Match report: Ind vs Eng – 2nd Test, Day 1
Mumbai, Nov 23: Coming to the crease on the third delivery of the match, No.3 bat, Cheteshwar Pujara propelled India to 266 for six with an unbeaten century. The youngster once again anchored the Indian innings with a patient 114 even as his team lost wickets at regular intervals at the other end until Ravichandran Ashwin (60*) joined him in the middle. After remaining unbeaten in both the innings in the first Test, the 24-year-old is yet to be dismissed by the visiting English side this series. With an unbroken 97-run stand the duo kept India in the reckoning at the end of Day 1 of the second Test after the English bowlers dominated most of the day. Back in England’s playing XI, Monty Panesar accounted for four of the six Indian wickets and kept the hosts on their toes.
Electing to bat first, India were reeling at 60 for three at the Wankhede Stadium. Bringing back Panesar worked for the English as the left-arm spinner claimed the prized wickets of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar after Anderson sent back Gautam Gambhir in the first over of the match to rock India on the back foot in the first session.
Gambhir who had struck the first delivery of the match for four was trapped leg-before off the next ball. Playing in his 100th Test, his opening partner Sehwag followed him back 48 runs later. A Panesar delivery went on to rattle the batsman’s stump after hitting the pads to end his 43-ball stay at the crease for 30 runs.
The left-arm spinner’s next scalp was Tendulkar. Playing on his home ground the senior cricketer was sent back for eight. After hitting Panesar down mid-wicket for a four earlier in the over on his home ground, an away turning delivery dislodged the Master’s bails later in the over. Virat Kohli then joined Pujara in the middle and the duo took India to 87 for three at lunch.
In the second session, the No.3 bat brought up his half-century with a boundary off Panesar. However, the England spinner claimed Kohli a little while later to end the blossoming partnership at 58. Kohli scooped the ball straight to fielder at cover where Nick Compton took the catch. At 118 for four Yuvraj Singh walked in but lost his off-stump to Graeme Swann to return for a duck and give the off-spinner his first wicket of the day. With wickets falling at the other end, Pujara displayed nerves of steel as he held up one end to take India through another session.
Captain MS Dhoni, who come out to the middle after Kohli’s departure, went about the task of reviving the innings and stemming the fall of wickets with Pujara. As the duo worked to steady the Indian innings the youngster survived a half chance while on 60; an edge off Panesar fell between the first and second slip. The duo then bided their time to take the team to 167 at tea without losing a wicket.
However, in the second over of the final session, Panesar struck once again to end yet another association. He ended the Pujara-Dhoni partnership by dismissing the Indian captain for 29. Ravichandran Ashwin who had scored his maiden Test hundred at this ground, replaced Dhoni in the middle. The diligent Pujara then took India past the 200-run mark and was once again within sniffing distance of yet another well earned century. In his 90s the batsman had a few anxious moments with an appeal for catch and some risky running between the wickets. But unruffled, he picked singles to reach his 99 and then pulled Anderson for a boundary to reach the three-figure mark for the third time in his short career. A while later Ashwin reached his second half-century in Tests with a four off Stuart Broad. In the last session of the day the duo milked the England bowlers to ease some of the pressure and put the hosts back in the game.
Changes in the teams: India brought in off-spinner Harbhajan Singh in place of pacer Umesh Yadav. England replaced pacer Tim Bresnan with left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, while Jonny Bairstow came in for Ian Bell.
At the end of Day 1: India 1st innings 266/6 in 90 overs (C Pujara 114*, R Ashwin 60*, M Panesar 4/91)