India v England commentary
Follow the match with Sky Sports' live text commentary
Last Updated: 17/12/12 9:54am
Don't let the vaguely farcical conclusion to this match cloud what matters. This is a sensational performance from England. After a heavy defeat in the first Test in Ahmedabad, England hit back in Mumbai and Kolkata with two of the very best Test performances they have ever produced on the sub-continent. Alastair Cook was one month old when England last won a Test series in India. No touring side has won here since a handy Australian side did so in 2004. A sensational and utterly unexpected start to Cook's reign as full-time Test skipper.
Genuinely filthy stuff from Gambhir here. A high full-toss followed by a half-tracker before another high full-toss. All are knocked away carefully for singles. Red-inkers on the minds. A delay after the fifth ball just to make sure they don't have to go through the unpleasantness of another over, and a Bell forward defensive concludes proceedings. England have won the series 2-1. Superb performance.Bell freeing up now in the closing moments of this match. Why not? Take these free, easy runs. Two drives, through extra-cover and mid-off, bring boundaries before the last ball of the over is nurdled past leg slip to bring four more. Four more minutes until England can declare and celebrate series victory.This is more like it. With Bell's hundred in the books, on come the comedy bowlers. Gautam Gambhir bowls an over of... well it says leg-breaks here. He bowls an over. Let's just leave it at that.Four dot balls to keep the nerves jangling before Ashwin stuffs a ball down the legside to give Bell an easy put-away for his century. Bell completes three runs as the ball runs away towards the fine-leg boundary and can at last celebrate his 17th Test hundred. The really hard work was done in the first 90 minutes of the innings yesterday evening. Today has been about concentration, focus, and collecting your reward. Bell - and Trott before him - have certainly done that. Three more overs at a guess before we can all go back to bed.Bell works to leg for a single to reach 99 before Root adjust smartly to dab the ball wide of slip for two runs. Got himself a bit squared up there and had to make amends with his hands. Did so nicely.Nimble footwork from Bell, jumping onto the back foot and giving himself room to place a short ball from Ashwin past cover for two runs. Almost joins Dhoni in the "run out in the 90s club" but gets home after taking a terrible single to square-leg. Well out with a direct hit, but the throw is wide. With no milestone to worry about and first-innings runs in the book, Root batting without a care in the world as he reverse-sweeps superbly past short third-man for four. Played that shot in the first innings as well, but absolutely nails this one.Bell eases Jadeja through the covers off the back foot for three runs to move to 95. Too quickly, Belly, too quickly. You're going to leave us with five even more pointless overs to watch at this rate.Bell into the 90s with a clip through square-leg for two and moves within eight runs of a century by adding a single. Minimum seven overs remaining.Another Jadeja maiden. Eight overs for Bell to get 11 runs if Cook's feeling ruthless...Eleven runs needed for Bell. Imagine if he's 99 not out when England can bring the curtain down on the game. What does Cook do?India getting through their overs now, looking to get the remaining total down to 15 for the last over; still 10 to go as the over-rate plummeted after the first hour of the day.Two singles from the over. Time for Dhoni to liven things up a bit. Bring on a joke bowler. In all seriousness, I'm not sure why Kohli hasn't bowled a single over of his filthy medium-pace-off-the-wrong-foot dobbers. Might just hoodwink someone. Couldn't do any harm.Root opens the face to guide the ball behind point and collect an easy two runs. Test runs won't all be this straightforward, young Joe.Just a single from Ashwin's first post-tea over, worked to leg by Root.A maiden for Jadeja after tea.Hurrah for Ian Bell, who is making sure his century takes us right up to the point where this game can be put out of its misery. At least that way there's something, however trifling, to occupy us. He needs 13 runs, and has plenty enough talent to make sure that takes 50 minutes after the break. Test cricket is rarely worse than when a game is destined for an inevitable draw, but let's not let ennui detract from England's achievement here. To win a series in India is some feat; to do it from one Test down is truly sensational.Another maiden over, and that will be tea.Even Bell's desire to reach a hundred cannot overcome Jadeja's powerful ability to bowl maiden overs of non-spinning spin. I don't know the science of it, but it must be down to the hair in some way.Easy game, this Test cricket. Sit with the pads on for 80 overs watching others bat, stride out with a cap on, slog-sweep the ball over the midwicket ropes for six. Root moves ahead of Trott in the list of Test-match six-hitters.After this Test, Jadeja will be very nearly as famous for bowling maiden overs as he will for his magnificent hair. Ah, who am I kidding. Nothing will ever come close to the hair.Joe Root finally gets his chance for a bat after 78 overs with the pads on watching Trott and Bell do their thing. He gets a single first ball after defending to cover, and Bell adds another with a punch to mid-off.Well that was unexpected. Ball bowled way down the legside by Ashwin, and Trott plays it straight off the face of the bat to leg-slip where Kohli takes a smart catch. Something rather fitting about Ashwin and Kohli getting Trott, but the 143 runs mean it's something of a hollow victory.Having brought up the 200 partnership with a six over long-off, Bell brings up England's 300 with a four over mid-on. Doesn't get all of this but safely clears the fielder to move within 14 runs of a century.Trott plays and misses against Chawla. Before you start rubbing your eyes in disbelief, he then works the ball through the legside for three to restore the balance to the force.Bell's just about scoring slowly enough to make his century something of a race against time. 'Race' probably the wrong word there, but you get the point. This will help, though, as he proves once and for all that it's easier to hit your 236th ball down the ground for six than your first by depositing Jadeja over long-off in fine style. Also brings up the 200 partnership.Trott's now scored 1000 Test runs this year. Yes, England have played a lot of matches but it's still a telling stat given that he's had a frustrating 12 months really. Bell 24 runs short of a century now as he nurdles Chawla through square-leg. This match and pitch can be accurately summed up by the total score: 944/22 off 419.5 overs.Jadeja into the attack. But the identity of the bowler matters not to Trott, who continues to pump half-volleys and long-hops alike through the legside for ones, threes and fours. This time it's a half-volley and a four.Drop! First chance of the day, and Sehwag puts it down as Bell cuts hard at Chawla but can only edge the ball fast but chest height to slip. Given how tall he stands at slip, that should be literally playing into Sehwag's hands, but the ball cannons off his chest and into the turf.Ojha tosses up a half-volley on off stump. Trott says ta muchly and splits mid-on and midwicket - again - to pick up four more.After a sight we've seen a hundred times - Trott working to leg for a single - one we've hardly seen at all as Chawla gets one to grip, spin and bounce past Bell's outside edge and confirm that Dhoni is indeed still awake behind the shades and helmet grille.Bell clips a straight ball from Ojha behind square for a single before Trott once again finds the gap between mid-on and midwicket to collect three. He's done that time and time again.With the drinks break again proving interminable, here's Mike Atherton on the scale of England's success in this series: "A significant achievement. The stats are slightly misleading in that England have only played 11 Tests here since 1984 and have actually played pretty well on their last two tours, drawing in 2006 and they should have drawn in 2008. Nevertheless, nobody finds it easy to win here, as judged by the fact that nobody has since 2004 when a very good Australian team won here. So well done England, especially since they lost the first Test after which it would have been easy to panic and lose a little faith. Outstanding contributions from key players - Cook, Pietersen, Anderson, Prior and the two spinners. I'd highlight Cook's hundreds in Ahmedabad and Mumbai, and Panesar's first innings bowling at Kolkata, as vital."Even Chawla getting in on the maiden act now. And that will be drinks. The car drives onto the outfield. Expect at least three Indian fielders to try and get in before it drives off.Even now the maidens continue to rack up.Trott showing no sign of growing bored with scoring runs. For statistical neatness, I would now like Trott to score another 50 runs and get out for 173, thus giving him 3000 Test runs at precisely 50 apiece. Forty-six more needed now as Trott guides the ball behind point as Chawla offers up a wide half-volley.Easy as 123 for Trott as he once again works the ball through the legside for three runs as the ball is hauled in just inside the rope. Trott's timing through the legside is a thing of wonder. Bell is now batting in a cap for people who like that sort of thing. (Like me.) Trott has now scored 2950 Test runs at an average of exactly 50 for people who like that sort of thing. (Like me.)Don't know why India are moaning about this pitch; 2-1's better than 3-1. Bell picks up two with a wristy legside flick.Two singles from Ojha's over. Drifty meandering drifty-drift.Trott trots a single. This game all about the clock now.There have been 118 overs. Trott has 118 runs. I have an inexplicable yet powerful urge to phone directory enquiries.Lovely stuff from Bell. When he bats like this you wonder how he could ever possibly struggle to score runs. Chawla put away for successive boundaries through the offside, first off the back foot and then off the front. India's players look like they would just quite like to get off the field now.Maiden over from Ojha. It's the 118th maiden of the match.Rank long-hop from Chawla. Bell tries to smash it over midwicket... and cue-ends it about two yards into the offside. Two singles from the over. Host broadcaster showing more crowd shots than cricket shots; always a sign of a game meandering to an inevitable conclusion.Trott works to leg for yet another single before Bell almost takes Sehwag's lip off with a bottom-edged cut shot that bounces up and has the slip fielder taking evasive action.Width from Chawla, and Trott steers it into a gap past point for an easy single. Bell plays a more aggressive cut shot but hits it straight at point.Jon Berry: "Do you think there is any chance of an England declaration in order to go for the kill, or just bat the day out comfortably?" No chance. You could just about imagine them declaring at tea to have a go at India's top order, but on this pitch it seems a plan of little value. Let the batsmen pad their stats and make India stew in the field.The final hour of this Test will begin at 1000 GMT (assuming India manage to trudge through their overs at 15 an hour). At any point in the final hour the two captains can shake hands on a draw, so if they are still batting England can declare at 9.50am UK time to bring a halt to the game, assuming Dhoni doesn't fancy an attempt to chase 380 in 15 overs.A gift from Chawla to start the afternoon session. Loopy, gentle full-toss and Trott smites it past midwicket for four runs. That takes the partnership to 150, and Trott adds three more as a leg-stump half-volley is clipped away without much fuss.Our man in Nagpur, Mike Atherton: "The ICC should take some action over this pitch. There's no way any self-respecting team would be bowled out twice on this."The draw now just 1/200 at Sky Bet after that wicketless morning. In markets that still contain some live interest, Trott is evens to be the next man out (Bell 8/11) while it's 6/4 that Bell gets to three-figures. Head to skybet.com for in-play betting.Perfect morning for England, who can enjoy the last two sessions of this match knowing the series is in the bag. Main point of order now is really whether Bell can follow his Warwickshire team-mate Trott to three-figures. India's dwindling over-rate in that session a bellwether for their chances; 18 overs in the hour before drinks including a spell for Ishant Sharma; 13 overs of spin in the hour after. Tendulkar, meanwhile, is off the field with a neck/shoulder injury we're told.Four balls into Ashwin's over, Dhoni decides he wants a short-leg. This necessitates the finding of a helmet. This process takes two or three minutes. By complete coincidence, that is just long enough for the clock to tick round and make this the last over before lunch. Bell tucks the long-awaited fifth ball of the over to fine-leg for two runs.Maybe two more overs left now for England to complete the morning they wanted. From nowhere there's almost a wicket as Chawla spins one past Trott's outside edge to flick the back pad. Good lbw shout, but perhaps just sliding past the off stump. Marginal.These two did some hard graft yesterday. Their reward today is some lovely, straightforward Test runs. Neither looks minded to pass up said reward. Three singles off Ashwin's over. Little is done to prevent them.Bell plays out a maiden from Chawla. Even if India take seven wickets in the next two overs, they will have to score at four an over to win the match. Tendulkar, meanwhile, still hasn't returned to the field since going off at drinks.It would have been mildly amusing had Trott been dismissed for 103, adding an extra layer of chuckles to that four off Jadeja's mystery ball yesterday. But it's not to be as another ball is plonked away on the legside for a single.Trott drives a loopy half-volley from Chawla through short-cover's hands for four and then whips a straight ball wide of mid-on for four more to reach an excellent century. The ideal man for this situation, and a welcome return to century-scoring form after a mildly worrying run of getting in and getting out over the last 12 months. Fine effort. Four more through a fielder's legs to end the over, although less blame attached here as Bell gets a bottom edge on a cut shot that gives Dhoni no chance.Bell plays out a maiden from Ashwin. India bereft of hope, inspiration and purpose. So many runs out there for these two now; only a lapse in concentration can dismiss them it seems.Chawla into the attack. Still bowling leg-spin, alas. Bell steers a short ball to the man on the point boundary for a leisurely single.Bell crunches Ashwin past a diving mid-on to bring four runs and a fine half-century. Its importance to this match is obvious, and if he can go on and double it up (no reason at all why he shouldn't) then it removes a potentially ticklish question for the selectors to ponder when selecting the party to tour New Zealand.Trott's legside play off both front and back foot has been exemplary in this innings, and he latches on to a half-volley from Ojha to work it with a bit of bottom hand between midwicket and mid-on for four.Trott glances to fine-leg for a single as he gurns and nurdles and aggravates his way into the 90s. England have negotiated 100 overs in their second innings. India shouldn't get too hung up on the pitches in this series; to do so would be to overlook their own failings and England's superiority. But I think Dhoni and co are entitled to wonder why they've been given a pitch where fifth-day batting is so facile in a match they need to win.I hope you can still read this through the tears of laughter. Bell plays out a maiden from Ojha.England can't be certain of victory until Piyush Chawla bowls a little bit of seam up: the series isn't over until the fat leggie swings.After another leisurely drinks break involving much sitting around and the sight of Sachin Tendulkar trudging off the field, play is back under way. Bell paddles Ashwin for a single before Trott nurdles away fine on the legside for two as Ishant runs round from long-leg to field. My next update is going to be the worst joke ever told. Look forward to that.Can't really see how this first hour could've gone much better for England. No wickets, no alarms and a perfectly acceptable 45 runs added to the increasingly secure lead. Time for drinks.Not all that often that batsmen have the opportunity to just bat for personal milestones with no concern for the match situation. This is one such, and it's no surprise to see Trott taking full advantage. That man loves to bat, unlike all those other batsmen who don't really much care for it. He works a single off the pads and, after Bell does the same, punches one away with a bit more intent and picks up two. He's just 13 away from a century now.Astonishing split-screen pictures of this pitch on day one and day five. The main body of the pitch - where it hasn't been scratched up by bowlers or Trott taking his guard looks utterly identical. An astonishing wicket for a match India had to win; they should - and in the past would and have - served up surfaces like this from Mumbai onwards and bored their way to a 1-0 win.Good from Ashwin, beating Trott's outside edge with one that slides straight on from around the wicket. Always think offies should go round the wicket more to right-handers; opens up both edges of the bat and makes lbw a real contender when the ball spins. The next one does indeed spin, but - as has been the case for much of this innings - it's too short from Ashwin and Trott is able to rock back and turn it away for a signle. Bell adds two with a pushed drive through cover as the bowler over-corrects. Two-hundred up for England.Trott whips a leg-stump half-volley through midwicket for three. Huge cheers from the Indian fans. I initially thought they were surprisingly excited about England's lead passing 200, and then realised the man running round from deep square-leg to do the fielding was Sachin.Ashwin into the attack, and I use the word attack quite incorrectly there. Bell drives him gloriously and effortlessly through mid-off for four. That's the hundred partnership, and it's one that has now surely sealed the deal for England.Ojha goes wide on the crease and finds the inside half of Bell's bat, but the ball just trickles away harmlessly into the legside for a single.JADEJA TURNS ONE. Beats Trott's outside edge. Maybe that justifies Trott in the first innings and KP in this one playing for the turn. (It doesn't.)Ojha drifts one down the legside and Bell helps it on its way to the fine-leg boundary with a fine paddle-sweep. Sleep soundly in your beds, cricket fans of England with work to go to: this is done.Trott drives Jadeja to mid-on, where Ashwin dives over the ball as it races away for four. Can't tell from his face, but one suspects Trott might have rather enjoyed that after last night's antics.Spin at both ends now as Pragyan Ojha comes into the attack and starts with a maiden. Does get away with a rank full-toss that Bell miscues to cover. Bell might just be relieved not to have hit it to the man on the full. The shin-high full-toss has been a wicket-taking delivery during this series. Maybe worth the gamble in this situation...Trott plays out a maiden over from Jadeja. Seven overs negotiated with minimal fuss.The seeming futility of India's efforts here summed up as Ishant finds Bell's outside edge but sees it bounce pathetically short of the sole slip fielder before the last ball of the over - an attempted bang-in ball - just about crawls up to chest height to be smashed through midwicket for four.Host broadcaster showing us plenty of shots of Sachin Tendulkar this morning. Will we see him bat again today? And, if so, will it be the Little Master's final walk to the crease in Test cricket? He's had a horrible series, with even the 76 he made in Kolkata an innings where he was, in Big Ron's memorable phrase, "playing from amnesia". Trott, meanwhile, is ending this series in decent nick after an iffy start and adds four more with a glorious drive between bowler and mid-on as Jadeja overpitches.So far, so good for England as Ishant oversteps again before Bell crunches a boundary through the offside off the back foot and then pulls hard to deep square-leg for a single. Trott steers the ball to third-man to retain the strike.First up, apologies to Kevin who as he points out raised this issue yesterday just before various pieces of technology decided they'd seen quite enough of this Nagpur Test. I put it down to the imminent end of the world. Anyway, he's researched it himself, and here are Kevin's findings: "Moments after you raised my question about initials the lights went out and the commentary went dead. Was it some type of serious tedium download (or STD) that caused this? Anyway I undertook my own research and riveting stuff it is. The English county player with the most initials is good old John Dwyer who played for Sussex in the early 1900's. Full name was John Elicius Benedict Bernard Placid Quirk Carrington Dwyer. He was born in Australia if that has any bearing. The world record holding cricketer is a Sri Lankan, one Mr. Bandara or more properly A.R.R.A.P.W.R.R.K Bandara. My question, however, related to Test Match players and again the winner is, as you guessed, Sri Lankan. He is U.W.M.B.C.A Welegedara. There I trust that will make everyone sit up and take notice."Jadeja continues with the new ball. Trott plays out a maiden.Amused to read R Ashwin's quotes last night. I've a lot of time for Ashwin as a cricketer, but claiming that Trott was against the spirit of cricket to whack a ball for four that he was entitled to whack for four on an afternoon when India's players lost it with opponents and umpires about a perfectly correct decision was a bit odd. Even more amused to hear that Indian newspapers are apparently claiming that replays and snicko showed Trott hit the caught-behind shout off Ishant that sparked the controversy when they in fact showed the exact opposite. Anyway, Ishant Sharma with the new ball, and Trott punches him neatly and tidily wide of mid-on for three runs. Ishant over steps to take England's lead to 170. That's two sessions' worth of runs in this Test. Time running out fast for India.Trott works Jadeja away into the legside for a single, and Ian Bell misses out on a short ball as he cuts it straight to point.Sky Bet offer just 1/12 for this match to end in a draw, with England 10/1 and India now the outsiders of the three at 14s. Trott is even money to convert his overnight 66 into a three-figure score. A few more deliveries like the mystery ball Ravi Jadeja bowled him yesterday will do the trick.Let us know your thoughts on this potentially historic day for England - mails to Dave.Tickner@bskyb.com please.England start day five here on 161/3 with an overall lead of 165. Given that no more than 85 runs have been scored in any session of this Test match, you'd have to think that they would have to be bowled out before lunch for India even to have the chance to put the frighteners on the tourists. We shall see. In the last hour-and-a-half yesterday, Trott and Bell found run-scoring as easy as anyone has during the match as India's attack tired and started expending an awful lot of energy getting cross with England's number three. There's a new ball available after the first over today as well, which may cause something to happen.Apparently last night there was some show or other celebrating the British sporting highlights of 2012. There have been a few, I suppose, but cricket has been conspicuous by its absence. Until now. Barring something extraordinary on the final day in Nagpur, Alastair Cook's side are going to win a Test series in India and will at the very least be able to look Wiggins, Ennis, Murray and the rest in the eye when looking back at 2012. It's been one special, special year of British sport; this would be a fine finishing touch.