India v England commentary
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Last Updated: 26/11/12 5:28am
Superb performance. Panesar and Swann completely outbowled Ashwin, Harbhajan and Ojha while Pietersen and Cook set the platform with a partnership of undoubted brilliance. Even the new boy Compton made his mark with an impressively swift 30 not out in the run-chase to prevent things getting even remotely nervy at te last.
Compton crashes Ashwin through point for four before a ball fired down the legside evades Dhoni for four byes that seal a 10-wicket victory for England. They've been superb, and that result fully reflects their dominance here.Cook and Compton picking these runs off easily. India going through the motions, just seven runs required as England's new opening pair register their third successive partnership of 50 or more.Cook misses another sweep but he's way outside the line this time as the ball bounces away off his boot for a leg-bye. Compton picks up a run on the legside before Cook almost drags the ball into his stumps attempting another sweep.Harbhajan into the attack. Cook drives him down the ground for three before quick feet from Compton allow him to drive down to long-on for a leisurely single. Big lbw appeal against Cook on the sweep, but he's got just outside the line and then nurdles the last ball into the legside for a single.Cracking shot from Compton, dancing down the wicket to Ojha and keeping his head still and over the ball to cream it straight back over the bowler's head for a flat six. This is the way to deal with a small run-chase. Abu Dhabi: Don't.Three singles from the first three balls of Ashwin's over before a short ball is cut away by Cook for three more. Just 26 more needed now.Excellent from England's openers. They've taken away any chance of this becoming fraught. A sleepy nation thanks them.Good this from Compton, batting to the situation in just his second game, whipping the ball through midwicket for four and then reverse-sweeping for four more despite almost yorking himself. England desperate to avoid a repeat of the Abu Dhabi Incident, when their policy for chasing a low total appeared to be 'block everything and hope the target changes'.Nick Compton's plan clear here. The easiest time to bat is going to be the first few overs before the lacquer comes off the ball. He's down the track to Ojha's first ball but miscues it. Repeats the trick two balls later and clubs the ball past mid-off for four. A legside nurdle brings a single. That Cook sweep in the last over: definitely hit it, not sure it carried to short-leg. But if that was the query they'd surely have gone to the third umpire. Think they might've got the right decision for the wrong reason.Lovely start for England. R Ashwin's first ball skids low and through Dhoni's legs as Cook shoulders arms. Three body parts in the space of five words there; beat that. Four in 11 if you're being base. Four byes there, and Cook adds four more with a slashed cut between slip and gully. They've no chance of catching that. There was an appeal for a bat-pad catch earlier in the over as Cook tried to sweep, and the replays suggest he might well have got a feather on it. But the umpires have been missing far clearer edges than that this morning and Tony Hill doesn't see this one.Part one of the day's task done in acceptable fashion by England in a faintly odd 45 minutes of cricket in which Alastair Cook didn't post attacking fields, Gambhir batted as if India had 27 wickets rather than the traditional 10 and the umpires continue their series-long bid to make the case for DRS overwhelming.No red-inker for Gambhir as Tony Hill joins in the umpiring errorfest by giving India's opener out leg-before despite a healthy inside edge. Swann and Panesar have 19 wickets between them and have been quite, quite brilliant. India's batting and the umpiring, not so much. England need 57 runs to level the series at 1-1 with two to play.This is the first time since the 1950s that England spinners have taken 18 wickets in a Test match. Since Anderson got Gambhir with the second ball of the match there hasn't been a single wicket for a seamer. The lead creeps up to 55 with a leg-bye, and Gambhir gets a single from ball five as he shows some awareness of the match situation for the first time this morning.Ojha scampers a single to get off strike and Swann then rips the ball past Gambhir's outside edge.Ojha swipes to leg for a single before Gambhir scampers back for two runs from the fifth ball of the over. It's telling because: a) the second run isn't really on, Ojha would've been out with a direct hit, and b) it shows Gambhir's willingness to get himself off strike.Gambhir plays out a maiden from Swann. He's not exactly looking to push things on. Well as he's played, he's looking after number one here. Great replays of the England players after that Ojha 'catch' in the last over. An impressive range to their open-mouthed astonishment.Three men round the bat, everyone else on the boundary for Gambhir. Pretty clear what England want him to do, and sure enough he takes a single first ball. Playing for a red-inker here. Ojha survives a big leg-before shout and then clubs a defiant boundary down the ground for four to take the lead to 50. Shocking decision! Aleem Dar has had a really bad game here, and he's got another one wrong here. Ojha gets a huge inside edge on to his pad, and the ball pops up to Swann at leg-gully. England barely appeal so obvious is the dismissal and are almost heading for the pavilion before they realise Aleem Dar is shaking his head.Big leg-before shout against Ojha first ball as the ball spins past the bat and into the back leg, but it's done too much. Missing off, and a good decision from Tony Hill. Ojha survives a maiden over. Gambhir surely has to play some shots now; not easy, but Ojha won't be around for long.Panesar completes the second part of his job for the over, preventing Gambhir from collecting a single (the batsmen crossed while the ball was in the air) so Swann has a left-handed number 11 in his sights.Nine down, the lead just 45, as Zaheer grows weary of playing and missing at Panesar and aims for cow corner. He succeeds only in sending the ball swirling high, high, high into the Mumbai sky. Prior shoos everyone else away as gravity kicks in, and takes the catch comfortably. Good from Prior: that catch so much easier for the man with the big mitts on. Eleven wickets in the match for Panesar, Gambhir now on the verge of carrying his bat.Gambhir takes the early single again. There is now a silly-point in place for Zaheer, which is not silly at all, but he gets away from the strike as the ball comes off the shoulder of his defensive bat but finds the gap between short-leg and leg slip.Gambhir happy to take a nurdled single early in the over and trust Zaheer to cope with Panesar. The number 10 justifies the faith on this occasion, but I'm not sure it's a plan with a long-term future.Zaheer Khan blocks out the last couple of balls of the over. The last block went quickly and off the face of the bat, but in the air towards the conspicuous and undeniably baffling gap at silly point.Just the start for England. Big spin and bounce for Swann from short of a length and Harbhajan tries to bail out of the cut shot he's embarked on. Too late, though, and he ends up punching the ball tamely to Jonathan Trott at slip as the ball rears at the batsman. The Dangerous Harbhajan (his official and correct title with bat in hand) a danger no longer.Harbhajan Singh makes his intentions clear, slogging the first ball of the morning from Monty Panesar over mid-off for four. That's enough for Cook to put the fielder three parts of the way back to the boundary; don't mind that, he's a legitimate catching option if that's how Harbhajan will play. The second ball spins past the outside edge before a short ball is steered to deep point for a single. Panesar's first ball to the left-handed Gambhir is all wrong: short, down the legside and helped on its way to the fine-leg boundary. The lead bets that bit bigger, English fingernails get that bit shorter as 10 runs come from the first over of the day.Australia were bowled out for 90-odd chasing 103 to win here in 2004. It's the match perhaps most famous for Michael Clarke's 6-9 in India's second innings. That's what India have to cling to, but a hundred-run lead looks a long, long way away.Morning all. Yesterday was one of the most staggering days of cricket you could ever wish to see, and a reminder once again that Test cricket is... and that is what I want. If there actually were people having the debate about what the best format is, this would've been the day to settle it. Today is unlikely to be a long day, but it could still be an enthralling, nerve-shredding one if Gautam Gambhir and the tail can somehow extend India's lead - currently an inadequate 31 - into three figures and then try and bring England's spin demons to the surface. I'm sure none of us need reminding what happened in Abu Dhabi.