Thursday, 15 November 2012

India vs England: Ahmedabad Day One

A wagon wheel of Virender Sehwag's hundred against EnglandTwo innings of extreme contrast but equal effectiveness have left England fighting to save this first Test of the series. 

It could be said they were fighting to save the match after just the first session as Virender Sehwag played with the confidence that belied a man without a Test century in two years, while in the final two sessions Cheteshwar Pujara did a fine impression of Rahul Dravid. 

While Monty Panesar was doing shuttle runs with the backroom staff in the lunch and tea intervals, Graeme Swann was out in the middle almost single-handedly giving England a chance of salvaging the match. Taking all four wickets to fall, three of which clean bowled, he went passed Jim Laker on the list of wicket-takers for England and his team mates will hope that he can continue to thwart India's surge toward a huge score tomorrow. 

The support in the field was lacking. Anderson, Prior and Trott were all guilty of not taking chances. Why Trott, normally seen at third man or midwicket, was at slip must also be questioned. England need to be sharper; chances on a track as slow and low as this one are not likely to come often. 

That said, sometimes you cannot account for the brilliance of one man. Sehwag was imperious. He treated Anderson with disdain from the start and Tim Bresnan was made to look distinctly average as his first spell went at more than six an over. With the 100 up inside 20 overs and Sehwag bringing up his 100 off just 90, Pujara crept along almost unnoticed. Although surviving a misjudged chip when on eight, the rest of his innings was chanceless. He is a man in form, and looked it. 

Samit Patel recovered well after his first delivery was a low full toss slapped unceremoniously to the ropes by Sehwag, but England will need to improve as an entire unit tomorrow and hope that India don't press beyond 500. Then their own trial by spin will come.

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