Sunday, 25 November 2012

India Vs England: Mumbai Day Three

This was the day that England roared back into this series. First it was captains past and present moving to the top of all time century makers for their country, and it finished with a forgotten man picking up his 10th wicket in the match. 
Kevin Pietersen was a class apart with the bat in his hand, and played the outstanding innings of the match so far. His free-flowing 186 was the perfect foil for Alastair Cook, who was eventually undone by a good delivery from Ravi Ashwin but not before he registered his fourth hundred in as many matches as leader of his country and 22nd overall.
Once again there was not a great deal of support elsewhere, Samit Patel and Matt Prior got starts before the former was caught of the again outstanding Pragyan Ojha while the latter was needlessly run-out, but the main talking point was Jonny Bairstow.
Prodding forward to Ojha the ball took a leading edge and hit silly point high on the chest with his flailing arms taking it up onto the helmet before he finally got the ball under control. Bairstow, not knowing the laws of the game, walked off. The law states however, that when a ball makes any contact with a helmet it should be immediately called dead. All part of the learning curve.
After Pietersen was eventually dismissed England folded rather meekly, but their bowlers made sure that the first innings lead of 86 was put to excellent use, having India five down before they reached parity and grabbing another two before the close to restrict the hosts to 117/7 and a lead of just 31.
The boot is on the other foot tomorrow morning in many ways, a left-handed opener stands alone, trying to deny an orthodox off-spinner and a canny left-armer and trying to set a target that his own bowlers can work with. This time for Alastair Cook read Gautam Gambhir, a man in dreadful form who has battled his way to an unbeaten half-century, the only other Indian to reach double-figures was Ravi Ashwin.
If England dislodge Gambhir early then they should wrap this match up around lunchtime, but with the pitch offering as much turn as it is then a chase of more than 150 will make England very nervous, so while the job is not done yet, England will know that finishing it off will go a long way to restoring their reputation.

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