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  • England v India, 1st Test

England fail to break through as India bat for draw

Karthik Krishnaswamy | ESPNcricinfo
July 13, 2014 « Martin eagle sets up maiden major | WILL TEST Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Alastair Cook took his first ever Test wicket © Getty Images
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India 457 (Vijay 146, Dhoni 82) and 391 for 9 decl (Binny 78, Bhuvneshwar 63) drew with England 496 (Root 154*, Anderson 81, Bhuvneshwar 5-82)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Having started the day with the draw seemingly a formality, India suffered a serious scare as England took three wickets for 17 runs in the first hour of the morning. But Stuart Binny steered them back to safety and was looking on course for a century on debut before Moeen Ali had him lbw with ten minutes to go for tea. Bhuvneshwar Kumar then scored his second half-century of the match - only the second time anyone had done this from No. 9 - and England didn't even get to begin a second innings as the players shook hands when MS Dhoni declared at the stroke of the final hour.

By then, Alastair Cook had treated the Trent Bridge crowd to one over of donkey-drop offspin and one over of gentle medium-pace, with which he had Ishant Sharma caught behind down the leg side. Cook's Bob Willis impersonations summed up the Test match, during which it had become increasingly difficult to assess the two sets of players, on a surface with close to nothing in it for the bowlers. Years from now, it will mostly be remembered for the lower-order batting records it produced.

Binny showed his batting ability, but it can't be said he completely justified his selection, even if it would be harsh to judge his seam bowling on this pitch. He might even find himself in the strange position of being left out of the second Test after coming close to a century on debut and helping save a match from a wobbly position.

Binny walked in with India six down and leading by 145, with two-and-a-half sessions remaining. England's seamers were getting the ball to reverse under cloudy skies, and Ravindra Jadeja had faced 33 balls at the other end without getting off the mark. But Binny radiated calm right from the start, and looked more secure in defence than either Jadeja or MS Dhoni had done before him. He punished the loose balls confidently, and had moved to 26 by lunch to take the lead close to 200.

The seventh-wicket partnership moved to 65 before James Anderson finally dismissed Jadeja, having tormented him all morning. Jadeja had been beaten numerous times before finally edging the angled delivery to Matt Prior. India's lead at that point was 210, and England might have felt they still had a sniff but Bhuvneshwar Kumar came in and dampened their hopes, proving as immovable as he had been in the first innings.

Binny by then had moved into the 30s, and he didn't take long in getting to 50, pulling and steering Liam Plunkett for successive fours before reaching the mark with a single. His strokeplay grew in range when Moeen Ali came on, and he moved quickly into the 70s with a boundary nearly every over against the offspinner, including a reverse-sweep and a flat, inside-out six over extra cover. With plenty of time left in the session it looked as though he could complete a century before tea but Moeen turned one in from around the wicket to trap him lbw.

The day had begun after a 15-minute rain delay, and Stuart Broad and Anderson immediately found reverse swing under cloudy skies. In the second over of the morning, Broad snaked the ball into Virat Kohli and struck him just in front of off stump. First ball of Broad's next over drew Rahane forward. Having seen both bowlers finding consistent reverse into the right-hander, Rahane chose to play at the ball to protect his off stump. It stayed its course, however, and kissed his outside edge through to Prior.

Broad could have had another wicket four overs later. MS Dhoni went after a length ball outside off and got a thick edge that went to Alastair Cook at first slip but he dropped a simple knee-height chance. It didn't prove a costly miss, though. Dhoni and India had only added six more runs to their respective totals when Plunkett replaced Broad and struck first ball. Dhoni, looking to play across the line to a full, inswinging delivery, missed the ball and saw it ricochet off his front pad onto the stumps.

England at that point might have sensed a first Test win in 11 months, having been down and out at one stage. India might have feared yet another overseas defeat in a Test match they had dominated for long periods. Neither side was good enough to force a win on such a surface, but both sides seemed bad enough, at times, to lose.

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