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Rediff.com  » Cricket » England fight back but India still in control

England fight back but India still in control

Last updated on: November 17, 2012 19:56 IST

England responded well in the final session after India had dominated the first two on Day 3 of the opening Test in Motera on Saturday.

Having forced to follow-on, the visitors ended the third day on 111 for no loss, still 219 runs adrift of the home side's total but certainly better-placed and somewhat out of the quagmire they had put themselves into.

- Scorecard

Expectedly the Indian spinners ran through the brittle English batting line-up early on in the day. Pragyan Ojha was the pick of the Indian bowlers, with figures of five for 45, as England was bowled out for 191 in their first innings, giving the hosts a huge lead of 330.

The visitors albeit put together a spirited reply in their second innings.

At stumps, captain Alastair Cook was unbeaten on 74 and giving him company was debutant Nick Compton (on 34), the two frustrating the Indian team and the fans alike.

Pragyan OjhaWith two days left to play the match is still loaded in India's favour. However, if England continues their fightback on the fourth morning it would make the proceedings more interesting, and the result less humiliating.

Morning session: (69 runs, 34 overs, 4 wickets)

Resuming at their overnight score of 41 for three England started slow. The fact that India started with a twin spin – Ojha and Ashwin – attack made the English caution all the more palpable.

Kevin Pietersen does try to break free and almost gifted his wicket away on a couple of occasion. He did manage to hit Ojha to the mid-on fence, the shot helping the visitors get past the 50-run mark.

Things progress smoothly for the visitors for 47 minutes before Ojha makes a double breakthrough in his eighth over of the morning (12th of the innings).

The left-arm spinner first rattles Pietersen's (17) middle stump with a beauty of a delivery, the batsman's dismissal curtailing the fourth wicket partnership (with Cook) to 39.

In the next ball, Ojha has Ian Bell (0) caught by Sachin Tendulkar at mid-off. Suffice to say the wicket is the result of a rash shot by the batsman to a seemingly innocuous delivery.

Samit Patel does well to survive the hat-trick ball.

However, there is no succour for England as Ashwin returns to have Alastair Cook (41) caught by Virender Sehwag at first slip.

The England captain's 109-ball knock was inclusive of seven hits to the fence and for a long time he seemed the only player who could tackle the Indian spinners.

Umesh Yadav finally gets to bowl in the 48th over of the innings and he strikes with his sixth ball, having Patel (10) out leg before.  Frankly speaking, it is a horrible umpiring decision. The ball was clearly going down the leg.

The hosts had the visitors reeling at 110 for seven at lunch, 411 runs behind.

Post-lunch session: (81 runs, 22.2 overs, 3 wickets)

England began the session with the intention of putting up a semblance of a fight.

Prior and Tim Bresnan (19) put together a 47-run stand for the eighth wicket. But just when the stand was looking good Ojha returned, in the 67th over, and struck having Bresnan caught by Virat Kohli at gully.

Stuart Broad came out to join Prior and began by smashing Ojha over the deep midwicket for a boundary. He hit Ashwin for a boundary and a six (over long-on) in one over to carry forth the aggression.

With Prior looking settled and Broad aggressive England looked for quick runs, the two putting together 43 runs for the ninth wicket.

Again when the English innings seemed back on track misfortune struck, Aleem Dar adjudging Broad leg before to Zaheer. Replays suggested the ball was clearly going down the leg, yet another instance when the lack of DRS hurt England and benefitted India.

Broad's 23-ball 25 was inclusive of two boundaries and a six and he looked good throughout.

Ojha returned to rattle Prior's (48) timber and complete his fourth five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

England had been bowled out for 191, giving the hosts an innings lead of 330.

India expectedly imposed the follow on.

Post-tea session:  (111 runs, 38 overs, 0 wickets)

England began their second innings desperate to make an impression.

The approach by the visitors was largely about applying caution with bouts of aggression. Cook was mostly the aggressor while Compton applied caution.

The two combine well for the opening wicket, putting on a 50-plus partnership. More importantly, it was a chanceless partnership save when Ojha induced an edge off Compton that almost carried to Kohli.

A boundary through square leg off Ojha, his ninth of the innings, helps Cook register his 30th Test fifty, his fifth against India.

The England captain had looked their best bat in the opening essay as well, albeit was unlucky to get out. He made sure he stuck to his role in the second.  

Sachin Tendulkar is handed the ball towards the close of play and successive boundaries by Cook helps the visitors get past the 100-run mark.

Despite all their efforts the Indian bowlers failed to breach a resilient English defence on this occasion.