excited to join them so I signed until May 2013.

It
certainly was a world away from London. It gets so hot there that we
were doing all our training sessions and practice matches early in the
morning before it got too unbearable.

It was fascinating to live in such a different culture, I was late for training on a couple of occasions due to cows in the road which was certainly something I had not experienced before and was I confronted with severe poverty in certain areas, which was difficult to see.

On the pitch, it was great to taste victory on the first day of the season after such a long break away, but it really was a different game to the one I am used to. It was the tactics that were lacking, rather than the players' skill level, so I was confident we would improve as the team gelled.

Rohan Ricketts

Mobbed: Ricketts helped Shamrock Rovers win the Irish League

Luck of the Irish: Ricketts enjoyed his spell with Shamrock Rovers and helped them win the Irish league

Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to see if that would be the case. I had joined the team under the impression that they wanted me to play as I do and that they wanted to develop a passing style.

However the coach soon made it clear that he was expecting me to adapt to the way they played. It didn’t help that he was trying to play me as a striker rather than an attacking central midfielder.

I had some discussions with him about this in the early days and he did start to play me in the
right position.

Young stars: Rohan Ricketts was part of the Arsenal Youth team that included Steve Sidwell, Moritz Volz, Jermaine Pennant and Jay Bothroyd

Young stars: Rohan Ricketts was part of the Arsenal Youth team that included Steve Sidwell, Moritz Volz, Jermaine Pennant and Jay Bothroyd

Ricketts playing for Spurs

Rohan Ricketts

Crossing the divide: Ricketts moved to Spurs after starting his career in the Arsenal youth team

var NREUMQ=NREUMQ||[];NREUMQ.push([“mark”,”firstbyte”,new Date().getTime()])Server Issue An exception occurred processing JSP page /WEB-INF/jsp/channel-items/standardMod.jsp at line 56

53:
54:
55:
56:
57:
58:
59:

Stacktrace: production 75-build-399

Sorry…

We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties with this section of our site. We are doing everything we can to resolve this as soon as possible.

Other sections of the site are not affected by this. You can continue to navigate through other pages.

Back to Mail Online home
Back to the page you came from

var GOOG_FIXURL_LANG = 'en_GB';
var GOOG_FIXURL_SITE = 'http://www.dailymail.co.uk/';

if (!NREUMQ.f) NREUMQ.f=function() NREUMQ.push([“load”,new Date().getTime()]);var e=document.createElement(“script”);e.type=”text/javascript”;e.src=((“http:”===document.location.protocol)”http:”:”https:”) + “//” + “d1ros97qkrwjf5.cloudfront.net/42/eum/rum.js”;document.body.appendChild(e);if(NREUMQ.a)NREUMQ.a();;NREUMQ.a=window.onload;window.onload=NREUMQ.f;};NREUMQ.push([“nrfj”,”beacon-2.newrelic.com”,”b94e1c1896″,294505,”ZARTYUcDCkJSVRBQDF1Oe2ZlTTN0cRstdyUcC0JFGgEMUF1YAVU8A1EDUVwWAVxAGRdNAl0FUEdRLwtVHVwXSQ==”,0,54,new Date().getTime(),””,””,””,””,””]);

I mentioned everything that was happening on my Twitter account, something the coach was not happy about. When the Indian press asked him about the things I was saying he denied it and said that I had misunderstood.

I knew that I hadn’t, although I do recognise that talking about it in 140 characters on Twitter was perhaps not the best forum. I was just frustrated because I wanted the team to do well.

As a result of my comments I was put on the bench for the next four games, in both the Goa and
I League.

The team did not do as well as we had been doing and it was really hard to sit and watch, but I remained professional and trained hard. It was a big plus to have moral support from a lot of the key members of the squad. This is something that can be rare being a player in a foreign country.

Eventually after keeping my focus and positive spirit, I was re-instated in the starting XI against Salgoacar FC. The game was tough but we ended up winning 2-1, and I scored my first I League goal and then set up the winnner.

After the game the coaches and players were in a good mood and we had gone two points clear at the top of the table. I had hoped that was the turning point for me but unfortunately things didn’t improve with the head coach.

It was a really uncomfortable situation with him and again I spoke out about the difficulties I was having on Twitter. After my first tweets I had spoken with the President of the club, who is a great guy, and he was supportive but obviously I understood that he needed to run the club successfully and for that he needs a united team.

I wasn’t trying to unsettle things with my later tweets but I couldn’t stay silent.

After further discussions with the President it became clear that my position at the club was untenable.

I can’t talk about everything that happened there but suffice to say that I have the utmost respect for the President and my team mates at Dempo SC along with the many fans who I met while I was there. I wish them every success this season.

Fortunately for me, when I knew that I was leaving Dempo, I was able to sign very quickly for a new club – 10 hours back in time at Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador.

Playing in South America has always been a dream of mine so when my agent told me about this opportunity, I jumped at the chance.

A new excuse for being late: Ricketts was later for training due to cows in the road (file picture)

A new excuse for being late: Ricketts was later for training due to cows in the road (file picture)

Fans' favourite: Ricketts is surrounded by fans as he leaves training

Fans' favourite: Ricketts is surrounded by fans as he leaves training

I have been here for a month now and am settling in well. My team-mates have been very welcoming and I have joined in pre-season, which is refreshing after my last couple of moves where I have joined mid-way through and struggled to get to the same fitness level.

We played our first game of the season at the end of January against the Champions and biggest club in Ecuador Barcelona SC. Before the game I could feel the hype surrounding the game and for me it felt like I was involved in a Premier League fixture back home against Manchester United.

Fans all over our city, Quevedo, were stopping me daily to let me know how big the game was for them.

Talk about pressure on your first game.

This pressure was not new to me but I could still feel the anticipation and excitement all around. I'm grateful to be part of such moments. This is no doubt the stuff of dreams for others but for me it is reality.

I knew I was starting in the game a week before, so I did not have the annoying waiting game surrounding team selection.

On the move: Ricketts left India to move to Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador

On the move: Ricketts left India to move to Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador

Once the game day arrived and we got to the stadium and the energy around the ground was almost tangible. Salsa music was playing and the people were chanting an hour ahead of
kick-off.

I just tried to remain cool as I did not want to lose energy. Good thing I did because the game turned out to be a real scrap due to the bad weather which turned the pitch into a mud bath.

I was hoping to get on the ball and play our passing game, but it was not to be for either side.

ROHAN RICKETTS

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @RohanRicketts

It was all about winning the second ball and playing on the counter attack. We adapted really well to the conditions and took the lead early on but the referee seemed to have his own agenda, in the second half when he gave Barcelona as penalty which was never a penalty and then didn't give us a penalty for a blatant handball in their box.

I won't go too much into the incident as I may get myself in trouble, but the game ended 1-1. A good point for us against the champions and a good team performance.

I was relatively pleased with my performance but I know the conditions limited my chances of being more active in dangerous areas.

I'm adapting quickly and learning the lingo, which will only speed up the settling in process and help me get the most out of my latest football adventure.

Rafael Nadal preparing for comeback

Nadal not focused on results as former world No 1 prepares for comeback

|

UPDATED:

11:35 GMT, 22 December 2012

Rafael Nadal will not worry about results as he makes his latest comeback from persistent knee problems.

The 26-year-old Spaniard won the French Open this year but missed the last six months of the season after playing at Wimbledon when he knew he was not fully fit.

Now he is ready to return at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi next week, although he admits his knee is still not 100 per cent and his focus is not on results.

Coming back: Nadal in action against Thomaz Bellucci during Wimbledon in June

Coming back: Nadal in action against Thomaz Bellucci during Wimbledon in June

'I am not nervous,' he told The Times. 'The only thing is the knee.

'The rest of the things – I can play better, I can play worse – it doesn't matter how I play tennis in the next month or month and a half.

'For me my goal is not Abu Dhabi, it is not Doha, it is not the Australian Open – my goal is to try to be fit, to be 100 per cent recovered with my knee and 100 per cent fit in my personal performance by Indian Wells and Miami [in March], to try to arrive to Monte Carlo and the clay-court season in good shape.'

He added: 'It will take time. The people have to know when you are outside of the competitions and haven't played for a long time, you will have problems to come back to your best.'

Wary: Nadal admitted his troublesome knee is not yet 100 per cent

Wary: Nadal admitted his troublesome knee is not yet 100 per cent

Since Nadal last swung a racket in anger, there is a new grand-slam winner on the scene with Andy Murray having beaten Novak Djokovic in the US Open final shortly after seeing off Roger Federer to win Olympic gold.

It was not east at Flushing Meadows, as Djokovic roared back from two sets down to level at 2-2, but Murray held his nerve to win the trophy as Nadal felt he would.

'I really thought Andy would win because the tennis owed him something,' said Nadal. 'That was my feeling.

'The Olympics was a big change and with the calm of winning that at home, you go to a grand-slam final and you feel that Andy, before the match, believed he was favourite.

'If you really believe in yourself, it doesn't matter if you were leading by two sets to love and the opponent comes back.'

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

Nasser Hussain: 'Enough is enough. We have to bring in DRS for all Test matches.'

|

UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 16 December 2012

The time has now come for the ICC to stand up to the Indian cricket board and say: ‘Enough is enough. We are using the decision review system in all Test matches.’

This series has provided all the proof needed that the game is categorically better off using technology rather than relying totally on the men in the middle.

Controversy: England captain Alastair Cook was given out caught despite the ball traveling well wide of his bat

Controversy: England captain Alastair Cook was given out caught despite the ball traveling well wide of his bat

Surely the world game’s governing body can now go to India and say, ‘we have listened to your reservations and we respect them, but just look at what has happened in a marquee series when technology hasn’t been used. Big mistakes have been made on both sides and your players have misbehaved because of it’.

All the boards bar India now seem to want the system in place. Spectators want it and, judging by his reaction to a decision yesterday, India captain MS Dhoni wants it.

And sitting in the Indian dressing room is the man who invented DRS, their coach Duncan Fletcher. What more do they need

Nobody is saying the technology used is perfect. But the very professional people behind it are working towards making it as near perfect as it can be. And if it had been used in these four Tests, I reckon there might have been one or two errors made with important decisions. Instead, there have been 10 or 12.

I was asked by Sky to come up with the blatant umpiring errors in this series, and I quickly picked out 10 that really should have been spotted by the naked eye by elite umpires. I’m sure there have been other mistakes too.

10 UMPIRING HOWLERS THIS SERIES

Batsman / Bowler – What happened…

Test: Ahmedabad (1st Test)

Samit Patel / Ravi Ashwin – Should have been given out lbw on four

Mumbai (2nd)

Zaheer Khan / Graeme Swann – Given out caught at short leg — nowhere near it

Mumbai (2nd)

Pragyan Ojha / Monty Panesar – Obvious glove to leg slip — missed by Aleem Dar

Mumbai (2nd)

Gautam Gambhir / Graeme Swann – Out lbw after edging the ball into his pads

Kolkata (3rd)

Alastair Cook / Ravi Ashwin – Caught at short leg, not noticed by umpire

Kolkata (3rd)

Monty Panesar / Ravi Ashwin – lbw after nicking it

Nagpur (4th)

Alastair Cook / Ishant Sharma – lbw, despite being hit outside line of off

Nagpur (4th)

Cheteshwar Pujara / Graeme Swann – Given out at short leg off the forearm

Nagpur (4th)

Alastair Cook / Ravi Ashwin – Caught behind, but didn’t hit it

Nagpur (4th)

Jonathan Trott / Ravindra Jadeja – Hit in line with the stumps, survived the lbw shout

I am just not sure it is right when people say the elite panel get 90 per cent of their decisions right. It certainly hasn’t been that way in this series.

The four umpires used in these games seem to have become uncertain once they have had their safety net taken away from them. They have seen from technology that more decisions are out than was perceived in the past and, without it, they are not sure what to give and what to turn down.

The genie is out of the bottle. The modern generation can’t understand why technology isn’t being used. It’s time for India to see the error of their ways and accept the views of the vast majority. We have seen with our own eyes that it is the only way forward now.

Commanding: Despite his unfair dismissal, Alastair Cook's (pictured) England team remain on course for an historic series win

Commanding: Despite his unfair dismissal, Alastair Cook's (pictured) England team remain on course for an historic series win

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

|

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

|

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

|

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.

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

Fletcher could pay the price as India search for a scapegoat

|

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.

India v England: Alastair Cook run out case of after you Claude – David Lloyd

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

|

UPDATED:

18:16 GMT, 7 December 2012

The Alastair Cook run out was a classic case of “after you Claude”.

It’s just a quirk of the game. As usual, the players didn’t know the law but it is very clear – if he had ever grounded his bat he would have been not out.

Umpire Rod Tucker knew straight away, Cook had never regained his ground so he had to go.

After you Claude: Cook was run out in bizarre fashion

After you Claude: Cook was run out in bizarre fashion

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.

India on the ropes

England are exactly where they want to be. That last session they really stepped on it and scored at four-and-a-half an over as India wilted in the field – their fielding was almost comical again.

England are now looking to get a lead of 250, which puts India out of the game.

This pitch will not get any better, there are already signs of wear and tear, and I fully expect England to go 2-1 up unless India can produce something extra special.

No comparison

I expect England to win because their bowlers are infinitely better than their Indian counterparts.

In terms of pace and bounce, India have nobody to match Steven Finn (and he will be a real handful now the bounce is uneven), Jimmy Anderson has completely outbowled Zaheer Khan in terms of swing and the spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann have simply been too hot for India.

Tall order: Finn offers far more pace and bounce than India's seamers

Tall order: Finn offers far more pace and bounce than India's seamers

For whom the Bell tolls

In terms of England’s batting, it’s big ticks for Cook, Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott, plus we had a little cameo from Kevin Pietersen.

But Ian Bell is a touch player and it is so hard to wander back in to Test cricket (after he went home for the birth of his boy) when you are in no form at all and to play well straight away.

Give Samit a good go

I’d really like Samit Patel to get a run in the side at No 6. I think he’s an excellent player and deserves to play ahead of Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan.

Six of the best: Patel deserves a good go

Six of the best: Patel deserves a good go

He scored 33 quality runs but he will know he has still not done enough. However, he should get a prolonged run and play the Tests here and in New Zealand. One thing he is not is an all-rounder. He’s a batter who can roll his arm over.

Shane gets a tonking

Anyone who watched the Big Bash cricket from Australia will have seen Shane Warne bowl two overs for 41! It was so funny.

Warne was miked up and was saying “I’m going to bowl the slider now”… and it disappeared 12 rows back! Next ball he said “right, I’m bowling the googly” and that went even further! Ever the showman he took his cap and said: “Think I’ll go and hide now.”

Maybe that Ashes comeback should be put on ice…

India v England: David "Bumble" Lloyd reads Sportsmail column

Admiring your own column, Bumble We don't blame you! Sportsmail funnyman catches up with the best coverage of India v England

|

UPDATED:

09:34 GMT, 19 November 2012

Read the latest editions of Bumble and Nasser's brilliant columns…

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

Nasser Hussain: England can rely on captain Cook on the subcontinent

Now this is what you call a Test Match Sofa.

Two members of Sportsmail's crack cricket team were spotted reading up on England's struggles during the first Test defeat to India in Ahmedabad.

David 'Bumble' Lloyd was pictured going through Sportsmail's Monday edition… and unconfirmed reports suggested he was busy admiring his own column.

Read all about it: Bumble (right) goes through Sportsmail's pages on Monday morning alongside Nasser Hussain

Read all about it: Bumble (right) goes through Sportsmail's pages on Monday morning alongside Nasser

Today Bumble tackled the issues of
Alastair Cook's remarkable ability not to sweat while batting in hot
conditions, the England captain's fine knock in Ahmedabad and the need
to bring back Monty Panesar for the second Test in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Nasser Hussain had clearly been up earlier than Bumble and devoured MailOnline and the paper before turning to The Times.

The pair were pictured at Sky Sports' Isleworth base in the wee hours of Monday morning as Cook's men slipped to a heavy nine-wicket defeat at the hands of MS Dhoni's India.

No sweat: Bumble today praised Alastair Cook's marvellous knock in the first Test... and his unique gift

No sweat: Bumble today praised Alastair Cook's marvellous knock in the first Test… and his unique gift

Sky's commentary team, including Sportsmail's dynamic duo, have been forced to broadcast from the UK due to a financial dispute with the Indian cricket board.

Sky refused to send any presenters or production staff to India after the BCCI demanded 500,000 for what it labelled ‘realistic’ facility costs for the broadcaster during the tour.

As a result, it is the first time in 20 years that television viewers are not receiving British coverage of an overseas England tour from inside the grounds.

Still, it's good to see at least one of our men putting his time back home in Blighty to good use…