England have far from enjoyed their tour of India. They slumped to a miserable five straight defeats to India in the one-day internationals and a defeat in the first test – after having held a seemingly invincible lead. Now, Pietersen and his team finally have a chance to break their losing duck as they head into day four of the final test.
England have endured a terrible time on their winter tour of India. After all the positives of the summer, with the appointment of ‘KP’ as captain, they looked set for a bright future. In the five summer one-day internationals against South Africa, Pietersen’s men won all but one of the matches. They produced some electrifying cricket and the Pietersen led by example with a dominant batting display in his first match as captain.
However, England have since faltered and have failed to replicate their excellent performances on home soil in their winter tour. In the one-day internationals, India secured a clean sweep with a comfortable six wicket victory in the final game. England produced some lacklustre performances, never really troubling India. They were in dire need of a positive result in the first test at Chennai.
After England declared on 311-9, India faced a massive target of 387 to win. A seemingly impossible task for the hosts as they started the run chase in the final session on day four. However by the end of the day, Sehwag had thrilled the home crowd with some outstanding aggressive batting reaching 50 in just 32 balls. Astounding figures that one would expect to see onlyÃ‚Â in a one-day match. He was finally caught out by a Graeme Swann delivery that caught him leg before. His final figures were 83 of 66 balls.
India ended the day at 131-1. England needed wickets fast on the fifth and final day of the first test and the signs looked good when Flintoff took the wicket of Dravid for just four runs. However India steadied the ship and thanks to a century by Tendulkar, they reached their target of 387.
England were made to rue the chance of resurrecting some pride after wastefully throwing away a more-than-comfortable advantage.
The second test is today finally poised at day three with England 171 behind India on 282-6. Pietersen produced an impressive first innings run tally of 144 to provide some hope for an English revival after India finished their first innings on 453. However KP will be frustrated that he fell two overs before stumps to a LBW.
England also suffered another blow when Andrew Flintoff fell to the last ball of the day after having made 62. The loss of Flintoff overshadowed a good third day performance. Nightwatchman, James Anderson went for a single, leaving Flintoff exposed on strike, which saw him subsequently fall to Mishra .
So England will need to produce a gritty and determined fourth day performance to ensure they still have a chance to get a draw out of the match, if not a very unlikely victory. Should they slump to another defeat against then surely there will be questions asked of the players and management after an utterly disappointing tour in India.
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BIOGRAPHY: Eric Bailly