NAGPUR: Those who had continued to doubt England’s facility for turning up when really required were silenced emphatically on Sunday. Equally muted at the Jamtha stadium here was the bunch of session-by-session local turncoats, who had spent three days oscillating between hope and despair before it was decided with finality – on the fourth day – that a won match and saved series was beyond India.
At close of play England had a lead of 165 with seven wickets remaining, three sessions away from completing the formality of an epochal victory on Indian soil. Undertaking their second innings following a crawling, clueless first hour from India, England overcame a series of shocking dismissals before Jonathan Trott (66*) and Ian Bell (24*) - by means of an invaluable fourth-wicket partnership of 67 - careered them closer to a position where defeat was ruled out .
But it's still not all over. Since the pitch is still unresponsive to any kind of bowling, India’s last remaining hope is for England to cave under the pressure of anticipation on the last morning and allow them one last tilt at a target for a series-equaling win. It is to this very prospective target that Trott and Bell added brisk increments of immense value in the concluding session on Sunday, after extended phases of listless cricket had threatened to bore the life out of the contest.
Not that England would have minded that, their only concern was preventing an India victory and winning the series. The home team’s approach, however, was inexplicably laggard. Resuming 33 behind and eight-down in the morning, India consumed 62 precious minutes for 29 runs through R. Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, finally declaring four behind on 326/9. It may well be this lost hour that India come to rue if – and a very big ‘if’ at that – they are able to dismiss England in time and gun for a target on Monday, the last day of the series that cause the earth to move beneath BCCI's feet.
Beginning their second essay four runs ahead, the visitors were intent on killing time, and were doing so commendably before a series of shockers pegged them back. First was the howler that ICC Umpire of the Year Kumar Dharamasena handed Cook – the batsman’s second poor call of the match. The England captain had ground out 93 deliveries for 13 when he was declared caught behind off Ashwin – the ball nowhere near the outside edge although bat hitting ground did generate a sound.
Then departed fellow opener Nick Compton. Denis’ grandson had been rather more assertive than usual in his 34 and held his own almost until tea. At the stroke of the interval he fell leg-before to Pragyan Ojha . The decision, as it stood, was a poor one by Rod Tucker, as the batsman had inside-edged on to the pads, but since the ball had ballooned up and was caught at slip, Compton would have been out anyway were DRS in place.
Pietersen’s wicket would have sent shivers up England’s spine and flutters of hope up India’s. The No.4 batsman’s low sharp chance was put down by Virender Sehwag at slip. Fortunately for India, the miss did not cost much. An over later Pietersen shouldered arms to a ball from Jadeja that did not turn and casually clipped the outside of off stump for the softest of dismissals. The visitors led by 98 then, seven wickets remaining and with almost 20 overs to go in the day. Another wicket at that juncture would have swung the pendulum India’s way. But new man Ian Bell had apparently come to the crease under firm instructions, which he would have likely whispered into the ears of Jonathan Trott.
England surge ahead
Trott had opened his account with a boundary against Ashwin. He followed it up with a cut and flick off Ojha and also biffed a four off a delivery that slipped from Jadeja's hand. The ball bounced several times before Trott skipped up to it and dispatched it mercilessly to the fence, much to the amusement of all on the field. He survived a huge appeal for caught behind against Ishant Sharma when he missed an attempted cut. MS Dhoni and the bowler went up spontaneously and loudly, but were denied by Dharamsena. In the paceman’s next over, Trott pinged a full delivery past mid-off for another boundary to reach 49 and then brought up a half-century with a single on the next ball.
He lived through another loud shout for leg-before against Ashwin – a inside edge saving him on this occasion – and was then warned by the bowler for backing up too far. Trott survived again when his leading edge fell just short of Ojha as he tried to work the bowler across the line. It was a heated final half hour of play, England adamant on not losing a wicket, India dying to get one. And they almost did. Ian Bell was undone by sharp turn from Ashwin and a genuine edge raced through the vacant slip – who had just been repositioned to gully – and to the boundary.
India added 29 in 13 overs when play began. Ashwin was content to decline singles and farm the strike. Ojha was unable to get the ball away. On two occasions word arrived from the dressing room, but nothing broke the standstill exercise that was being carried out in the middle. This was all very well for England, who would have gladly accepted a tedious draw as a favourable result.
They tried little to remove the batsmen from the crease and even when Monty Panesar bowled Ojha for his first wicket in almost 50 overs, celebrations were rather muted. India’s approach was inexplicable. They neither went for quick runs, nor an early declaration, the lack of planning perhaps symbolic of the overall state of Indian cricket.
England on the verge of history
The visitors lead by 165 as a draw looms in the Nagpur Test.Yahoo! Cricket – Sun 16 Dec, 2012 4:40 PM IST
- HYD won by 5 wkts.vs. KOLHYDMatch 72Sun, May 19, 2013Hyderabad, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
- vs. PAKSCO2nd ODIMatch abandonedSun, May 19, 2013Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPakistan in Scotland ODI S...
- PUN won by 38 runsvs. DELPUNMatch 71Sun, May 19, 2013Pune, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
- No live matches are in progress.
MORE TOP STORIES TODAY
[ROUND-UP] Trio may apply for bail. More » Rajasthan file police complaint against tainted players
We take a look at the highest wicket-takers in the Indian Premier League. (TAG:CYCSPL) More » Who has taken the most IPL wickets?
Bookies have relied on 'gullible' players who've failed to make it big. More » 'Disillusioned' players on Police radar
"Warner is alleged to have breached Rule 6: Unbecoming Behaviour, regarding comments posted on his Twitter account," CA said in a statement. More » Hearing set for Warner over Twitter rant
James Anderson showed why it is so important for the hosts he remains fit for the Ashes with a first innings haul at Lord's of five for 47. More » Anderson confirms Ashes worth in Kiwi rout
Sreesanth had plans to party all night “with as many women as possible” on May 15, the Delhi Police have said. More » Delhi Police reveal Sreesanth's wild party side
Hyderabad enter the play-offs on the back of a nervous five-wicket win over Kolkata. More » Sunrisers draw the blinds on RCB
The NZ captain has faith in his batsmen after an "hour of madness" cost the team dear at Lord's. More » McCullum backs New Zealand batsmen
Warriors avoid last-place finish with big win in last game. More » Pune banish Delhi to the bottom
Stuart Broad bowled England to victory in the first Test as New Zealand suffered a dramatic fourth-day collapse at Lord's on Sunday. More » Broad leads England rout of NZ
One of the rooms was used by Sreesanth and the second one was used by his friend Jiju Janardhanan More » Both rooms booked by Sreesanth
[ROUND-UP] Srinivasan refuses to blame the IPL; Shukla promises strong punishments. More » Cash, laptop seized from Sreesanth's room
Australia opening batsman David Warner will face a disciplinary hearing for his Twitter outburst against two senior Australian cricket journalists. More » Warner to face disciplinary hearing
Rajasthan Royals will file a police complaint against its three players arrested for spot fixing while the BCCI set up a panel to probe the scandal, board president N. Srinivasan announced. More » Rajasthan to slap charges against players, BCCI sets up probe panel
England captain Alastair Cook was satisfied with his team's performance after they beat New Zealand by 170 runs in a fluctuating first test at Lord's on Sunday. More » Cook happy with Eng's performance
Spot-fixing Scandal: No decision on life ban yet, Royals to file case against tainted trio More » Srinivasan: We can’t control bookies
Man-of-the-match Stuart Broad routed New Zealand on Sunday but insisted "attack leader" James Anderson was the man behind a thumping England first Test win at Lord's. More » Broad salutes 'leader' Anderson
To say the least, I am shocked to learn that Sreesanth, my India teammate, is allegedly involved in the most heinous act that a sportsman can commit. More » Gambhir: Trio should be punished
New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) Three more people have been arrested in the Indian Premier League spot fixing case, Delhi Police said Sunday, taking the number of arrested to 18, including India fast bowler S. … More » Ex-Ranji player arrested for IPL scam
RCB prevail in curtailed, eight-over shootout at the Chinnaswamy. More » Bangalore hammer Chennai, stay alive
Tim Southee bowled the Kiwis back with a dramatic late burst on Saturday. More » Southee treble rocks England
Hyderabad, May 19 -- If the Indian T20 League were a drama, the Sunrisers Hyderabad would be its standout artist. For, at the start of the season, only the optimistic fan would have given the team a chance … More » Hyderabad's sun shining bright
The Indian pacer was lodged in the retiring room-cum-office chamber of slain inspector Badrish Dutt. More » Hell in a cell: tears, regret and no sleep
Dharamsala: Mahmood and Marsh power Punjab to 183/8 More » Farewell win for Gilly
If the life ban was a big stigma, it did not stick. More » Lesson from the sport's past
Sreesanth was paid Rs. 40 lakh to concede 13 runs in an over during the ongoing T20 League. More » Sreesanth wanted half in advance
The Delhi Daredevils and Australia batsman directed some foul-worded tweets to a journalist. More » Warner in trouble after Twitter rant
The England pacer completed 300 Test wickets on Friday. More » Heroes' praise too much for Anderson
The globe-trotting Azhar Mahmood has defied age. More » The Pakistani journeyman
It needs more than BCCI's lip service to rid cricket of match-fixing. More » [VOX] Zero tolerance? Right!
Skipper Misbah top-scores with 83. More » Pakistan win Scotland warm-up
This music band and restaurant chain failed to take off. More » Sreesanth's business innings also failed
Sreesanth and Chavan admit to wrongdoing; Police to widen probe. More » Cops turn their focus on team owners
Big win over Royals keeps Sunrisers alive. More » Hyderabad remain on track
New Zealand 153/4 at the end of the second day. More » Anderson bowls England back into Test
Management of the controversy-hit franchise releases official statement. More » Royals' official stand
Hyderabad, May 17 -- By the time Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals headed for practice on Thursday evening, dark clouds had gathered over the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Uppal. Apart from posing a rain … More » Post scandal, RR banking on Dravid
The problem with IPL cheats is their greed for money can never be satiated. More » It’s time for the closing ceremony
Kings XI register seven-run win to stay alive. More » Punjab beat Delhi
Three Rajasthan Royals players have been arrested for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing scandal. Here's the list of cricketers were involved in compromising the integrity of the game. Take a … More » Cricket's hall of shame
Hyderabad, May 16 (IANS) Sunrisers Hyderabad will focus purely on winning the game against Rajasthan Royals Friday, without bothering about various calculations to reach the semifinals, chief coach Tom … More » Will focus purely on winning: Moody
The Delhi police revealed that specific on-field signals made by the three Rajasthan Royals players arrested for spot-fixing in the IPL, proved to be the clincher in establishing their connection to the … More » Signals from players gave them away