India v England: Lessons as the hosts edge the first day of second Test
India v England: Matt Cansick takes a look at the first day of the second Test as India finished on 266-6
India edge first day
A majestic hundred from first Test man-of-the-match Cheteshwar Pujara turned the tables on what was looking to be England’s day. Having won the toss and elected to bat, India found themselves up against it at 119-5, but Pujara’s unbeaten century – he has yet to be given out in three innings – saw them recover to reach 266-6 by the close of play. Ably supported by Ravichandran Ashwin who made 60 not out, the two batsmen put on a partnership of 97 to thwart England’s bowlers, who had threatened to dismiss India for a very low total. Captain Alastair Cook will be disappointed with his side’s inability to restrict the opposition to around 200, and the extra runs could make all the difference in the match. Stuart Broad has been struggling with illness in the build up to this Test which has not helped the seam attack, but the rest of the bowling unit will feel that they have missed a chance to give their batsmen a strong platform for the rest of the game.
Panesar proves a point
With a return of 4-91 off 34 overs, including the key wickets of Tendulkar and Kohli, Panesar has vindicated all those who were calling for his inclusion from the second day of the first Test. His performance put fellow spinner Graeme Swann in the shade, and the ball that removed Tendulkar in particular was a demonstration of what he can do at his best. Both spinners will be of vital importance to England by the time the India’s second innings comes around, and with Samit Patel and Kevin Pietersen to provide respite during long spells, they could have a decisive say on the outcome of the match. Swann and Panesar in tandem could prove to be England’s most potent weapon in this series, and one would expect both of them to remain in the line-up for the remaining Test matches in Kolkata and Nagpur.
Wickets crucial for England
England will look to take an early wicket tomorrow morning, whether it be Pujara or Ashwin. Either way they will be into the tail, but that first wicket may not be easy to get judging by today’s final session. Ashwin has a Test hundred to his name, and Pujara has simply not looked like getting out, so the tourists will need to be clever in their bowling, as well as hoping for a little luck. On a pitch that is sure to deliver a result, anything over 300 will be a bonus for India, and will represent a daunting first innings total on a turning surface. A great deal of application will be needed once the England batsmen do get in, but Ashwin and Pujara have proven that big scores can be made despite the tricky conditions. Time should not be a factor, so as with England’s second innings in Ahmedabad, openers Cook and Compton will have plenty of time to assess the pitch, pick their spots and, above all, ensure they do not give their wicket away.