India v England: Cheteshwar Pujara and spinners dominate

 

First Test, day two, Ahmedabad

India 521-8 dec v England 41-3

Match scorecard

A Cheteshwar Pujara double hundred and three late wickets put India in complete control of the first Test against England in Ahmedabad.

After India declared on 521-8, England lost debutant Nick Compton, night-watchman James Anderson and Jonathan Trott to close on 41-3.

Pujara earlier made an unbeaten 206, with Yuvraj Singh adding 74.

Test Match Special analysis

"We've had 18 overs and already we're talking about the follow-on, which tells us everything. At the moment, it's not looking good. When you bat first on slow pitches, you know it's going to turn - and you can practice as much as you want, but when you're out in the middle with four men around the bat chirping away, it's a completely different game."

Graeme Swann claimed 5-144, while James Anderson's strike was the only wicket in a combined 70 overs of pace.

In contrast, on a slow pitch showing signs of sharp turn in the evening session, India opened the bowling with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who combined with Pragyan Ojha to inflict late damage on the tourists.

Compton looked relatively untroubled before Ashwin ripped one between bat and pad, and Anderson offered a catch to short leg off slow left-armer Ojha.

When Ashwin also had Trott taken off bat and pad, England had lost three wickets for four runs in 13 balls, once again wilting in the face of quality spin bowling on the subcontinent.

If India had an early grasp of how to take 20 wickets on a slow, low pitch, the realisation dawned too late on England, who left out Monty Panesar and selected Swann as their only specialist slow bowler.

Doubling up

Cheteshwar Pujara became only the fifth Indian to score a double century against England:

224 - Vinod Kambli, Mumbai, 1993

222 - Gundappa Viswanath, Chennai, 1982

221 - Sunil Gavaskar, The Oval, 1979

217 - Rahul Dravid, Oval, 2002

206* - Cheteshwar Pujara, Ahmedabad, 2012

203* - Nawab of Pataudi, Delhi, 1964

In total, the tourists sent down 90 overs of spin, with the part-time off-breaks of Kevin Pietersen, who had Ashwin caught behind, managing a breakthrough before any of the three frontline seamers.

Anderson's reward for being the most impressive paceman was having Zaheer Khan caught by Trott at gully, while Stuart Broad was innocuous and Tim Bresnan bowled only 19 overs over two days.

Indeed, with Samit Patel struggling badly with his length, England's only real threat came from Swann, just as it did on the first day.

The off-spinner fully deserved his 14th five-wicket haul in Tests, completed when Mahendra Singh Dhoni gloved the ball on to his stumps in attempting a sweep.

Before that, even Swann came in for punishment in a fifth-wicket stand of 130 between Pujara and Yuvraj.

Left-handed Yuvraj looked especially keen to hit England's most dangerous bowler out of the attack, lofting a straight drive down the ground for six in the fifth over of the day, which began with India 323-4.

Test Match Special analysis

"This has been a copybook Test for India so far: win the toss, bat long, declare sometime after tea on the second day and put the tourists in under pressure with men round the bat. Cook will play his own, hawk-like game tomorrow but we'll wait and see with Pietersen. I think he'll be fairly aggressive and worth watching. England need a significant innings from at least two batsmen. All the impetus is with India."

He dished out similar treatment to Patel, hitting the left-armer in the same direction for another maximum as India did not lose a wicket in the morning session for the second day in succession.

Patel had his revenge in unlikely circumstances just after lunch, when a waist-high full toss that Yuvraj could have hit anywhere found Swann at long-on.

After the more circumspect Pujara survived a good shout for lbw and flashed an edge past slip - both off Swann - he did not offer a chance, regularly working singles through the leg side and rocking on to the back foot to pull when Patel dropped short.

The elegant right-hander was still at the crease when captain Dhoni declared 40 minutes after tea, leaving England 18 overs to negotiate.

That task looked within their grasp until Ashwin accounted for Compton, sparking the collapse that required Pietersen to accompany captain Alastair Cook to the close.