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Spinners, Pujara keep India on top


Cricketnext Staff,Cricketnext.com
Nov 16, 2012 at 06:27pm IST

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Ahmedabad: India's spin twins R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha reduced England to 41 for 3 by stumps on day two of the first Test, after a maiden double-century from Cheteshwar Pujara allowed India declare at 521 for 8 on Friday.

Pujara showed remarkable patience and defiance to become the sixth Indian batsman to score a double-century against England in Tests and was ably supported by Yuvraj Singh, and later Ashwin, as India piled up a mammoth score on a crumbling surface. England batted for 18 overs after India declared and lost the wickets of Nick Compton, nightwatchman James Anderson, and Jonathan Trott - all to spin. Skipper Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen were at the crease at stumps, with England struggling to stay afloat.

Compton, the debutant, survived a couple of vociferous appeals before Ashwin bowled him for 9 and Anderson didn't last long as Ojha got the better of him. England suffered a massive blow when Ashwin got Trott for 0, playing forward to a delivery that turned in and drew an inside edge which Pujara, at forward short leg, held on to.

Ind v Eng, 1st Test, Day 2: Spinners keep India on top after Pujara's 206

Ashwin and Ojha reduced England to 41 for 3 by stumps on day two of the first Test, after a maiden double-century from Pujara allowed India declare at 521 for 8 on Friday.

It was fitting that Pujara had a hand in India’s final act of the day, because Friday belonged to Pujara the 24-year-who began on 98 and finished with an unbeaten 206 spanning over eight and a half hours. Pujara brought up his second Test century in the fourth over of the day as he worked Stuart Broad away to deep square leg for a single. It took him 190 balls and included 13 boundaries.

Yuvraj survived a close lbw call in the first over of the day against Graeme Swann after missing a sweep shot, and Swann was unlucky to not have won the tight shout. Yuvraj, who had been edgy against Swann, opened up in the 95th over with a six off the offspinner, and followed it up with a nifty sweep to the deep square-leg boundary. Despite going for a few runs, Swann continued to attack batsmen and created another chance when he got one to rear up in his 37th over. Pujara, cutting off the back foot, looked on as the edge evaded slip and went to third man for four. In the same over, Pujara padded up a ball which was turning in and a huge appeal followed.

Anderson and Broad stemmed the flow of runs but didn't look like taking wickets. Yuvraj reached his 11th Test half-century by lofting Patel over midwicket for a boundary. Pujara was compact at the other end and kept mustering runs by using his feet skillfully against spinners, and he was equally strong on the back foot.Patel had little impact on the batsmen as both Pujara and Yuvraj kept milking him for runs; the latter smashed his second six by launching Patel straight over his head. India reached 400 in the 117th over as Pujara punched Patel to wide of sweeper cover. India scored 87 in the morning and took lunch at 410 for 4.

Yuvraj (74) fell soon after the interval when he hit a full toss from Patel straight to Swann at long-on, but Pujara completed his 150 by flicking Tim Bresnan to long leg for a single, and celebrated the landmark by unfurling a classy straight drive off Broad in the next over. MS Dhoni scratched around for his 5, which came off 37 balls, before he became Swann's fifth wicket. Trying to sweep the ball, Dhoni was bowled.

Runs came at a slow pace after Dhoni's dismissal; just 11 in the next seven overs. Ashwin and Pujara bade their time before the latter hammered Patel for a boundary in the 144th over. Ashwin too drew confidence from Pujara and cracked a couple of boundaries, though he was the beneficiary of a drop by Cook in the last over before tea. Ashwin drove Swann uppishly, and Cook, standing at extra cover, was slow to reach the ball. India were 502 for 6, while Pujara and Ashwin were batting at 196 and 21 respectively when tea was taken.

Pujara reached his double-century in the second over after tea as he steered Anderson to third man for a single. Pietersen nipped out Ashwin for 23 in the next over and after plugging away for 25 overs, Anderson finally got a wicket in his 26th over when Zaheer Khan was caught at backward point by Trott.

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