Cricket

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  • India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 5th day

India canter to win over England

The Report by David Hopps
November 19, 2012
India 521 for 8 dec (Pujara 206*, Sehwag 117, Swann 5-144) and 80 for 1 (Pujara 41*) beat England 191 (Ojha 5-45) and 406 (Cook 176, Prior 91, Ojha 4-120) by nine wickets Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

File photo: Pragyan Ojha took the crucial wickets of Matt Prior and Alastair Cook on the final morning as India cruised to victory (ESPN is not carrying live pictures due to curbs on media) © AFP
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India went 1-0 up in the Test series with three to play when they rolled over England on the final day at Motera, taking the last five wickets by lunch to leave themselves needing only 77 for victory and then gambolling to victory with almost indecent haste in less than 16 overs. India can congratulate themselves on engineering a superb victory; England must embrace change.

India had to labour long and hard to bowl out England a second time, spending ten-and-a-quarter hours in the field, but when they batted again, it was a breeze as Virender Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara unveiled a succession of unrestrained attacking shots that made a mockery of England's painstaking attempts to save the Test.

Sehwag, a batsman who knows no fear, and who clearly could not care less whether he added a bit of red ink to a formidable Test record, was caught on the boundary trying to hit Graeme Swann for six, but Pujara, whose sterling double hundred in the first innings had been the cornerstone of India's victory, sallied on. He looks to be a formidable young player.

One sublime piece of footwork by Pujara, as he advanced to drive Swann through extra cover, was better than anything produced by England in the Test, a reminder that as staunchly as Alastair Cook and Matt Prior resisted, they will need a more enlightened approach in the field and in their selection to force their way back into the series in the final three Tests.

On another still, blue morning in Ahmedabad, Pragyan Ojha claimed the key wickets of Cook and Prior as he found more turn than India's spinners had managed on the previous day. Ojha took 4 for 120, to finish with 9 for 165 in the match.

Cook had organised epic resistance after England had followed on, 330 behind, but India's resolve was reborn after a night's rest and when he was seventh out, beaten by sharp turn and low bounce, the game immediately looked up.

Prior and Cook had joined forces in a sixth-wicket stand which had given England a 10-run lead overnight and stirred tentative hopes among their supporters that they might save the game.

But they added only 16 runs to their overnight score before Prior was out in the 10th over of the morning, pushing too early at a nondescript delivery from Ojha that presumably held on to the surface and offering a simple return catch. They had put on 157 runs in 61 overs.

Cook's innings spanned more than nine hours, one of the greatest rearguard innings ever produced by an England captain, but while it had led the team from a sense of despair after their first-innings collapse it looked unlikely to spare them from defeat as, four overs after Prior, he too fell.

Broad's batting has become a liability, the belief that he offers extra depth to England's lower order resting on a reputation no longer backed up by statistics. He provided a second return catch of the morning, a wooden push at Umesh Yadav off the leading edge.

India's anxiety to force victory in a game they had dominated from the outset was evident. As Broad shadow-practised the shot and patted down some damage to the pitch, Ojha, his passions overflowing, sensed that he was trying to damage the surface for England's bowlers and gave him a send-off intense enough for the umpires to intervene to calm things down.

Prior had taken guard outside his crease to nullify the roughest areas and Swann took that to further extremes, standing a good yard beyond the line. India, apparently, were not impressed by the tactic, suspecting foul play and an attempt to make the surface disintegrate.

At eight down, with more than two sessions remaining, England's cause required not just blocking, but something extraordinary. Swann's ambitions were clear when he slog-swept Ojha for six, but a switch hit against R Ashwin had a more calamitous outcome as the ball was too full and his middle stump was flattened. Ashwin, who had taken his first wicket in his 43rd over, on a slow turner that had brought him little sustenance, must have been grateful.

Tim Bresnan, who was lectured by Aleem Dar, the umpire, for running on the pitch, followed in the next over, pushing a driveable ball from Zaheer Khan to short extra. India were almost home. Less than 16 overs later, they were home.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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