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  • England v India, 1st Test

Cook fails again after last stand lifts India

The Report by Karthik Krishnaswamy
July 10, 2014
Alastair Cook falls for just five runs as England struggled on Day 2 at Trent Bridge © Getty Images
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England 43 for 1 trail India 457 (Vijay 146, Dhoni 82, Bhuvneshwar 58, Shami 51*)by 414 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

India were in danger of surrendering the advantage they had built so carefully over four sessions, losing four wickets for four runs immediately after lunch on the second day. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami restored it with a 111-run last-wicket stand that punctured the fuel reserves of a frustrated England attack and extended India's total to 457.

Shami then dismissed Alastair Cook in the fourth over of England's reply, bowling the England captain off his thigh pad as he walked too far across his stumps in an attempt to work the ball towards fine leg.

Over the remainder of the final session, India's seam bowlers searched for the right length to discomfit the notoriously front-foot-shy Sam Robson and Gary Ballance. They generally found themselves a touch shorter than ideal, but Ishant Sharma landed one in the perfect spot two overs from stumps only for the outside-edge from Ballance to drop a foot short of first slip. Ravindra Jadeja bowled two overs, and hinted at playing an influential role over the next three days when he got one ball to explode out of the rough at Ballance. England have three left-handed batsmen in their top six.

When India lost their ninth wicket, their survivors from the 2011 tour will have seen flashbacks of their collapse from 267 for 4 to 288 all out at the same venue. Having thrown away a position of considerable promise, India had gone on to lose that Test match by 319 runs.

This England side, though, is not the 2011 England side. Since the time Tino Best clobbered 95 against them two years ago, they have been hurt by numerous tail-end partnerships. It is hard to imagine Bhuvneshwar and Shami, in particular, holding on for so long against the 2011 attack.

Bhuvneshwar farmed the strike in the first part of the partnership, but soon began picking up singles even early in the over. England stuck gamely to a couple of self-consciously out-of-the-box plans, Liam Plunkett banging it in from around the wicket, James Anderson bowling full and straight with three catchers in front of the wicket on the on side. Neither plan perturbed the batsmen unduly, and Bhuvneshwar in particular got solidly behind the line to defend.

In between, the pair found the boundaries with a mixture of clear-the-front-leg heaves and some surprisingly cultured shots, including an inside-out lofted drive by Bhuvneshwar off Moeen Ali and a clip off the pads from Shami off Anderson.

By the end of the session, England, forced into a mandatory half-hour extension, may have wished they had taken one wicket less than they had. Even when they did finally find the edge - as Hot Spot showed when Plunkett slanted one past Shami in the penultimate over of the session - only Cook appeared to hear the noise from silly point and the half-hearted appeals which followed from bowler and keeper were afterthoughts.

Soon after tea, Bhuvneshwar reached his 50, his first in Test cricket, with an elegantly driven single to the off-side sweeper. Shami reached his maiden first-class 50 the next ball, clouting a full, wide ball back over Anderson's head for six. The partnership also breached the 100 mark with that shot.

Bhuvneshwar nudged Moeen Ali to the brink of a bowling century with a drive back over his head for four, but fell trying to go even bigger the next ball, not quite reaching the pitch of it and holing out to mid-on. The last-wicket pair had batted a minute over two-and-a-half hours.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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