Match report: Ind vs Eng – 3rd Test, Day 2
Kolkata, Dec 6: The second day of the third Test belonged to England as the visitors dominated with the ball and the bat throughout the day at the Eden Gardens. The Alastair Cook-led side trailed by 100 runs with nine wickets in hand after bowling India out for 316 earlier in the morning.
The English skipper, who reached a personal landmark of 23 Test hundreds to top the list of centurions for England, put his team in the driver’s seat in the ongoing game against India. He was batting on 136 with Jonathon Trott on 21 when stumps were called.
Earlier, India were bowled out in the first hour of play after adding 43 runs to their overnight total. Although Zaheer Khan was dropped at second slip by Graeme Swann off James Anderson on while on two, in the next over he was trapped leg-before by Monty Panesar for six. In his following over the left-arm spinner knocked over Ishant Sharma’s stumps.
With nine wickets down Pragyan Ojha came out and played patiently. Though he didn’t get runs, he was the perfect foil for MS Dhoni who kept the scoreboard ticking. During the session the Indian captain hit Panesar for sixes on either side of the wicket. He first hit the left-arm spinner over mid-off to take India past 300 and then sent the ball sailing over long-on and into the stands. The duo bided their time to stretch the innings as far as possible. During his unbeaten 19-ball stay at the crease Ojha played watchfully to provide support to the Indian skipper.
Meanwhile, Dhoni reached his fifty with a boundary off Steven Finn through extra-cover, but got out soon after that. The ball took the top edge of his bat and flew high towards the gully region where Swann took a brilliant catch diving to his right to end the India’s first innings.
The English batsmen then commenced their innings in the first session and went into lunch without losing a wicket. Cook opening the batting with Nick Compton took England to 22 at lunch. Soon after the break Cheteshwar Pujara dropped Cook off Zaheer Khan in the slips. Standing at first slip he failed to latch on to low catch after the ball took the edge off Cook’s willow and flew in the fielder’s direction. The lapse proved expensive for the hosts as Cook making the most of the reprieve soon brought up his fifty and continued his good run in the series. The England captain who has been in sublime touch in the series was inching towards his century when tea was called.
His opening partner, Compton who is finding his feet in Test cricket reached his highest score so far in the longest format of the game and was nine short of his first Test half-century when the second session ended. The left-right combination had a productive second session, when they added 99 runs and took England to 121 without loss with Cook on 80 and Compton on 41.
Post tea, Compton brought up his first half-century in Tests with a single off Sharma and continued to milk runs off the Indian bowlers unhurriedly along with the England captain. Cook took England past 150 with a boundary through mid-wicket off Ojha. And a while later with three runs off Ravichandran Ashwin, Cook brought up his hundred; his third of the series in three matches.
Ojha finally broke the opening stand for 165 when he dismissed Compton lbw for 57. Though the Indian bowlers continued to bend their backs they were not able to get any more breakthroughs as Cook and Jonathan Trott continued to take the innings forward.
At the end of Day 2: India 1st innings 316 all out in 105 overs (MS Dhoni 52, 4/90); England 1st innings 216/1 in 73 overs (A Cook 136*, N Compton 57, J Trott 21*, PP Ojha 1/65)
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)