Ahmedabad: Alastair Cook and Nick Compton exhibited creditable resistance to drive England to 111 for 0 in their second innings at stumps on day three of the first Test in Ahmedabad, after the visitors had been bowled out for 191 in reply to India's mammoth 521 for 8 and made to follow on.
Cook opened the team's account by neatly tucking Umesh Yadav to square leg for a couple of runs in the third over of the innings. Compton took 13 balls to get off the mark as he flicked Yadav to deep square leg for a single, but proceeded to unfurl an audacious reverse-sweep off R Ashwin in the eighth over for four. Ashwin, who took three wickets in England’s first innings, was on the shorter side in the second and Cook cut and pulled him deftly. The England captain reached his 30th Test half-century by smashing Ojha – who went off the field in the 17th over after injuring a shoulder – for four, but also survived an lbw appeal which looked plumb.
While Cook was fluent and looked to score runs at every given opportunity, Compton dug his heels in resolutely and played the spinners with renewed confidence. Cook and Compton were batting on 74 and 34 respectively when the day ended, with England trailing India by 219 runs.
This was in stark contrast to the morning session, in which England lost four wickets for the addition of 69 runs. Kevin Pietersen – whose troubles against left-arm spin are well documented - was ostensibly shaky against Ojha and was lucky to get away on a couple of occasions. First, Ojha lured him out of the crease in the third over of the day only for MS Dhoni to fail to collect the ball. There was also a huge lbw shout against Pietersen which was turned down by Tony Hill. Pietersen's torturous stay at the crease was finally ended by Ojha, when he was bowled by a delivery that turned way from middle stump, with the batsmen unsure of how to play it.
The very next ball, Ojha found himself on a hat-trick when Ian Bell inexplicably skipped out and lofted a catch to Sachin Tendilkar, peddling back from mid-off. Cook was the next to depart for a dogged 41, edging an attempted drive off Ashwin to Virender Sehwag at first slip in the 40th over. Ashwin was twice denied further wickets, first when Aleem Dar turned down a plumb lbw appeal against Samit Patel and then when Zaheer Khan dropped a straightforward catch at deep square leg to give Prior a reprieve. Prior drilled a full toss straight to Zaheer who couldn't hold onto the ball after getting both hands to it.
When Umesh Yadav finally made an appearance in the 48th over, he won an lbw appeal against Patel, though replays showed that the ball was doing down the leg side and that Dar had erred. Matt Prior smashed a couple of boundaries off Ashwin in the next over as England went past 100 in the 49th over, and averted their previous lowest of 101 against India in Tests. Tim Bresnan became Ojha's fouth scalp when he edged to second slip for 19 off 60 balls, ending a 47-run stand with Prior.
Stuart Broad started off with flourish by hammering his first ball over deep midwicket for a boundary, and proceeded to hit Ashwin for four and six. His breezy cameo came to and when he was adjudged lbw off Zaheer, though the ball was going down the leg side. Ojha then breached Prior's defence to castle him for 48, and bagged his fourth Test five-wicket haul. England were rolled over 191 to concede a 330-run lead to India when tea was called. What happened next, few would have expected.