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India vs England 3rd Test: Brief Stutter Before England Take 2-1 Lead

By on December 9, 2012

England 523 (Cook 190, Trott 87, Trott 57, Pietersen 54, Ojha 4-142) and 41 for 3 (Bell 28*, Ashwin 2-31) beat India 316 (Tendulkar 76, Gambhir 60, Dhoni 52, Panesar 4-90, Anderson 3-89) and 239 for 9 (Ashwin 91*, Anderson 3-38, Finn 3-45, Swann 2-70) by seven wickets…

It took England 55 minutes of intense drama but they achieved victory without major damage. They got the last Indian wicket for eight runs added to India’s overnight lead of 32, but their top order batted with a bit of complacence and a bit of nerves to be reduced to 8 for 3 before Ian Bell and Nick Comtpon eased the situation with sensible batting. This is the first time since 1999-2000 that India have been beaten in back-to-back home Tests.

England began the day with a three-over old ball. R Ashwin, who batted well for his overnight 83, refused singles twice off the first four balls of the first over, bowled by Steve Finn, but when the field came up he pierced it for boundaries off the last two balls. James Anderson, though, tickled Pragyan Ojha’s off bail with the fourth ball he bowled.

Ashwin came back to bowl his hat-trick ball, which Alastair Cook took a single off. However, in the same over, Cook tried to loft Ashwin over long-off and was stumped only for the second time in his career. Pragyan Ojha built pressure from the other end with maidens. He got Jonathan Trott plumb lbw with a ball that didn’t turn. Kevin Pietersen soon edged Ashwin to MS Dhoni, and the 33 remaining runs felt like 99.

However, Ashwin released the pressure with a full toss – an attempted carrom ball – to Bell, who flicked it away for four through midwicket. How symbolic then that the lack of patience eased England’s nerves. Bell hit two more pretty boundaries, and Compton remained solid, showing no hurry whatsoever to get off the park. Along the way, the two ran well and exposed once again the poor fielding of the tired Indian players.

Bell finished it off with a push to square leg, pumped the fist for a second, kicking off scenes of jubilation in the dressing room. The England players soon went on a victory lap to acknowledge the great support they get from their fans in foreign lands, and India were left with a lot of soul-searching.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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