Match report: Ind vs Eng – 3rd Test, Day 1
Kolkata, Dec 5: India were 273 for seven at the end of the first day of the third Test at the Eden Gardens with MS Dhoni batting on 22 and Zaheer Khan still to open his account.
With the four-match series evenly poised at 1-1 both teams are hoping to take the lead in Kolkata before heading off to Nagpur. Although England lost the toss, their bowlers kept the Indian batsmen on their toes for most part of the day by striking consistently in each session. Although Gautam Gambhir and later Sachin Tendulkar threatened to take the initiative away from the visitors, England’s bowling attack halted their progress to a large extent.
Earlier, opting to bat first at the Eden Gardens, India lost Virender Sehwag early in the innings. The Indian opener looked in good touch before a mix-up with Gambhir in the middle saw Sehwag walk back for 23. The in-form Cheteshwar Pujara then took guard and with Gambhir he set about the task of building the Indian innings. But just as the partnership was taking shape, Monty Panesar struck to break it for 41. The left-arm spinner, who was a thorn in India’s side in the previous game, knocked over Pujara’s middle stump with an arm ball that snuck between the batsman’s bat and pad to send him back for 16 a little before lunch.
With India losing two wickets in the morning session, Sachin Tendulkar walked out to the join Gambhir in the middle. The left-handed Indian opener, who was inching towards his second half-century of the series, then pushed a Graeme Swann delivery to mid-off to get there with a single.
After lunch, Tendulkar brought up India’s 100 with a boundary off Panesar. But a little later Gambhir edged Panesar to Jonathon Trott at first slip to depart for 60. And Virat Kohli followed him back after adding just six runs to the total. A low catch by Swann at second slip off James Anderson dismissed Kohli and brought in Yuvraj Singh. Meanwhile, Tendulkar held up one end. With eight boundaries including a drive straight down the ground off the back foot, the Little Master remained unbeaten on 46 at the end of the second session. And with Yuvraj looking good at the other end, India were 172 for four at tea.
The senior India batsman flicked Finn down long-leg to reach his fifty off the first ball after tea and then collected four more from the next. In the next over, Yuvraj slammed Panesar over long-off for six and as the partnership flourished, the two also took India past 200. With the duo scoring more freely, England needed a breakthrough and Swann responded with the wicket of Yuvraj to leave India at 215 for five. And 15 runs later, Matt Prior diving to his right pulled off a low single-handed catch off Anderson to send back Tendulkar. With the master batsman’s 155-ball 76-run knock studded with 13 boundaries coming to end, No.8 bat Ravichandran Ashwin came out in the middle with Dhoni and the two looked set to take the hosts through to the close of play. However, Anderson rattled Ashwin’s stumps with the new ball to end the partnership for 38 runs.
With an over and a half remaining Zaheer Khan came out to bat and remained not out with the captain at the other end when play ended today.
Changes in the teams: Ishant Sharma replaced Harbhajan Singh in the Indian team, while Ian Bell and Steven Finn came in for Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad in England's playing XI for the third Test.
At the end of Day 1: India 1st innings 273/7 in 90 overs (SR Tendulkar 76, G Gambhir 60, J Anderson 3/68, M Panesar 2/74)