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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Cook and Pietersen put England in control

Cook and Pietersen put England in control

November 24, 2012 17:31 IST

Skipper Alastair Cook continued to torment India with yet another gritty batting display while Kevin Pietersen returned to form with an unbeaten half-century to give England a slight advantage in the second cricket Test in Mumbai on Saturday.

- Scorecard

After dismissing India for 327 in the first innings, England moved to a comfortable 178 for two in 65 overs before the stumps were drawn on the second day, with the visitors trailing by 149 runs.

At close, the left-handed Cook, who had scored a big century in the first Test, was unbeaten on 87. Pietersen, on the other hand, was batting on 62 after a stay of 127 minutes during which he faced 85 balls and hit nine fours.

Cook batted for 251 minutes and faced 209 balls, striking a six and ten fours in the process

The third wicket duo has so far put on 110 runs in 186 balls. For the record, Cook has batted for 960 minutes in all in the three innings he has batted during the series.

On a wicket where the spin duo of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann ran through the star-studded Indian batting line-up in which Cheteshwar Pujara (135) and Ravichandra Ashwin (68) stood out, the trio of home team spinners looked largely clueless against the determined Cook and Pietersen.

Barring the twin strike by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in the space of 11 balls just before tea, the home side's spin attack looked far less menacing than both Panesar (five for 129) and Swann, who ran through the tail, to end up with figures of four for 70.

Kevin Pietersen and Alastair CookCook again showed monumental patience to lead his side's reply. Anything bowled at the stumps was blocked, balls outside the off were cut while the ones outside the leg were swept. He gathered his runs mostly in singles to frustrate the Indian spinners, just like he had done for nearly 12 hours in Ahmedabad.

With a sweep shot before tea, Cook surpassed Pujara as the highest run-getter in the series. The shot, incidentally, hit Pujara on the right side of his rib cage, forcing him to leave the field and seek medical attention. He did not come out to field after tea.

Substitute fielder Ajinkya Rahane, too, had to duck at times to avoid getting hit by the England captain's sweeps. He eventually received a painful blow on his left elbow by Kevin Pietersen's powerful sweep off Harbhajan Singh.

Pietersen, who looked in a hurry in the opening game, adopted a slightly different approach. He started off with a conventional cover drive off Harbhajan, then lofted him over mid-wicket.

The lanky batsman was however, more cautious against Ojha, who had dismissed him twice in the first Test.

Pietersen, however, survived a confident appeal for a catch off Ashwin when he was on 45 in a team score of 146 for two.

Pietersen soon raced to his half-century with a back foot cut off Ashwin in 63 balls.

Earlier, Cook and his opening partner Compton had negotiated the spinning ball to raise the visitors' hopes till Ojha struck.

Ojha first had Compton caught in the slips by Virender Sehwag, then sent Trott back to the pavilion after he was adjudged leg before wicket for naught.

Their dismissals brought together Cook and Pietersen who batted out the last session while adding 101 runs.

Neither Ojha nor off spinner Ashwin, who took four wickets in the first game, got the same amount of turn or bounce that Panesar found in the morning.

Harbhajan, playing his first Test after the disastrous tour to England in 2011, started off well by getting some turn and bounce, but later on became predictable and could not trouble the batsmen.

In the morning, England finally dismissed Pujara for the first time in three innings as India were all out 22 minutes before lunch.

It was Pujara who pulled India out of a deep hole on the first day when India were struggling at 169 for six at one stage. He was stumped by Matt Prior off Graeme Swann for 135.

Pujara's seven and a half hour vigil lasted 350 balls. He struck 12 fours.

Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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