1st Test, Day 4, India-England commentary
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Last Updated: 18/11/12 11:03am
340-5. What a day! Captain Cook puffs his cheeks and well he might, what a remarkable effort from him, and Prior, to take this into a final day. England may only lead by 10, but they have given themselves a fighting chance of saving this Test match from a desperate position. Whatever you do, make sure you join me from 4am tomorrow for what promises to be a fascinating day. Thanks for your company throughout.
Neither England nor India are in any rush so this could well be the final over of the day. The fielding team look out on their feet. Prior safely negotiates a maiden from OjhaZaheer continues to experiment from over and around the wicket, mixing up his pace and length. He bangs one in short to Prior, who pulls for a single to get off strike. Cook then leaves the remaining two deliveries in the over. Two overs left in the day, I would sayJack Allum says: "Is that 95 overs of dot balls? That's ridiculous. That's the negativity I don't want to see. Cook gone completely into shell now..." Quite how anyone can criticise Cook is beyond me. It's about survival, JackPace from both ends for India! I'll be surprised if that has happened all match. For once England have passed their trial by spin. Yadav comes on and Cook swiftly turns him for a single. The right-arm paceman finds a bit of late reverse swing back into Prior, but he remains watchful and works a single of his own after another misfieldDhoni turns to Zaheer with time running out on day four. The Sky Sports experts are in agreement that England will have to bat until around tea tomorrow to be safe. The 'Sehwag factor' is an obvious concern when trying to save a game. Prior tucks another single off his pads and Cook repeats the dose to make England effectively 7-5Incredible resolve from Cook here, it really is. He blocks out another maiden from Ojha and England have another 20 minutes to survive todayAfter another drink and another set of gloves (how many gloves do you think Cook goes through a series?) play resumes. Ashwin tries three balls from either side of the wicket, Cook deals with five of them, adding a single, Prior sorts the otherPrior brings the scores level with a scorching extra cover drive to the boundary. "England's plan of making India bat last has worked", says Nasser! Prior then puts England in front with a second boundary in the over, cutting crisply past point. Ohja is under pressure now. Whatever happens, this has been some effort from England to make India bat againI think it's important that Prior stays positive here, that's what has got him and England into this position. He sweeps well for two more, the crowd come to life as Tendulkar fields. England trail by fivePrior comes out of his shell by rocking back and cutting Ojha powerfully through point for another boundary. The deficit is now just eight. What is Dhoni thinking now? Time for Zaheer?A single apiece for Prior and Cook in Ashwin's latest set of six. You can feel the tension around the ground as England inch ever closer to parityGeoff, tuning in from Saudi Arabia, isn't so sure. He says: "Sorry, one more wicket to fall (this evening or early tomorrow) followed by collapse of last four wickets! India to mop up with the few runs needed."Only one run in 18 balls since drinks as Ojha sends down another maiden to Prior. England are digging really deep here and have another 40 minutes to survive today. They trail by 16 runsAshwin beats Cook past the outside edge during another probing maiden. England not sure whether to stick blocking, or twist and hit out. The latter is certainly easier said than done with the ball turning and bouncing out of the roughShort and sweet from Charlie Sanford, who says: "Cook to get 200+ and England to save Test."The first ball after a lengthy drinks break leaps out of a foothole and hits Cook below the ribs. Ojha will like the look of that. Cook shrugs it off and gets back to his work, nudging a single. Prior then survives a huge lbw shout when blocking with bat and pad together. It just struck his pad first and probably would have been overturned by DRS, should it be available...Are England fans starting to believe? Are India fans worried? This partnership, currently worth 114, has certainly given the tourists hope of saving the match. Send in your thoughts to me at Joe.firstname.lastname@example.org and tweet me @skysportsdrabsA cry of anguish from Dhoni as Ashwin lobs up a full toss and then makes a rather tame effort to stop Prior's drive back down the ground, which races for four. Ashwin then finds some more bounce and there is excitement from crowd and players as the ball bounces off Dhoni's glove and away for two byes. Drinks England trail by 17.A first run in 17 balls from Prior! Hoorah! A diving stop at mid-on prevents the boundary. Dhoni, sensing a shift in momentum, brings in an extra catcher around the bat, but the final ball rolls along the floor outside off stumpBack-to-back maidens and India are beginning to apply some pressure here. Cook has now faced over 300 balls - I don't think i've faced that many in my life! A rare error of judgement from Cook last ball as Ashwin gets one to bounce past his flashing blade when attempting a cutOjha beats Prior with an absolute beauty, turning from middle and leg past his outside edge. There was nothing Prior could do about that apart from hope he didn't edge it. He didn't and he is still alive and fighting. Maiden from OjhaThe quick singles continue from Cook and Prior and Ashwin is nearing an unwanted milestone of his own. He has figures of 0-94 from his 35 overs this innings. When will India really start to panic??Ojha starts with a couple of looseners to Prior, the first clinically put away through midwicket by the right-hander to bring up the England 300 and the 100 partnership between these two! Great effort. Prior can't cash in on the second short ball, cutting straight to the boundary-rider on the off side. England trail by 28Yadav replaces Zaheer as Dhoni continues to look for a way to break this increasingly irritating partnership (from an India perspective). Yadav tests Cook with a short ball, but there is no pace in this pitch whatsoever and the left-hander swivels on a pull shot and helps it on its way for four moreEngland continue to run the India fielders ragged. They must be feeling tired now after spending the best part of seven sessions out in the heat. Prior scampers two after a Cook singleNot a lot happening folks, which I guess is good news if you are an England supporter. Zaheer attempts a couple of yorkers at Cook, but he is getting his bat down on everything and India will be starting to get frustrated now. The deficit is only 41Another milestone for Cook, who brings up his 150 with two more runs behind point off Yuvraj. That's his sixth score of 150 or more. Another reserved celebration from the England skipper, who is keeping his side in this, just!Shot! More glorious timing from Cook, who leans on a full delivery from Zaheer and the ball sails along the floor to the extra cover boundary. What an innings this has been. A single will keep him on strike next overA pre-meditated sweep from Prior takes him to his 23rd Test half-century. He raises his bat to near silence and will realise he still has plenty of work to do. Cook then cuts Yuvraj for three more. A three is the last thing he wants you imagine! Deficit down to 50England continue to milk Zaheer with singles either side of the wicket. Cook and Prior have done a great job of silencing the crowdI've just asked Athers his thoughts on the state of play and if England have any chance of saving the match. His reply: "Well if they lose two more wickets this session they are done for. They desperately need a good session here, and if they do get one with Prior at the crease they might score quite freely. Cook has been immense, and india have run out of ideas to him...still a long way to go though: by close they should be slightly ahead, but still 90 overs left in the game and England still would need to bat for three hours minimum. So things very much in India's favour. Good to see some fight though."Yuvraj, who dismissed Prior in a warm-up match in the lead-up to this Test series, gets his first bowl of the innings. Prior puts him under early pressure with two twos through point and then sweeps a full toss for a single to end a rather disappointing opening over from the left-arm 'pie-chucker' - Kevin Pietersen's words, not mine...Zaheer kicks off the evening session and Cook immediately adds to his tally with a single through midwicket. Zaheer attempts a knuckle slower ball to Prior, but the England right-hander waits for it and drives through the covers for a single of his ownMission improbable continues in Ahmedabad as Cook and Prior return to the middle. Can they put England into the lead for the first time in the match??Another session goes by and England are hanging in there! Captain Cook remains key to his side's hopes of saving the game. He is unbeaten on 138 and is playing an absolute gem of an innings. He has found an allay in Prior after Bell and Patel fell to Yadav in successive balls. India, still 66 runs ahead, remain in charge. Stay tuned for updates after the break.Drop! Prior gets a life on the stroke of tea. Padding up to Ojha, the ball comes down off his glove but silly point (sub fielder Rahane) just fails to cling on diving forward. A brilliant effort.Prior will be happy to see Cook face Ashwin's latest over. The England skipper drives purposefully through the covers for two more. A stiff Harbhajan 'chases' it down inside the boundary. One more over to go before tea...Prior has another quiet word with himself after playing and missing with another extravagant cut shot against Ojha. He has a chat with captain Cook at the change of ends. These two need to make tea together and I'm sure that is what they will be sayingMaiden! Prior survives another lbw appeal, this time from Ashwin. He is trying to sweep his way out of trouble and is hit just outside the line of off stump. Clever tactics from England at the end of the over as they call for a change of gloves. They need to slow the momentum and get to tea, which is just under 10mins awayPrior is being put under immense pressure at the moment. He has faced nearly all of the strike in the last 20mins or so. He is hanging in there though and will be on strike at the start of Ashwin's over after yet another singleOwch! Prior crashes a sweep into short-leg's ankle. I can't quite tell who that is under the helmet but that will have hurt! He takes the blow well and England continue with singlesIndia have spread the field for Cook, happy for him to take a single and bring Prior on strike. Edge! Ojha finds Prior's edge but the ball lands just short of Sehwag at slip. Is he too deep? Nasser thinks so. England trail by 72Prior, who is getting a bit bogged down here, sweeps his way out of trouble with a single last ball. He will be back on strike at the start of Ojha's next over. England digging in...Spin from both ends for India now as Ojha and Ashwin look set for a long stint in tandem. Ojha bowls a very probing five balls at Prior, who almost edges an ambitious cut behind. That was too full for that shot and he knows it. A bit of chirp from behind the stumps after that error of judgementAshwin is bowling much flatter to Prior, clearly worried about him advancing and hitting over the top. The England gloveman runs Tendulkar hard and picks up two backward of square after another Cook singleThe ball has been following Zaheer in the field this match somewhat, but quite why he is fielding at backward point I do not know. A misfield from the India veteran sees Prior collect another boundary with a well-struck cut and a single brings up the 50 partnership between these two. The deficit is exactly 80Clever batting from Cook and Prior, who continue to pick up singles in a bid to share the workload. Both men add two singles apiece and I don't think it will be long before Dhoni reverts to spin from both endsGlorious stroke from Prior, skipping down and clipping Ashwin over midwicket for a one-bounce four. Absolutely no risk in that shot and one that will make Dhoni reconsider his field. The partnership is now worth 41Zaheer replaces Yadav after his eye-catching two-wicket spell. The left-armer immediately brings the ball back into Prior, almost trapping him lbw, but an inside edge saves the day. England trail by 96Ravi Ashwin returns in place of Ojha. He offers Cook some width first ball and the England skipper picks up yet another run through his beloved backward point. Prior has to ride some bounce later in the over, but does so with confidence to keep the close-in catchers out of the gameThe new ball has produced nothing out of the ordinary as yet. Yadav continues to steam in and deliver at a lively pace. Prior is enjoying this, though, and continues to milk singles out to the boundary-rider on the off sideDhoni's glovework has been very, erm, ordinary so far in this match. Another half-hearted effort to stop a spinning delivery allows England to scamper a bye. Inside Ojha will be disappointed with that, he would have liked a few balls at the England right-hander thereYadav slides down leg first up and Prior helps the ball on its way to the fine-leg fence. New ball taken. Dhoni calls for the new nut, new cherry, new pill. Any others? Prior leaves the first two deliveries with it and then slams the third through point for four more. Runs are guaranteed when he's in the middle. DrinksA misfield from Yuvraj at midwicket allows Prior to turn for a second run. Can the England wicketkeeper keep his skipper company, until tea at the very least? He has the technique, but the temperament, i'm not so sure...Dhoni delays taking the new ball and Prior gets away at the 11th time of asking, driving a wide delivery from Yadav with an open face through gully for four. A single follows, Cook plays out the over, then heads over for a well-deserved drinkCook continues on his merry way, rocking back and cutting Ojha through point for four more. What a player. Prior remains on nought. He has faced nine deliveries now, almost nicking his latest through to Dhoni. New ball due...Cook safely watches hat-trick ball whizz by outside off stump. Fair play to Yadav, who has proved that seam bowling can work on this pitch. Cook adds another single and Dhoni may now ponder whether or not to take the new ballWhat must Cook be thinking here?! He brings up the England 200 with a single but the game is surely up for the tourists now? Prior, with plenty of company around him, is the new man. He blocks out the rest of Ojha's latest over. Yadav will start again on a hat-trick...Yadav is on now. Dhoni is toying with me! WICKET! This change does the trick! Bell is trapped lbw for 22 by a sharp inswinger. Playing across the line, Bell is hit in front of middle and leg and umpire Hill raises the finger. Sky Sports technology shows that the ball would have been clipping leg stump. It could have gone either way. Patel is in and England still trail by 131 runs. WICKET! Two in two! Patel is pinned lbw first ball! The crowd go wild. That looked leg-side, but umpire Hill raises the finger. England in all sorts now...Another change from Dhoni, i'm struggling to keep up! Ojha is back, but this can't be doing anything for his rhythm. The left-armer promptly drags one down and Bell does not miss out, cutting hard through point for another boundaryZaheer continues, a clue perhaps that when the new ball does arrive, he won't be using it. Bell and Cook look comfortable against his pedestrian pace, the former pushing two through the covers before both batmmen add singlesCook has now faced 221 balls for his unbeaten 112. His concentration levels, as Athers mentioned a lunch, are just incredible. He and Bell both add singles from Ashwin's latest set of sixZaheer continues to get the ball to reverse late back into both batsmen. Bell plays with the movement to pick up a single through square-leg. Cook keeps his bat straight and blocks straight back to the bowler before pinching a single final ball with the India fielders on their toesA third different bowler in a row after lunch as Ashwin replaces Ojha. Bell will be relieved about that. Cook blocks out another maiden. Eight overs until the new ball is due. Nasser has no doubt that India will take itDhoni keeps us all guessing by opening with Zaheer alongside Ojha. The wily left-armer shapes one away and then one in to Cook, the inswinger almost pinning England's opener lbw but an inside edge saves the day and brings him a singleBell continues to struggle against Ojha, playing and missing at two deliveries which spin past his outside edge. There are two slips ready and waiting for an edge. Fine start by Ojha after lunch. MaidenCook and Bell strut back out to the middle. Dhoni has his men in a huddle. England have plenty of work to do...Any questions for the Sky Sports commentary team? Tweet them @skycricket and send me your thoughts @skysportsdrabs and Joe.email@example.com. I am predicting/fearing an England collapse this session...Michael Atherton has been in touch from out in Ahmedabad. Here is his take on the morning session: "Incredible Cook: concentration, stamina, skill. Underpining it all is a confidence in his defensive technique, which is what Kevin Pietersen doesn't have against left-arm spin, hence his curious decision to try and manufacture a sweep agaisnt Ojha, which went on to bowl him around his pads and hit off-stump. Bell looks good so far, and his second ball, nicely driven along the ground through extra cover simply highlighted the madness of his first innings. There is a long way to go..."That brings an end to the morning session and India's left-armers have done the damage so far today. Ojha picked up two wickets in two overs to remove Trott (13) and Pietersen (2) after Zaheer had claimed the breakthrough with the wicket of Compton (37). Captain Cook remains one of England's last hopes and has made history today with a 21st Test century. England still trail by 148 runs. Stay tuned for more updates.Ashwin gifts Cook a full toss which the England skipper whips through midwicket for three more. Bell then adds a single, leaving Cook to block the final ball before lunchA third maiden in a row with England having one eye firmly on lunch. Bell survives a strong lbw appeal from Ojha, who is getting the ball to spin sharply to the right-handers now. Good decision from umpire Dar, it was just turning too muchAshwin returns and Cook, determined to see his side through to lunch, confidently blocks out another maidenHe is the first player EVER to score three centuries in his first three Test matches as captain!The close-in fielders are literally under Bell's nose at the moment. He continues to play Ojha late and with soft hands to repel the danger. MaidenYou get the feeling that Cook is enjoying some pace on the ball. He whips another straight ball from Yadav through midwicket for his 17th boundary. Can Bell keep him company until at least lunch??Dhoni keeps plenty of men around the bat for Cook, despite his opposite number being so well set. Cook continues in his bubble, keeping out the good balls and working singles in his areas. His mental strength is truly remarkableCook steers Yadav past point for a single before Bell puts the bowler through the same region with even more gusto to pick up four. I like Bell's attacking intent here, it's much more controlled than the first innings! England still trail by 157Bell safely plays out a probing maiden from OjhaHundred for Cook! A fantastic effort from the left-hander, his 21st in Test cricket, fifth in the sub-continent and third when England captain. His first when in full-time charge, of course, and he joins Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen as other Englishmen to have made 21 Test hundreds. A reserved celebration from Cook, who knows he still has plenty of work to do for his sideWICKET! Pietersen goes for two! Bowled around his legs by Ojha attempting to sweep! He got that so badly wrong it hit off stump. Left-arm spin once again does for KP and England are in big trouble now after losing two wickets in the space of 13 balls. Bell comes in and will be determined to make amends after his first innings horror show. He starts well enough, driving his second ball faced sweetly through the covers for four before cutting for two moreA single apiece for Cook and Pietersen off Yadav's latest over. Cook is slightly out of control with his uppish drive to the point sweeper with thoughts of the 'you know what' perhaps on his mind...WICKET! The change of ends for Ojha does the trick! Trott has gone for 17 after feathering an edge through to Dhoni. It was the perfect delivery from a left-arm spinner, turning away from the right-hander from round the wicket and catching the edge through to the 'keeper. Pietersen comes out and how England need something special from him here. He gets off the mark with a single down the groundDhoni brings pace back into the attack in the shape of Yadav. After originally operating from over the wicket, he then comes round, and Cook picks off a straight delivery through midwicket and to the boundaryCook edges closer to what would be a quite brilliant century with two more singles off Ashwin, who continues to vary between off-breaks, arm-balls and 'carrom' balls. The England captain, so far, has all the answers as his side move past 150After five successive dots, Ojha asks the question with a flighted delivery outside off stump, but Trott is up to the task and drives sweetly through the covers for another boundaryThe final over before morning drinks is a maiden, bowled by Ashwin. Both sides with take a cool refreshment with England trailing by 187 runsCook moves into the 90s with another single, driven to wide long-on. Trott then finds the boundary rope for the first time today when Ojha drops down a short, wide delivery, which the England right-hander cuts hard to the fenceIndia have stemmed the run-rate very well so far today. Only a Cook single to report from Ashwin's latest overAnswer: It didn't take Dhoni long. Ojha is on after a breakthrough burst from Zaheer. Trott picks an arm ball and flicks it for a couple. The trial by spin continues for England...Better batting from England, who rotate the stike with a couple of singles apiece for Cook and Trott off Ashwin's latest over. Ol' Ravi can expect to get through plenty of bowling todayTrott sees out a maiden from Zaheer. I wonder how long it will take for Dhoni to operate with spin from both ends...Ashwin, who got Trott caught at short leg in the first innings, bowls at the England batsman for the first time today and he has plenty of company around the bat. Just a single added. Absorbing Test cricket in Ahmedabad at the momentNew man Trott gets himself off a pair first ball with a clip through square-leg for a couple. This is a big innings for England's No.3, who is enduring a lean run of form at presentCook looks to take the predigious spin out of the equation by sweeping, and does so to clinical effect by fizzing Ashwin away to the square-leg fence for four more. Good job he hit it, mind you!WICKET! Zaheer gets Compton! Dhoni and India breathe a huge sigh of relief when umpire Hill raises the finger to adjudge Compton lbw for a battling 37. It just pitched in line with the stumps and, with Compton caught on the crease playing across his pad, the decision is fair enough. A breakthrough for India at long last!Huge miss!! A let off for England and Compton as Dhoni fluffs a routine stumping. Compton, advancing to Ashwin, played down the wrong line, was stranded, but Dhoni failed to claim the ball and the England opener returned to his crease. Big chance goes begging for IndiaZaheer continues to mix up his pace, line and length to give Compton a thorough examination. The Somerset man is more than up to the challenge, though, and adds a singleSpin, big spin on show early for Ashwin here. Compton survives a strong lbw appeal - the ball is just doing too much - and England scamper a leg bye. Both batsmen also add singles but real encouragement for Ashwin that overShort, wide, four! Cook picks up where he left off last night with a crisp cut shot through backward point for four. Zaheer is furious with himself for feeding Cook in an area he lovesCaptain Cook adds England's first run of the morning with a single off AshwinZaheer kicks off the day's play with a maiden to Compton. The pitch remains extremely flat, for now, and you can expect spin to do once again cause the England batsmen the most problemsI'm keen to hear your thoughts/opinions/predictions on today's play. Nasser Hussain believes England will have to bat for another four and a half sessions to save the game. Can they do that? Cook is 74*, Compton 34*. Get in touch via e-mail to Joe.firstname.lastname@example.org and tweet me @skysportsdrabsA warm welcome to you all from wherever you are joining me from today. A reminder that England will resume shortly on 111-0, still trailing India by 219 runsWelcome to interactive text commentary from day four of the first Test at Ahmedabad