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Andy Flower praises England team after India victory

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

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UPDATED:

13:08 GMT, 17 December 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bowled over: Coach David Saker with Anderson

Bowled over: Coach David Saker with Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UPDATED:

11:32 GMT, 11 December 2012

Top Spin

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

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

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

MS Dhoni

N Srinivasan

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

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

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

THE TOP SPIN ON TWITTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from Lawrence Booth…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS

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

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

Boycott’s headline act

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

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

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

Compton’s heartfelt tribute

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

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

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

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

Did I say ‘ugly’

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

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

Beggars can’t be choosers

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

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

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

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

And finally…

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

Alistair Cook"s bizarre dismissal the latest in a long line of unusual wickets

Captain Cook will be kicking himself for his freak dismissal in Kolkata… but he's not the first batsman to be left scratching his head

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UPDATED:

11:21 GMT, 7 December 2012

England captain Alastair Cook lost his wicket in bizarre circumstances on day three of the third Test in Kolkata.

He failed to ground his bat on returning to his crease and jumped out of the way of Virat Kohli's shy at the stumps.

Cook hung low on his bat for a second as the realisation of what he had done sank in.

And he joins the list of batsmen – including a couple of fellow England captains – to lose their wickets in bizarre circumstances after looking well set at the crease.

Bizarre dismissal: Alistair Cook, ten shy of a double hundred, forgot to ground his bat when leaping out of the way of Virat Kohli's throw at the stumps

Bizarre dismissal: Alistair Cook, ten shy of a double hundred, forgot to ground his bat when leaping out of the way of Virat Kohli's throw at the stumps

Graham Gooch v Australia – Old Trafford (1993)

The England opener was on 133 in the opening Ashes Test in Manchester and slowly but surely was guiding England towards an improbable draw when he was undone by a steep riser from Merv Hughes.

As the ball bounced down towards the stumps, Gooch brushed the ball away with his glove and umpire Dickie Bird had no option but to raise his finger.

His dismissal made him only the fifth batsman in history to be given out for handling the ball and ended any remaining hope of England saving the Test.

Decent fist of it: Graham Gooch punches the ball away as a Merv Hughes bouncer heads for the stumps in the second innings of England's Ashes first test defeat in 1993

Decent fist of it: Graham Gooch punches the ball away as a Merv Hughes bouncer heads for the stumps in the second innings of England's Ashes first test defeat in 1993

Michael Vaughan v India (2001-02)

Needing a win to level the series on their 2001 tour of India, England weren't helped when Michael Vaughan was given out for handling the ball in their first innings.

Attempting to sweep Sarandeep Singh, the Yorkshire batsman, who was well set on 64, missed completely and the ball trickled underneath his pads towards the stumps.

Without thinking, Vaughan knocked the ball away with his right hand to prevent it hitting. It didn't fool Virender Sehwag at short leg and Vaughan became the seventh batsman to be dismissed for handling the ball in Test cricket.

The Test was eventually drawn and the series lost 1-0.

Not much comfort: Mark Ramprakash tries to find the right words for Michael Vaughan after the latter knocks the ball away with his hand to stop it hitting the stumps on England's 2001 tour of India

Not much comfort: Mark Ramprakash tries to find the right words for Michael Vaughan after the latter knocks the ball away with his hand to stop it hitting the stumps on England's 2001 tour of India

Wayne Phillips v England (1985)

An incident that cost Australia the fifth Test of the 1985 Ashes series and many believe should never have been given out.

Wayne Phillips, offering stout final day resistance on 59, hit a ball from Phil Edmonds onto the instep of Allan Lamb, who was trying to get out of the way at silly point.

The ball ricocheted tamely for David Gower, standing a couple of yards away, to take a simple catch.
Umpire David Shepherd, not having a clear view of the incident, asked square leg umpire David Constant for his version of events. He said conclusively that the ball had not touched the ground.

England had wrapped up victory 48 minutes later when it seemed an Old Trafford Test full of rain delays would fizzle out into a draw.

Out! Australia's Wayne Phillips lost his wicket in a freak incident that saw his shot rebound off the foot of Allan Lamb into the grateful hands of David Gower

Out! Australia's Wayne Phillips lost his wicket in a freak incident that saw his shot rebound off the foot of Allan Lamb into the grateful hands of David Gower

Kevin Pietersen v West Indies (2007)

Pietersen was going well on 68, punishing the West Indian bowlers in the third Test at Old Trafford in 2007, when he was removed in the most bizarre way.

A Dwayne Bravo bouncer struck Pietersen on the helmet, dislodging it and sending it flying onto the stumps.

The look on KP's face as he staggered round is one of pure disbelief, but he had no choice but to walk. It didn't affect the result too badly – England won the Test by 60 runs and the series 3-0.

Disbelief: Kevin Pietersen looks on in horror after a Dwayne Bravo bouncer dislodges his helmet onto the stumps in the third test with the West Indies at Old Trafford in 2007

Disbelief: Kevin Pietersen looks on in horror after a Dwayne Bravo bouncer dislodges his helmet onto the stumps in the third test with the West Indies at Old Trafford in 2007

Ian Bell v India (2011)

Bell was on 137 when Eoin Morgan had played the ball towards the long leg boundary where the fielder made a diving attempt to stop the ball, before falling over the boundary rope.

The fielder in question, Praveen Kumar, thought the ball had gone for four and threw it back towards the stumps. The ball ended up in the hands of Abhinav Mukund, who broke the wicket.

But by this time Bell and Morgan were about to make their way up the steps, back to the pavilion for tea, thinking 'over' had been called.

Cue much lobbying during the break where India captain MS Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher agreed to reinstate Bell who scored another 12 runs.


Run out: Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan (bottom left) are already heading in for the tea interval, unaware that Bell has been run out

Run out: Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan (bottom left) are already heading in for the tea interval, unaware that Bell has been run out

Debate: Bell and Morgan are prevented from leaving the pitch for tea as the decision is reviewed

Debate: Bell and Morgan are prevented from leaving the pitch for tea as the decision is reviewed

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

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

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UPDATED:

11:08 GMT, 6 December 2012


India v England – essentials

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

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

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

Match referee: JJ Crowe (NZ)

India won the toss and elected to bat

First innings: India 316.

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3am: Morning one, morning all and welcome to Sportsmail's coverage on day two of the third Test between England and India from Kolkata.

The tourists efforts yesterday have rightly been described as heroic after being asked to bowl and taking seven wickets on the flattest of tracks.

Talk of pace and bounce were rendered nonsense early on and huge credit must go to James Anderson and Monty Panesar whose efforts have given England the advantage.

The plan from here is to wrap up the three final wickets with minimal fuss then begin the task of building big first-innings runs.

That's the ideal scenario, of course. But if the previous two Tests have taught us anything the first day has been a pretty accurate precursor of what's to come.

3.14: Right, we've got about 15 minutes before play resumes, enough time to have quick peruse of Bumble's Test diary. Day one left him dreaming of Monty and Bruno!

3.20: James Anderson drew huge plaudits for his efforts on day one. Nasser Hussain stood and admired as he got the better of Sachin Tendulkar.. again.

3.24: So, how do you see the action panning out today Can England wrap up the remnants of this India innings without too much fuss. Or are you worried this low, slow track will start turning big when England come in to bat Twitter and email details are above if you so wish to use them.

91st over: India 280-7 (Dhoni 27, Z Khan 1)

Credit to the hardy bunch of Barmy Army fans who serenade their heroes with a rendition of Jerusalem in the early stages of the over. James Anderson begins the attack for England and MS Dhoni is straight on the attack, taking a couple of steps down the track and firing Jimmy back to the rope at long-off.

92nd over: India 282-7 (Dhoni 28, Z Khan 2)

Are you prepared for another long day at the coal face, Monty He bowled 35 overs yesterday and is hoicked straight into the action this morning. Zaheer Khan is – unsurprisingly – in blocking mood, until the final ball of the over where he takes a quick single to retain the strike. Brave. I like it.

93rd over: India 291-7 (Dhoni 28, Z Khan 6)

Dropped! Anderson is absolutely fuming after Swann (now no longer his best mate) shells a dolly at second slip. What a chance that was. Swann was a close second slip, the ball hit him on the chest/ribs and looped up, but Cook couldn't catch the loose ball. Jimmy responds with a ludicrously short one which bounced over Prior for five runs (with the wide). And Khan slogs the final delivery of the over square for four more. It is all going on.

WICKET! Zaheer Khan lbw b Panesar 6

Khan wastes the extra life he was given in the previous over, lunging forward and playing around a straight one. The ball pitched on middle/leg and straightened enough.

94th over: India 292-8 (Dhoni 29)

Maybe that wicket has saved the Anderson/Swann friendship what with Khan adding not many after Swanny shelled him at Slip Well done, Monty. Your still the man. Although your celebrations remain bloody awful.

95th over: India 296-8 (Dhoni 33, Sharma 0)

Anderson dips one back of a length, Dhoni leans back and clubs the ball backward of square for four runs. Meat and drink that kind of length for the Insia captain. Final delivery is wide of off stump, Dhoni swings hard, but misses, which gives Monty a chance to have a dip at new boy Ishant Sharma.

Magic Monty: Panesar has picked up four vital wickets for England

Magic Monty: Panesar has picked up four vital wickets for England

WICKET! Ishant Sharma b Panesar 0

Lofted flight on the delivery does for Sharma who misreads it and plays all around a straight one. Proper No 10's shot and Monty has a four-fer.

96th over: India 296-9 (Dhoni 33, Ojha 0)

Wicket maiden for the boy Monty. But the face on MS Dhoni as he watched Sharma play all around a straight delivery was a peach. Fuming.

97th over: India 296-9 (Dhoni 33, Ojha 0)

'It's a stalemate', notes Nasser in the Sky comms boxs. And he's right. Dhoni's in blocking mode, until the final delivery which he heaves square for a single to retain strike.

98th over: India 309-9 (Dhoni 46, Ojha 0)

Now, here's a stat: No England bowler has taken three five wicket hauls in a row since 1970-71. Monty has five in his previous two and is on four here. One more, Monty, can you do it Well, no, Dhoni's having none of it as he rocks back on his heels and scores the second SIX of the innings over long-off. And then he scores the third SIX with the final delivery of the over – a massive boomer over midwicket.

99th over: India 311-9 (Dhoni 47, Ojha 0)

Well, if you want anyone marshalling the end of an innings, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better candidate than MS Dhoni. Ojha faces a couple, there's a big lbw shout which is turned down, and the India captain dabs a quick single to retain strike.

100th over: India 312-9 (Dhoni 48, Ojha 0)

A much brighter morning today than the misty fug which enveloped Eden Gardens yesterday, but that hasn't encouraged more spectators in this 63,000-capacity ground. A mere smattering: 4 or 5,000 at most. Monty continues to Dhoni, field set well back, the captain takes a single with the final delivery, chipping one to vacant mid-off.

101st over: India 312-9 (Dhoni 48, Ojha 0)

Nick Knight reveals the news that Phil Hughes will replace Ricky Ponting in the Australia team. I'm no gambling man, but if I was (and I'm not) I would be down the bookies as soon as the door opened to wager every penny I can lay my greedy mitts on for England to win the Ashes. Hughes hasn't enjoyed the best of luck against England. Maiden for Monty.

102nd over: India 312-9 (Dhoni 48, Ojha 0)

Bowling change: Graeme Swann is hoicked in in James Anderson's stead. Much to the paceman's chagrin, I presume – certainly when he has the No 11 to face. Slip, gully and short leg come in, Ojha does well to block out. Maiden.

103rd over: India 312-9 (Dhoni 48, Ojha 0)

Do you think the denizens of Kolkata have any inkling knowledge of Only Fools and Horses Granted, why should those who live in this sprawling metropolis care for the antics of two zooms from Peckham Still, they'll be familiar with the theme tune now that Billy Cooper – the Barmy Army's trumpeter-in-chief has just belted it out.

104th over: India 312-9 (Dhoni 48, Ojha 0)

Proddy, proddy, touch, touch. Ojha's doing his best to hang around, but this seems all rather futile, India haven't added a run in five overs. It's that tedious, I've searched – and listened to – Fat Larry's Band classic Zoom on youtube. Maiden.

105th over: India 316 (Ojha 0)

Bowling change: Steven Finn comes into the action to try and frighten India out of this innings. Which he does!

WICKET! Mahendra Singh Dhoni c Swann b Finn 52

Great work from Swann who races from second slip to pouch Dhoni's attempted cut which booms up off his gloves. And that is that.

INDIA ALL OUT FOR 316

On the attack: Cook is hoping to score more big runs as England begin their first innings

On the attack: Cook is hoping to score more big runs as England begin their first innings

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

England will be very pleased with their work so far. Restricting India to 316 after losing the toss is a super effort, particularly on a pitch which is offering no assistance. But what of England's replay Zaheer Khan begins the attack with two slips and a gully in position. Cook moves off the mark with a well timed dash via point for four runs.

2nd over: England 6-0 (Cook 4, Compton 2)

Ishant Sharma joins Khan in the attack to Compton whose busy defensive strokes I admire so. Compton pushes a quick single to cover, but some shoddy work in the field – an overthrow – allows the England pair to take another.

3rd over: England 10-0 (Cook 8, Compton 2)

It is said that whenever the word 'cricket' is mentioned, a Frenchman or German, somewhere in the world, starts laughing, such is esteem in which they hold the game.

Bucking this trend, however, is former Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester City midfielder Dietmar Hamann. Didi Hamann, via Twitter: 'England on top if they get 400+ you got to fancy them to win …Anderson outstanding #onlyonemonty'. Thick edge from Cook sends the ball between slips and gully for four.

4th over: England 10-0 (Cook 8, Compton 2)

Six deliveries outside off, Compton doesn't look interested. That's a maiden.

5th over: England 16-0 (Cook 13, Compton 3)

A rather tepid start from the India pacemen. Cook and Compton looking unruffled, the captain helps himself to four via clip off his pads and, erm, that's about it.

6th over: England 17-0 (Cook 13, Compton 4)

The stats suggest Sharma has had the making of Cook more than many bowlers. But the seamer isn't going to trouble the left-hander with his current line, which is too straight into the England captain. He needs to look for the feather edge, wider of off stump if he is to prosper. Unless he can find some extra pace to leave Cook open to lbw. Just a single for Compton.

7th over: England 17-0 (Cook 13, Compton 4)

Pleased to say Eden Gardens is starting to fill up as the morning carries on. Still huge swathes of empty seats, but there's plenty of atmosphere pouring down from the stands as England go about their business diligently in the middle. Compton faces six from Khan and that's a maiden.

8th over: England 21-0 (Cook 17, Compton 4)

Cook hangs hit bat out to Sharma who finds an edge, but it is of the thickish variety and thusly runs wide of slips, but inside gully and brings up another boundary. Maybe some spin before lunch It's only 10 minutes away.

9th over: England 21-0 (Cook 17, Compton 4)

It's another maiden over for Khan, but it was almost so much worse for England after Compton called a kamikaze single, only to send Cook back before any damage could be done. Steady now boys, you're within a sniff of the lunch break. Now is not the time for rash decisions.

In good Nick: Compton has started well as England begin their first innings

In good Nick: Compton has started well as England begin their first innings

10th over: England 21-0 (Cook 17, Compton 4)

Bowling change: Yep, it's time for some spin and Ravichandran Ashwin is hoicked in to turn his arm over for six before the break. Nothing extra going on for him over Panesar or Swann. Maiden.

11th over: England 22-0 (Cook 17, Compton 5)

Short leg comes in for Compton as Sharma changes ends at in the dregs of the session. Just a single for the Somerset man. And that is lunch. Muy bien.

Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth in Kolkata writes: So, England have done the first bit. /12/06/article-2243328-0D25177D00000578-345_306x459.jpg” width=”306″ height=”459″ alt=”Plenty to ponder: Dhoni's side have struggled to break England down” class=”blkBorder” />

Plenty to ponder: Dhoni's side have struggled to break England down

23rd over: England 61-0 (Cook 44, Compton 17)

Full credit to the England pair who are picking the right moments when to stick or twist. The tandem threat of Khan and Ishant had to be seen off, now with Ashwin's gentle spin on, they can vary the attack and take it to the hosts. Just a single from the over.

24th over: England 62-0 (Cook 45, Compton 17)

So, after an hour of the afternoon session, England continue to move forward serenely. They have added 40 runs without the loss of a wicket in the 12 overs thus far. A decent return. But there's plenty left to do. Another single from the over keeps the scorecard ticking over.

25th over: England 62-0 (Cook 45, Compton 17)

Dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. That's a maiden. And time for some drinks.

26th over: England 62-0 (Cook 45, Compton 17)

England moving along serenely here. They've enjoyed this session so far. They've added 40 runs without losing a wicket. Still plenty of work left to do, mind. Another maiden.

27th over: England 62-0 (Cook 50, Compton 17)

Shot! Zaheer's attempted inswinging yorker arrows in towards off stump, but Cook flat bats back down the ground for four. Stunning shot. Another single also brings up the captain's half-century.

28th over: England 74-0 (Cook 51, Compton 23)

Shot! Compton leaves his crease and punches Ojha high and mighty over the midwicket boundary for another maximum! SIX big runs for Nick, England sitting pretty here.

29th over: England 74-0 (Cook 51, Compton 23)

A series of dots. Six in total. That's a maiden.

30th over: England 77-0 (Cook 53, Compton 24)

Ojha's in now, so we have spin on at both ends. England have played it well thus far. But I can tell you, this over-by-over lark isn't half made difficult with two twirlers on, what with their minute long overs and all. There's steam coming off my keyboard. Cook taps a couple backward of square.

31st over: England 83-0 (Cook 58, Compton 25)

Howizaaaat! Ashwin asks the question, but he's clutching at straws – the ball hit Compton's boot on the flush, but miles outside the line of the stumps. There follows a howler in the field – of which there have already been a few – which allows England to nick a single and overthrows add another four. Ouch.

32nd over: England 86-0 (Cook 60, Compton 26)

Half an hour to go until the tea break, England will be mighty pleased if they reach the break without loss. And will certainly hope to reach three figures by that point, too. Three more singles from Ojha's bowling.

33rd over: England 90-0 (Cook 64, Compton 26)

Courtesy of Sky Sports' statto Bendict Bermange, on Twitter: 'If – or rather – when Cook gets to 88 he will be the youngest to reach 7000 Test runs. Another Sachin record will fall'. Cook finds the rope with a well timed club through covers.

34th over: England 94-0 (Cook 67, Compton 27)

So, after a promising opening 34 overs, England trail by 222 runs. An excellent base from which to work on and takes the pressure off those coming in behind the openers. But India are allowing them to find the singles, find the gaps to keep the score ticking over. A couple of singles and one brace come as England move forward.

35th over: England 95-0 (Cook 68, Compton 27)

An eerie silence around the ground at the moment, despite the fact there must be 15,000 spectators in attendance. The locals have had very little to cheer today. Ashwin zooms through his over, one from it as yet another misfield allows the England pair to cross without too much fuss.

36th over: England 100-0 (Cook 69, Compton 31)

Dhoni's not happy with the ball, he asks the umpires to run it through that piece of kt which measures the balls roundness. It doesn't come up to scratch and so a selection of new'uns is brought on. But even the new cherry cannot help India as Compton chops forward of point to take England past the century mark.

Solid start: The England openers have laid excellent foundations for England's first innings

Solid start: The England openers have laid excellent foundations for England's first innings

37th over: England 104-0 (Cook 73, Compton 31)

Of course Cook will receive plaudits for his excellent form again today, but mention must be made of some of the dross which is being served up. Ashwin dips down a rank wide one and the England captain dispatches it through cover point for four. Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

38th over: England 110-0 (Cook 74, Compton 36)

Compton leans across his pads and clips the ball square for four more. I don't want to gush, but England are filling their boots here at the moment, India need to find a creative spark from somewhere. Maybe they're waiting on an England mistake Doesn't look forthcoming at the moment.

39th over: England 113-0 (Cook 77, Compton 36)

Final few overs before tea now. England must be eyeing the break. They will be delighted to reach it without losing a wicket. India keeping everything crossed that they can.

40th over: England 116-0 (Cook 79, Compton 37)

England nurdle three more singles from Ojha who has looked pretty toothless in his eight overs thus far. And he's going at a shy under four an over.

41st over: England 116-0 (Cook 79, Compton 37)

Ashwin continues, a series of dot balls. That's a maiden.

42nd over: England 116-0 (Cook 81, Compton 40)

Four more from that over as England reach the break without loss. Sterling effort in that afternoon session from the tourists.

Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth in Kolkata writes: That was another sparkling session for England – and a miserable one for India. Cheteshwar Pujara dropped Alastair Cook at first slip on 17, their spinners lacked bite, and the fielding was lethargic. If England reach stumps without major damage, they will be in a decent position to take a scarcely believable 2-1 lead in this four-match series.

Quietly, Cook and Nick Compton have gone about establishing an opening partnership that, despite a few rough edges (mainly Compton’s), seems to work.

Against the odds, Cook has become the aggressor, with Compton content to defend the good balls, chance the occasional quick single to mid-off, and take toll of the free gifts. The six he launched down the ground off Pragyan Ojha was a glorious aberration.

Cook simply looks immovable, and it needed a beauty from Zaheer Khan to induce the error that was spurned by Pujara: the ball shaped to swing in, then held its line before kissing the outside edge. It was the kind of delivery only in-form batsmen tend to nick.

This pair have put on 123, 66, 58* and now 121* since they were parted early on the second evening in Ahmedabad. And if Cook has stolen the headlines, scoring more runs in a series in India than any England captain in history (Ted Dexter, who has been at this game, was the previous record-holder, with 409 runs in 1961-62), Compton has been a more than faithful sidekick.

As for India, some shoddy work in the field betrayed their state of mind. But it's far too early for heads to drop: a couple of quick wickets, and a reversing ball after tea, can bring them back into the game.

TEA: ENGLAND ARE 121-0

43rd over: England 127-0 (Cook 80, Compton 46)

No pressure, but Alastair Cook needs just 20 more runs to become England's most successful batsman ever. Those runs will take him to his 23rd centrury, taking him past the tally of 22 held by Kevin Pietersen, Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Sir Geoffrey Boycott. Compton gets England underway with a rather ugly chop backward of square for four.

44th over: England 131-0 (Cook 81, Compton 49)

India really have been poor in the field today. Two rather shoddy pieces of work turn dicey singles into comfortable strolls. Surely cricket -even in India where the hosts are usually so dominant – has moved on from this part-time-looking attitude.

45th over: England 138-0 (Cook 88, Compton 49)

I'll be honest, we've had a bit of a chat about the impending milestone Alastair Cook could pass if he reaches 100 runs here, and I was worried I could jinx his chances. But with bowling like that, he'll have no trouble becoming the first Englishman to score 23 Test centuries. Man at extra cover could have stopped the ball, I reckon, before it passed him to the boundary. But I think I've covered the quality of India's fielding already.

46th over: England 138-0 (Cook 88, Compton 49)

Ashwin continues – with very little reward. That's a series of six dots – a maiden in old money.

47th over: England 144-0 (Cook 92, Compton 50)

Are they signs of frustration creeping in there from Ishant Sharma The paceman dips one in well short, Compton has to take evasive action and there follows some staring action from the pair. There follows two singles which bring up Compton's half-century. You can't see me, but I'm clapping in admiration. A huge milestone in any player's career. Cook chips in with a dashing drive which finds a the edge and races to vacant third man.

48th over: England 146-0 (Cook 93, Compton 51)

England into the 48th over, still without loss and trail India by 170 runs with all their wickets intact. They won't find parity today, but could be within 50 runs of the hosts' total by the close of play. Two singles dabbed either side of the wicket.

49th over: England 146-0 (Cook 93, Compton 51)

There's a Mexico Wave wending its way round the stadium at the moment. It seem the locals are entertaining themselves seeing as their players are declining to offer any support. I'd ban the bloody things if I could. Mexican Waves, that is. Not locals. Maiden over.

50th over: England 148-0 (Cook 94, Compton 52)

I am getting ahead of myself here, but, for the record, England's highest first wicket stand against India was the 225 scored by Messrs Gooch and Atherton at Headingley in 1990.

51st over: England 152-0 (Cook 98, Compton 52)

Shot! Cook goes on the sweep, finds the rope in front of square to take him to two runs shy of that tantalising 23rd Test century for England.

Man of the moment: Cook has become England's most successful batsman ever

Man of the moment: Cook has become England's most successful batsman ever

52nd over: England 156-0 (Cook 101, Compton 53)

There it is, he's done it! Alastair Cook dabs the two runs he needs to become England's most successful Test batsman, with his 23rd century. Plaudits will rightly rain down on Ice Man. He's on some run at the moment.

WICKET! Nick Compton lbw b Ojha 57

The attempted paddle/sweep, but misses the ball which hits his back leg. That looks plumb.

53rd over: England 165-1 (Cook 106)

Big moment for India , they've been desperate for the breakthrough. The crowd have really come alive now, too.

54th over: England 176-1 (Cook 117, Trott 0)

Zaheer Khan returns to the fray… can he shake up the England pair with a new man in Nope. Cook pulls one just behind square for four and another boundary come via backward point.

55th over: England 181-1 (Cook 118, Trott 4)

So, the ever dependable Trott is in. But he's in dire need of some runs. His scores thus far in this series are 0, 17, 0. Not good enough. But he makes a decent start here, with a flick round the corner for four runs.

56th over: England 187-1 (Cook 124, Trott 4)

The wicket has really endowed the Indian players and crowd with renewed energies. Ishant Sharma has just performed an athletic slid e to save a certain four and the crowd scream their agreement as Ojha asks for an lbw decision against Cook. No dice, well outside the line. There follows a stunning cover drive from the England captain. A real beauty. And that takes us up to drinks.

57th over: England 187-1 (Cook 124, Trott 4)

Here we go then, final hour of the day – or 17 overs. Should squeeze them all in with the spinners in play. If England end the day with just the one in the wickets column they will be mighty pleased. The trick will be to bat all day tomorrow, build a lead of 200-odd and go from there. Granted, that is a best-case scenario, India are formidable on home soil, surely they can't remain as docile as this for much longer. Ojha continues with a maiden.

58th over: England 191-1 (Cook 128, Trott 4)

Cook eyes the ball as it races to the fence via mid-on. He holds his pose, just long enough to let Ashwin know who's in charge. The local producers also show us Trott's three dismissals in this tour. All have come on turning pitches. This is not one of those.

59th over: England 191-1 (Cook 128, Trott 4)

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

60th over: England 194-1 (Cook 130, Trott 5)

With spinners on at both ends we might actually end up bowling more than the allotted 90 today. A rare scenario and one which will please Bumble immensely. Trott dabs one and Cook dabs a couple of singles.

61st over: England 194-1 (Cook 131, Trott 9)

Zoooom! Ojha rips through his over at lightning speed, Trott scores what now seems like the obligatory boundary – through midwicket – for England.

62nd over: England 201-1 (Cook 132, Trott 10)

Cook dabs a single to mid-on which brings the England supporters to their feet as England reach the 200 mark. In all honesty, it has been something of a cake walk.

63rd over: England 205-1 (Cook 132, Trott 14)

England
are still behind by 111 runs, but India already look deflated. It is
like they are being forced to watch and swallow England's lesson in how
to play the conditions in their own back yard. They're probably keen to
get back into the dressing room to regroup and think about the plan of
attack for tomorrow. Trott bangs one through midwicket which zip to the
fence in a flash. Four!

64th over: England 207-1 (Cook 133, Trott 15)

Another
couple of singles and we have nine overs left today. India desperate to
make a breakthrough before the close of play. They need it to give them
some impetus for tomorrow.

Able assistant: Trott is hoping to improve on his poor record in the series

Able assistant: Trott is hoping to improve on his poor record in the series

65th over: England 208-1 (Cook 133, Trott 16)

Trott dabs a single via midwicket. Shot playing is being reined in now as the England pair have their sights firmly set on the close of play.

66th over: England 209-1 (Cook 133, Trott 17)

The life's gone out of this one. Is it worth shaking hands on the day now England aren't playing any shots, India's body language suggests they've had enough for the day.

67th over: England 209-1 (Cook 133, Trott 17)

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

68th over: England 209-1 (Cook 133, Trott 17)

You can read more on Alastair Cook's batting heroics today right here. As for the action out in the middle Well, erm, there isn't any, really. Maiden.

69th over: England 210-1 (Cook 133, Trott 18)

Trott pushes to midwicket and England snaffle a single. Sends my heart a-flutter, been a while since England scored four overs left in the day.

70th over: England 212-1 (Cook 134, Trott 19)

Another couple of singles added to the tally in the fag end of what has been a thoroughly successful day for England. The defeat in Ahmedabad seems like a lifetime ago just now.

71st over: England 214-1 (Cook 135, Trott 20)

Final throw of the dice today for MS Dhoni who asks Zaheer Khan to come back in and tried to 'do a Jimmy'. And by that, I mean take a late wicket in the dregs of the day, not the rhyming slang Jimmy Riddle (you can work it out for yourself). Nowt doing, though, three singles from the over.

72nd over: England 214-1 (Cook 135, Trott 20)

The penultimate over of the day starts after a lengthy break for the England pair to take on some fluids. Trott blocks/shoulder arms the life out of the over from Ishant Sharma. Maiden.

73rd over: England 216-1 (Cook 136, Trott 22)

Cook dabs a single to mid-off, Trott angles one to third man and that – my good friends – is stumps.

STUMPS: England are 216-1

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.

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

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

|

UPDATED:

11:23 GMT, 5 December 2012


India v England – essentials

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

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

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

Match referee JJ Crowe (NZ)

India won the toss and elected to bat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Booo, etc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WICKET! Virender Sehwag run out (Finn) 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WICKET! Cheteshwar Pujara b Panesar 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LUNCH: INDIA ARE 90-2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Monty: Panesar has taken two key wickets today

Full Monty: Panesar has taken two key wickets today

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

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

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

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

WICKET! Gautam Gambhir c Trott b Panesar 60

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jumping Jimmy: Anderson has chipped in with a vital wicket

Jumping Jimmy: Anderson has chipped in with a vital wicket

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

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

WICKET! Virat Kohli c Swann b Anderson 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TEA: INDIA ARE 172-4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WICKET! Yuvraj Singh c Cook b Swann 32

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A series of dots, six in total: Maiden.

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

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

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

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

WICKET! Sachin Tendulkar c Prior b Anderson 76

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEW BALL TAKEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

WICKET! Ravichandran Ashwin b Anderson 21

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

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

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

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

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

STUMPS: INDIA ARE 273-7

Picture Dispute

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

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

Steven Finn fit to face India as England contemplate omitting Stuart Broad for third Test

Finn champing at bit to face India as England contemplate omitting Broad for third Test

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UPDATED:

09:08 GMT, 3 December 2012


Bowled over: Finn is ready and raring to go for the third Test in Kolkata

Bowled over: Finn is ready and raring to go for the third Test in Kolkata

Steven Finn has described himself as 'ready to go' as England consider whether to drop vice-captain Stuart Broad ahead of Wednesday's crucial third Test in Kolkata.

Finn, who picked up a thigh injury after bowling only four overs on the opening day of the tour in Mumbai, came through a workout in the Eden Gardens nets this morning, and is set to share new-ball duties with Jimmy Anderson.

'I did exactly what I planned to do today,' he said. 'I bowled six overs in two spells – four and two. And I bowled well and I feel that if I'm needed on Wednesday I'll be ready to go.'

The inclusion of Finn would be bad news for Broad, whose combined figures in the Ahmedabad and Mumbai Tests were a disappointing 36-2-157-0.

England's Twenty20 captain has not been dropped from the Test side since the previous full tour of India, four years ago, when he was left out of the game at Chennai.

'It's difficult as a bowler,' said Finn. 'There's no hiding place, and you have to keep running in. But Broady's an exceptional bowler. He's played 50-odd Test matches, so he's a world-class player and we’ll know he’ll come back, definitely.'

Following their stunning 10-wicket in at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, England are keen to keep India on the canvas.

Sitting it out Broad may miss out after failing to take a wicket all series

Sitting it out Broad may miss out after failing to take a wicket all series

And, as fast-bowling coach David Saker
intimated last week when he spoke of Finn's X-factor, that involves
enacting their original plan of hitting the hosts with their fastest
bowler.

'It's definitely encouraging for the bowling coach to be saying that about you,’ said Finn. 'I feel in good rhythm coming into it. I had a run-out the other day in Navi Mumbai with the Performance Programme, and I feel in a good place.

'The injury was majorly disappointing.
I’ve never had that feeling of something popping before. It was alien to
me, as well as scary and frustrating knowing I had a chance of playing
in that first Test match.

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.

'But I’ve had a little bit of time out, and I feel fresh for it. You can put a positive spin on it, and say my body’s had a chance of recovering from the English season and the Twenty20 World Cup. I can’t feel the injury at all now.'

And Finn, whose 16 Tests have brought him 66 wickets at the useful average of 28, is determined not to endure a repeat of his Mumbai experience, where his participation in the Performance Programme match meant he could follow events an hour away at the Wankhede only on TV.

'It was difficult knowing that the lads were there in Mumbai celebrating the win and being together, and I was on the other side of town watching it on TV.

'It was a strange sort of feeling, and something I didn’t particularly enjoy missing out on. I’m keen to get in on the act if it happens in this game.'

Sachin Tendulkar"s future in doubt as he heads towards 40

Whispers grow louder about Tendulkar's future as he approaches 40

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 27 November 2012

The future of Sachin Tendulkar was on the lips of almost every Indian after the selectors made just one change to a 15-man squad for next week’s third Test.

With seamer Ashok Dinda coming in for the injured Umesh Yadav, the players who lost so heavily here have been given the chance to redeem themselves in Kolkata. And all eyes will be on Tendulkar.

India’s most marketable export has endured runs of bad form before but his failure at the Wankhede, where he was removed twice for eight by Monty Panesar, means he has scored 153 runs in his last 10 Test innings.

Doubts: Sachin Tendulkar will be 40 in April and his future in the game is being discussed frequently by Indian media

Doubts: Sachin Tendulkar will be 40 in April and his future in the game is being discussed frequently by Indian media

Barely a news show goes by in India without a former player commenting on Tendulkar’s future. He turns 40 in April and locals are fretting.

Seven times in those 10 innings Tendulkar has been bowled or lbw; previously, those modes of dismissal accounted for only 38 per cent of his innings. ‘My concern is whether that great mind is tired of concentrating as the way he has been getting bowled suggests,’ said former Test spinner Maninder Singh.

India fans have other concerns, too, and the selectors rowed back from their plan to name a squad for the last two Tests.

Fail in Kolkata, it seems, and you may miss out in Nagpur.

No 6 Yuvraj Singh and off-spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin are particularly vulnerable.

Kevin Pietersen and Monty Panesar puts in magical display

Pietersen puts in genius display as England are spinning to victory in Mumbai Test

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UPDATED:

11:30 GMT, 25 November 2012

Towards the end of a traumatic year for English cricket, here was a day to gladden their fans’ hearts.

First Kevin Pietersen lived up to the name of the fake Twitter account that caused so much angst in the summer and produced an innings of pure genius. Then England’s spinners got to work on India’s batsmen.

That’s right: England’s spinners got to work on India’s batsmen. It feels strange even writing it. The Mumbai Test was supposed to be just another part of India’s masterplan to humiliate England on turning pitches and show them that winning a series 4-0 is simply a matter of being granted home advantage by the fixtures computer.

Pure genius: Kevin Pietersen showed his class in the Mumbai Test

Pure genius: Kevin Pietersen showed his class in the Mumbai Test

So sure was MS Dhoni of his tactics –
and why wouldn’t he have been after the horror show of England’s first
innings at Ahmedabad – that he demanded a Wankhede pitch which would
turn from the first ball. He wanted, he said, to take the toss out of
the equation. He got his wish. And, barring a miracle tomorrow, it
appears to have blown up in his face.

There
is, though, no accounting for special talent, and it’s only fair to
point out that the highest score in England’s 413 after Alastair Cook’s
122 and Pietersen’s 186 was Nick Compton’s 29. Between them, Cook and
Pietersen made three-quarters of England’s runs.

But that’s the deal in international
cricket, and of India’s trio of spinners, only Pragyan Ojha looked even
vaguely capable of coming to terms with it.

Cook
was superbly stoical once more, the first player to score a hundred in
each of his first four Tests as captain. At this rate, you wouldn’t bet
against him extending the sequence to five at Kolkata.

Spinning to victory Monty Panesar was in devastating form too

Spinning to victory Monty Panesar was in devastating form too

Pietersen doesn’t do stoical, and
thank God for that. It misses the point to harp that he has shown
England what they were missing, because his gifts have never been in
doubt.

But when he plays like this – driving
against the spin, paddling over his left shoulder, slog-sweeping for
six – the only thing to do is sit back and enjoy.

After that, it was all about Graeme
Swann and Monty Panesar, who both invoked the spinner’s elixir of
bounce, bite and turn – qualities curiously lacking in Ravi Ashwin and
especially Harbhajan Singh.

From 30 without loss, India’s batsmen
looked as clueless as England’s had done on the second evening and
third morning at the Sardar Patel Stadium, though there was a certain
sadness about the ease with which Panesar worked over Sachin
Tendulkar.

An all-time great, he is danger of
leaving Test cricket with a whimper. Walking off to virtual silence from
his home crowd, he may have reflected that – with apologies to
Pietersen – there really are very few fairytales in sport.

Steven Finn ruled out of second Test with thigh injury

Broad set for reprieve as Finn is ruled out of second Test with thigh injury

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UPDATED:

14:42 GMT, 20 November 2012

Steven Finn has been ruled out of England's second Test against India in Mumbai by a thigh injury.

England coach Andy Flower revealed that the Middlesex paceman faces a second scan on Wednesday to assess the injury.

England will be without Ian Bell as they bid to bounce back from their first Test defeat in Ahmedabad as he has already returned home for the birth of his first child.

Flower explained Finn has aggravated his initial injury.

Ruled out: Finn has a thigh injury

Ruled out: Finn has a thigh injury

Paceman: Finn

But if the scan shows no major problem
on Wednesday, he will be considered for an England Performance Programme
match – with a view to returning in time for the final two Tests in
Kolkata and Nagpur.

'Steven has been working hard to get back to full fitness,' said the coach.

'He has unfortunately hurt his leg again, a couple of days ago, and is having another scan tomorrow.

'We don't think he's got any structural damage, but it would be careless to suggest that he might play the second Test.'

England will tread carefully with Finn, but remain optimistic.

'What we might do is send him off to the performance programme that arrived in India earlier this morning,' added Flower.

'They've got a three-day game starting on the 27th. If he's ready for
that, which is the last day of the second Test, we'll put him through
his paces in that.

'If he comes through that well, he'll be available for the third and fourth Tests.'

Homeward bound: Bell (right) also misses the second Test

Homeward bound: Bell (right) also misses the second Test

Finn missed the nine-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad with the same problem but it was hoped he would be fit to return for Friday's Test in Mumbai.

Fellow seamers Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan were expected to make way for Finn and spinner Monty Panesar, but now it appears that Broad will play alongside James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Panesar in a four-man attack.

Bell, meanwhile, is celebrating the birth of son Joseph William.

Bell's wife Chantal gave birth on Monday, shortly before Bell arrived
back in England despite leaving the first Test early once it became
clear his son was on the way.

Kevin Pietersen scores 23 England return as Alastair Cook reaches hundred

Captain Cook reaches ton in warm-up as KP falls to left-arm spin on England return

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UPDATED:

11:51 GMT, 31 October 2012

Kevin Pietersen made a skittish 23 in his first innings for England in nearly three months before falling, not for the first time, to Yuvraj Singh’s innocuous left-arm spin.

But it was the less glittering qualities of Alastair Cook that held the tourists together on the second day of their three-day game against India A in Mumbai.

Cook marked his first game as England’s full-time captain with a typically grafting hundred to help his side to 286 for 4 in reply to 369. And with Samit Patel underlining his claim to the Test No 6 slot with an unbeaten 82, this was a job well done. Only a third-ball duck for Nick Compton left a slight headache.

Return: Pietersen produced a swashbuckling 23 before being caught and bowled by Yuvraj Singh

Return: Pietersen produced a swashbuckling 23 before being caught and bowled by Yuvraj Singh

Return: Pietersen produced a swashbuckling 23 before being caught and bowled by Yuvraj Singh

Return: Pietersen produced a swashbuckling 23 before being caught and bowled by Yuvraj Singh

England forthcoming matches in India

Tour match in Mumbai (November 3)

Tour match in Ahmedabad (November 8)

First Test – India v England, Ahmedabad (November 15)

Second Test – India v England, Mumbai (November 23)

Third Test – India v England, Kolkata (December 5)

Fourth Test – India v England, Nagpur (December 13)

There follows three Twenty20 and and five ODI matches.

Inevitably, though, it was Pietersen’s 23-minute stay that focussed the attention.

Walking out calmly for his first knock as an England batsman since
August 6 – when he made 12 in the second innings of the Headingley Test
only two days after his barnstorming 149 – Pietersen traded a
glove-punch with Cook, and went about trying to make up for lost time.

He scampered a single to mid-on from his first ball, edged seamer
Parvinder Awana for four soon after, then launched his sixth delivery –
from the off-spin of Suresh Raina – down the ground for six.

When the next ball was clattered off the back foot through the covers
for four, a Pietersen special looked on the cards. But he was dropped at
forward short leg moments later on 16, and managed only one more
boundary – a pull off Vinay Kumar – before chipping a tame return catch
back to Yuvraj.

The identity of the bowler will irk him as much as the tameness of the
dismissal. Pietersen famously branded Yuvraj a ‘pie-chucker’ during the
tour of India in 2008-09 – but this was the sixth time his part-time
slow left-armers have accounted for England’s alpha male.

Just as embarrassingly, it came only three balls after India A captain Raina had brought Yuvraj on to bowl.

Slow start: Compton went for a third-ball duck

Slow start: Compton went for a third-ball duck

SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard from Mumbai

Pietersen’s demise made it 125 for 3, and an all-too-familiar English
meltdown against Asian spinners was brewing when Ian Bell was caught at
slip off Yuvraj for five.

But Cook was in resolute mood, getting well forward on a slow Brabourne
Stadium surface, and Patel immediately began driving sweetly through the
covers.

Dropped down the leg-side on 29 off Awana, Patel built on the good
impression he made during the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. And although
the quality of India A’s spinners was distinctly ordinary, Patel has
made an early bid for the No 6 position for the first Test, ahead of
both Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow.

Top knock: Cook

Top knock: Cook

Top knock: Cook celebrates reaching his ton

Cook, put down by the hapless keeper Wriddhiman Saha on 87 off Yuvraj,
reached three figures with yet another leg-side single, and the pair had
extended their stand to 153 by stumps.

Earlier, after Jimmy Anderson had wrapped up the India A innings with
the first ball of the day, trapping Vinay Kumar lbw, Compton edged his
third delivery to the keeper to depart for a duck.

Not for the first time, comparisons were odious. Back in 1945, his
grandfather Denis made 249 not out here in the Ranji Trophy final for
Holkar. And he followed that a year later with innings of 91 and 124,
playing for Europeans against Hindus.

Ton-derful: Cook was in fine form with the bat as he passed 100

Ton-derful: Cook was in fine form with the bat as he passed 100

Ton-derful: Cook was in fine form with the bat as he passed 100

Top knock: Cook

But Compton, having been perilously close to being bowled second ball by
Ashok Dinda, duly nibbled at the next, with fatal consequences. He may
not get another chance in this game to lay down an early marker for a
Test debut in Ahmedabad.

Jonathan Trott’s 56 steadied England in time-honoured fashion, before
Pietersen – briefly – and Cook – assiduously – pinched the headlines.

Steven Finn will play no further part in this match after picking up a
thigh injury on Tuesday. Scans revealed no tear, but England will now
monitor his rehabilitation over the next fortnight in a bid to get him
fit in time for the first Test, starting on November 15.

Rebuilding: Cook and Patel put on a fine fifth-wicket partnership to dig England out of a hole

Rebuilding: Cook and Patel put on a fine fifth-wicket partnership to dig England out of a hole

Rebuilding: Cook and Patel put on a fine fifth-wicket partnership to dig England out of a hole

Rebuilding: Cook and Patel put on a fine fifth-wicket partnership to dig England out of a hole