England v India: Third Test, Southampton, day one, as it happened

England captain Alastair Cook falls for 95 but Gary Ballance hits a century against India on the first day of the third Test.

27 July 2014 Last updated at 09:22 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 18:25: 

    So there we have it: the skipper's done good, the boy Ballance has done good, but have England finally come good? We'll see if they can forge a match-winning position tomorrow. One thing's for certain... Alastair Cook's going to sleep well tonight. Hopefully you do too. Goodnight!

  2. 18:21: 
    Alastair Cook

    Here's more from Alastair Cook, who was speaking to Sky Sports: "I can't tell you how much I wanted to score 100. It's a step in the right direction. You always back yourself to score when you are under pressure. To be 247-2 is a great day. We have given ourselves a platform. They bowled slightly defensively to us, but we are in a good position after day one.

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    Ed in London: You don't fluke 25 Test centuries. Plenty more to come from Cook, hopefully today reopens the flood gates! PS... Sorry, but drop Robson!

  4. 18:18: 
    Cheerful Cook

    England captain Alastair Cook, speaking to Sky Sports following his knock of 95: "I was desperate to score runs. It's been a long time since I have done it. Tonight I feel like I have contributed. I was as fresh as I have been."

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special
    Gary Ballance

    "Gary Ballance has said he'd have a go at number three, and he's been up to it. He is up for the fight and the challenge, he is a good cricketer."

    Listen to Geoffrey Boycott and Jonathan Agnew's review of the day on the TMS podcast page

  6. 18:15: 

    Gary Ballance reached his third Test century in only his sixth match by steering four past backward point/third man, while Ian Bell looked jittery early on before settling down and seeing England to the close. As it stands, on a fairly placid pitch, England have a great chance of piling up a massive first-innings score now.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "With Sam Robson, if the ball is in that channel outside off and it does anything at all, he is vulnerable. The better the bowler, the more problems he is going to find. You get more balls in the corridor of uncertainty from better bowlers. I am not convinced he is a better batsman up front than Michael Carberry, who had it tough against Australia."

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "It was a better day at the office for Cook and his team. It's better for him personally and better for the team. It will have lifted the dressing room. The selectors will be relieved, I hope they don't think everything is alright, but the captain has made runs. he got dropped off a comfortable chance, but you need a slice of luck when things are going wrong.

    "Anyone that expected him to play lots of shots after being in terrible form was living in cloud cuckoo land. On this pitch you have to get forward, which has been one of his problems but here he was made to play forward. The ball was going straight down the pitch, I saw the maker's name and I like that.

    "He picked the ball off his legs, played the cover drives, worked at it and did exactly what was needed - make runs."

  9. 18:12: 

    Once Gary Ballance arrived at the crease, Alastair Cook became even more relaxed at the crease and the pair ended up adding 158 runs in a dominant, almost chanceless, second-wicket partnership. With both men closing in on centuries, the crowd were stunned into silence when Cook chased a long hop from Ravindra Jadeja and got an under-edge to the wicketkeeper just five runs short of a first century in 427 days.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Cook did well by batting when he won toss, and his innings was a gutsy one. There were no frills, and it was pretty simple. It's a good position for England to be in with two down and more to add."

  11. 18:09: 

    Sam Robson was also playing well as he unfurled a couple of delightful cover drives before once again nicking off and being caught at third slip. Gone for 26.

  12. 18:08: 

    From the outset, Alastair Cook looked in much better nick - leaving well outside off stump and limiting his scoring shots. He did have one life though - when he was dropped in the slips by Ravindra Jadeja after opening the face to one from Pankaj Singh.

  13. 18:07: 

    Let's rewind to the start of the day, when England announced three changes to their line-up - Jos Buttler, Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes in for Matt Prior, Ben Stokes and Liam Plunkett. They also won the toss, on a pitch with green tinges, and opted to bat first.

  14. 18:04: 

    While Jonathan Agnew and Geoffrey Boycott discuss the day's play on TMS, let's remind ourselves of what happened.

  15. 18:04: 
    Close-of-play scorecard

    England 247-2 (90 overs)

    Batsmen: Ballance 104*, Bell 16*

    Fall of wicket: 55-1 (Robson 26), 213-2 (Cook 95)

    Bowling figures: Kumar 22-7-58-0, Shami 18-3-62-1, Pankaj 20-3-62-0, R Sharma 6-0-21-0, Jadeja 22-6-34-1, Dhawan 2-0-4-0.


    Rahul Dravid, Ex-India captain on Test Match Special

    "At the end of a day like this, the masseurs and the physios are very busy people. You'll see the players booking appointments as soon as the day finishes!"

  17. 18:00: 
    CLOSE OF PLAY- Eng 247-2 (Balance 104, Bell 16)

    Play meanders to a close for the day, with England well and truly in the driving seat. Ian Bell plays out a Pankaj Singh maiden and the players head for the dressing room - Gary Ballance and Ian Bell with smiles on their faces, and MS Dhoni with the look of a worried man etched across his furrowed brow.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "There was a lot of talk about the pitch beforehand, and it has more pace than the one at Trent Bridge but it is not flying through. It's looking like Cook's decision to bat, which was not straight forward, was the right one."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  19. 17:55: 
    Eng 247-2 (Ballance 104, Bell 16)

    Chris Jordan is padded up as nightwatchman as England attempt to shut up shop for the evening - Gary Ballance leaving anything that isn't going to hit the stumps, which is the majority of Bhuvneshwar Kumar's disappointing over. The left-hander does almost chop onto his own stumps from the final delivery though.

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    Jenny McNulty: My husband spent a very long time trying to buy tickets for the current Test. Perhaps if ECB and county ground websites were less impenetrable, they might be able to sell more tickets.

    Tony Dunning: It's not just international matches where prices seem to be vastly inflated. I thought about going to the one-day final at Lord's in September, but it is £60 plus £25 for my son. Add that to train fares from the Midlands and it becomes an expensive day out.

  21. 17:50: 
    Eng 247-2 (Ballance 104, Bell 16)

    Gary Ballance's canny knack of being able to find the gaps should serve him well in one-day cricket too. He tips another single to leave Ian Bell with the task of playing out the majority of Pankaj Singh's over, which the Warwickshire right-hander does very well.

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    Mrinal from London: Great batting from Cook under pressure. Nearly earned a Michelin star for his performance!

    Barnaby Orr: Huge innings for Bell; he has fluffed his lines for too long. The most annoying thing about Bell is when he gets out he always has that look in his face as if to say he was unfortunate, even when he misses a straight one…

    The Bell Debate is clearly back...

    Andrew Samson, BBC Test Match Special statistician

    "The last time that more than 90 overs were bowled on the first day of a Test in England was at Edgbaston in 2003, when England bowled 91 overs at South Africa."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  24. 17:46: 
    Eng 246-2 (Ballance 103, Bell 16)

    Bhuvneshwar Kumar has not been the same threat today as in the first two Tests, and Ian Bell manages to play out a maiden over - despite looking vulnerable when playing that late dab in the direction of third man while three slips wait to snaffle any chances. Three overs left in the day. Could we end up bowling more for a change?

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Matthew Bennett: Superb innings from Gary Ballance. Running out of superlatives. A display that took pressure of Cook and allowed him to score.

    Andrew Reyes: Gary Ballance has been England's success throughout the summer, time to kick on and get a biggie.

    Dan Bolland: There are in fact three inevitabilities in life. Death, taxes, and Gary Ballance scoring runs.

  26. 17:40: 
    Eng 246-2 (Ballance 103, Bell 16)

    I wonder what role Gary Ballance played in Alastair Cook's knock? The calming, reassuring left-hander was always up with the run-rate, taking the pressure off his skipper to score runs - allowing the opener to wait for the bad ball. I'm not sure Sam Robson is as fluid and authoritative at the crease. Thoughts?

    A maiden over for Mohammed Shami, who gives Gary Ballance one or two alarms and remains a threat with that new nut.

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    We've been asking for your tales of hardship for captains in club cricket:

    Steve, Herefordshire: As a 16-year-old opening the innings for Oadby CC 2nd XI in the early 90s, our skipper declared five overs early after we made hay having won the toss. Arriving back at the pavilion (shed) the scorer notified the teams I had carried my bat for 94 not out. All concerned suggested the declaration was harsh and I should be given the chance to get a maiden ton except for my captain who sniffed a rare victory and wanted the extra overs. Their generous captain convinced ours to give me a chance and he begrudgingly accepted, muttering about potentially lost time to bowl. The opposition bowler sensing his chagrin bowled a hip high full toss first ball that I flicked for six. We all instantly turned and walked off laughing at our sourpuss of a skipper!

  28. 17:35: 
    Eng 246-2 (Ballance 103, Bell 16)

    That's the Ian Bell we all know and love - the Warwickshire batsman having all the time in the world to dab the fast bowler, Pankaj Singh, down to the third man boundary. He is going through the gears now as he effortlessly guides another four through the point region. Five overs left in the day.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "He always brings runs, and he has that knack of working out exactly what is needed.

    "What's so impressive about Gary Ballance is that he reads the situation very well, he has a smart cricket brain and is able to dampen down the pressure. He sends a nice, calm aura back to the dressing room."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Andrew Samson, BBC Test Match Special statistician

    "Ballance becomes the fifth England player to score three centuries in his first six Tests - the others are Jack Russell, Les Ames, Len Hutton and Ravi Bopara. That's not Jack Russell the wicketkeeper, it's Jack Russell who played in the 1920s."

    Gary Ballance
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "What a performance! Many of the headlines will be about Cook's return to form, but this has been a fine innings."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  32. 17:29: 
    100 FOR GARY BALLANCE- Eng 238-2
    Gary Ballance

    Gary Ballance moves into flakey ice cream territory (99) with a well-run two into the leg side, then reaches his third Test hundred of the summer by guiding four down past third man. It wasn't to be for the skipper, but it seemed inevitable for England's new, bright young thing.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "I'm looking at Ian Bell's technique and he is getting so far over to the off side that his head is over fourth or fifth stump."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Matthew Padfield: You could tell that Erasmus didn't want to give Cook out. He almost apologised when he put his finger up.

    Ed Stockton: Wretchedly inevitable.

    John Roberts: Cook's confidence will be restored now, but never have I felt as sorry for someone getting out just before their century!

  35. 17:26: 
    Eng 232-2 (Ballance 97, Bell 8)

    Pankaj Singh is hitting the pitch hard late in the day, striving for that magical delivery to get rid of Ian Bell. The problem is, he's already bowled it but the umpire turned down his vociferous appeal. His mood isn't helped when the right-handed Bell picks up his first boundary of the day down to fine leg.

    Pankaj Singh appeals for the wicket of Ian Bell
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    Danny in Manchester: Fair play to captain Cook, leading from the front.

    Ed in London: Ponderous innings from Cook. Edged his first ball in front of slips, life on 15 and not fluent rest on innings. Not convinced.

  37. 17:22: 
    Eng 228-2 (Ballance 97, Bell 4)

    Mohammed Shami is steaming in for his final spell of the day and, when he drops short, Gary Ballance clips four to the square leg boundary. A couple of quicker bumpers are evaded before a classic shouldering of arms to complete the over.

  38. 17:19: 

    England 223-2 (81 overs)

    Batsmen: Ballance 93*, Bell 3*

    Fall of wicket: 55-1 (Robson 26), 213-2 (Cook 95)

    Bowling figures: Kumar 20-5-58-0, Shami 15-2-51-1, Pankaj 16-2-49-0, R Sharma 6-0-21-0, Jadeja 22-6-34-1, Dhawan 2-0-4-0.


    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    GoonerJohn: Alastair Cook performed so well at Southampton today, Liverpool are believed to be preparing a bid for him.

    England captain Alastair Cook
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "The ball is seaming around a bit, and in Ian Bell there's a player not in great form. But like when Cook was dropped on 15, maybe that lbw decision for Bell will help him."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  41. 17:18: 
    Eng 223-2 (Ballance 93, Bell 3)

    There's a break in play while Shikhar Dhawan has the knuckles on both of his hands strapped up, very much in the manner of a boxer before a big fight. What's that all about?

    Back to more pressing matters and Pankaj Singh is entrusted with the new cherry, and he is convinced he has got Ian Bell with an absolute crackerjack of a delivery which shapes to swing down leg but seams back into the right-hander's pads. Not out, says the umpire. Technology, which is not being used in this match, shows the ball would have gone on to knock out middle stump. A poor decision from Rod Tucker.

    Bell recovers his poise to clip three through midwicket.

  42. 17:11: 
    NEW BALL- Eng 220-2

    Indeed, India do take the new ball.

  43. 17:10: 
    Eng 220-2 (80 overs)

    The last over before the new ball is a maiden - Gary Ballance failing to get Ravindra Jadeja away. Could the new nut turn this game on its head? Just add two wickets to the score now...

    Charles Dagnall, BBC Test Match Special

    "It was a filthy pie down leg side, and its amazing how you wait and wait all day, and it looks like free runs are coming down the leg side."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Once or twice in a career you get out like that against a spinner. Alastair will be gutted, but at the start of play if you said you'd get 95, he'd have ripped your hand off. His movement was much better, even in his last over he was trying to manoeuvre himself outside the off stump, he was trying to be proactive. He will sleep a lot better than he has for weeks, which is good for him."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  46. 17:08: 
    Eng 220-2 (Ballance 93, Bell 0)

    Part-time offie Shikhar Dhawan, who would not look out of place in a biker gang with his sharp haircut, wispy ponytail and handlebar moustache, is brought back into the attack. He almost bags the wicket of Ian Bell too, as he induces an outside edge which falls just short of first slip. Just a single for Gary Ballance in the over.

    Phil Tufnell, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "The odd one has just turned a bit, I know it is early days but I think this pitch might go a bit on the fourth and fifth days."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  48. 17:00: 
    DRINKS BREAK- Eng 219-2

    Ravindra Jadeja to Ian Bell. Six dots. Drinks. Nothing else to report.

  49. 16:59: 
    Eng 219-2 (Ballance 92, Bell 0)

    The show must go on, and Gary Ballance is England's next centurion hope. First he tips two before steering four past backward point. His new batting partner, by the way, is Ian Bell.

    Stephan Shemilt, BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl

    "Alastair Cook has drowned in honey. For a man on 95, looking for a first Test hundred in 14 months, a Ravi Jadeja long hop is the stuff dreams are made of. He knew right away what an error he'd made, even making to walk towards the pavilion before waiting for the finger. Still, for the people of Southampton, that was as good as a hundred."

    Prakash Wakankar, BBC Test Match Special

    "It's a cruel game, after all that's happened and it took a long hop. That was the first shot he'd played in anger all day."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Phil Tufnell, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "That is death, a long hop pitched outside leg stump and that might have been an under edge on to the pad. That's terrible, he could see his hundred coming up, but a good reception here for the England captain. That was a long hop, and any player in club cricket would have gone for it. But he'll take the 95."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  54. 16:51: 
    WICKET- Cook c Dhoni b Jadeja 95 (Eng 213-2)
    India appeal for the wicket of Alastair Cook

    Oh no! A strangle down the leg side, a sharp intake of breath and a collective groan as the umpire's finger goes up.

    Alastair Cook, just five runs short of a first century in 28 Test innings, chases a wide long hop from Ravindra Jadeja and ends up getting a bottom edge to the wicketkeeper. Cook, in rather guilty fashion, gives Marais Erasmus a sheepish luck but the finger goes up, via a hitch of the umpire's pants. Almost Alastair, almost! A fine innings nonetheless.


    Phil Tufnell, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "I'd be tempted to mix my lines up bowling to the left-handers, put a couple up outside off stump and get people in the batsman's eyelines but they seem content to control the scoring."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  56. 16:50: 
    Eng 212-1 (Cook 95, Ballance 85)

    It's like pure theatre now as every leave outside off stump is silently applauded and every run cheered enthusiastically. It's now just five runs needed for Alastair Cook as he benefits from an overthrow which turns one into two.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Jack Allum: If Cook refuses to try and score against Jadeja, he needs to hit boundaries off the seamers, not just leave anything outside off.

    Alastair Cook
  58. 16:43: 
    Eng 210-1 (Cook 93, Ballance 85)

    Well, Jake (see tweet below), I hope they'll be dancing on the streets of Split if Captain Cook brings up three figures tonight. One more added to the score with a gentle push before Gary Ballance creams Ravindra Jadeja to the midwicket boundary. He could actually beat Cook to a hundred here!

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Jake Hodgson: Sitting in a bar in Split (Croatia) willing Cookie past 100. Lots of nervous British tourists glancing at their phones.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I'm glad they left Ben Stokes out, the shot he played on nought at Lord's was atrocious. Whatever was said in the dressing room, in public they made a statement by leaving him out. Talent is no good unless you use your brain."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  61. 16:40: 
    Eng 205-1 (Cook 92, Ballance 81)

    Meanwhile, at the other end, Gary Ballance continues apace - the stocky left-hander clearing his front leg and slashing four over the leaping fielder at point to bring up the 150 partnership in 310 balls. I've heard it said that Ballance is not the most elegant batsman to watch. I disagree. He's a brilliant accumulator of runs with a wide range of shots - much in the mould of Mike Hussey. And he wasn't bad, was he?

  62. 16:36: 
    Eng 201-1 (72 overs)

    "Keep going," is the cry from an Indian fielder as Ravindra Jadeja toils away from over the wicket. It's economical stuff, but Alastair Cook is digging in. Maiden over.

    Phil Tufnell, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Alastair Cook made a good, brave call by batting when winning the toss, and they are reaping the rewards now. As for India's bowlers, it's one of those tough Test cricket days, when you just have to get stuck in."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  64. 16:33: 

    England 201-1 (71 overs)

    Batsmen: Cook 92*, Ballance 77*

    Fall of wicket: 55-1 (Robson 26)

    Bowling figures: Kumar 18-5-50-0, Shami 15-2-51-1, Pankaj 14-2-42-0, R Sharma 6-0-21-0, Jadeja 17-3-28-0, Dhawan 1-0-3-0.


  65. 16:33: 
    Eng 201-1 (Cook 92, Ballance 77)

    A heady cocktail of afternoon drinking and the Chef inching towards a Test century is serving to liven up the Rose Bowl crowd. Increasing in volume with every run the skipper scores, there's a little cheer for his 92nd run - taken to the cover fielder.

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    James Hounslow: Just about to bored a flight to Lanzarote. Going to be a nervous four hours waiting to see if Captain Cook gets his century! Fingers crossed!

    Sam in Vietnam: England cooking up a nice unbalanced day of cricket.

  67. 16:27: 
    Eng 200-1 (Cook 91, Ballance 77)

    Only five players, including Alastair Cook, remain in the England team from the last time the England skipper got a Test century - James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ian Bell and Joe Root are the others. A couple of singles take England to 200.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "It's Cook's day, everything's gone his way since they dropped him. He wasn't smiling when he nicked it this morning, but I bet he was relieved when he was dropped."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  69. 16:25: 
    Eng 198-1 (Cook 90, Ballance 76)

    Nervous nineties? You better believe it. After getting there via a dismissive pull shot for four, Alastair Cook flashes hard at one outside off stump but manages to avoid getting a nick on it. Mohammed Shami can't believe the skipper's luck.

  70. 16:22: 
    Eng 194-1 (68 overs)

    Ravindra Jadeja gets through his overs so quickly, the umpires had to consult at the end of his last over to check they didn't miss a ball. A dart-like delivery strays onto leg and Alastair Cook tickles a single. Surely India need to start putting their frontline bowlers on, to try and capitalise on any nerves Cook might be feeling heading towards that elusive century?

    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "I think Plunkett's unlucky not to be playing here, apart from that Bodyline spell he bowled pretty well at Lord's. I think Broad is struggling with his knee, I think it is a case of when he has an operation, not if."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  72. 16:17: 
    Eng 193-1 (Cook 85, Ballance 76)

    Mohammed Shami bounds to the crease and is left exasperated when he executes a hooping inswinger but the ball does too much and Gary Ballance helps it on its way to the fine-leg boundary. Another single for Alastair Cook too. Nice progress for England.

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    Naveed Afzal: Even though Alastair Cook is a terrible captain (tactically) I'm thrilled to see him make runs. He's a great fighter and batsman.

    Jon Dunn: Safe to say India are set up to not get beaten, rather than to get 20 wickets!

    Howard Horner: Buttler included, Cook on the verge of a century - another false dawn, or is a post-Ashes corner finally about to be turned?

  74. 16:13: 
    Eng 188-1 (Cook 84, Ballance 72)

    Plenty of hustle and bustle and huff and puff, but very little spin and grip from Ravindra Jadeja as Alastair Cook easily plays back five dots before turning a single off his pads - only being denied a boundary by some sharp work by the leg slip.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I don't understand India; Ashwin in the dressing room, England have a few left-handers - ridiculous."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

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    David in Norfolk: We have very short memories. People were baying for Cook's blood after a poor run a few years ago. He then hit the purplest patch imaginable. He has also won an Ashes series. The team is in transition. Quality will shine.

  77. 16:10: 
    Eng 187-1 (65 overs)

    If this Alastair Cook innings was plucked from a supermarket shelf, it would certainly be of the 'no frills' variety. Organised, compact and with a GPS-like knowledge of his off stump, he adds another single to his score with a push into the off side.

    Towards the back of the ground, the ice cream van is doing a roaring trade. It must now be an acceptable time to tuck into the white stuff (12:13).

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    On Alastair Cook: "He's done all right, has had to work hard and you have to pay tribute to that. If you think he's going to play shots like Viv Richards - he isn't going to do that. He has played straighter, and what I like is that he has played with a full face of the bat."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  79. 16:05: 
    Eng 186-1 (Cook 82, Ballance 72)

    The bearded, sunglasses-wearing Ravindra Jadeja gets us under way after tea and he pains his skipper first up with one which scuttles down the leg side and hits the India captain on the end of his finger. The slow left-armer, coming over the wicket, has a short leg, leg slip and orthodox slip in position as he sends down a maiden over.

  80. 16:00: 

    MS Dhoni leads his team back onto the outfield, flanked by a strutting Virat Kohli. There's a little huddle while Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance race down the steps from the dressing room. Let's play.

    Gary Ballance and Alastair Cook
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    Santanu Maity: Flat wicket, bright sun & tired bowlers. Expect Cook to be batting tomorrow morning.

    Kev Lennon: Well played Alastair Cook, now bag the three figures. Also how refreshing to see 34 overs bowled in a two-hour session, well played India.

    Toby Phillips: To all the Alastair Cook criticisers, put that in your pipe... He is still the best man for the job.

    Stephan Shemilt, BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl

    "Southampton is a lovely ground in a picturesque setting and I say as much to two Hampshire chaps of a certain vintage, drinking wine of a certain vintage in the pavilion. One, I learn, is responsible for the trees that poke their heads over the stands. There is, however, something missing. From that side of the ground, there's no visible clock. 'You're right,' he says. 'I'll tell Rod Bransgrove that'."

    The Rose Bowl
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    Stephen, Weybridge: I heard that for the next four days, ticket sales are low. This persuaded me to maybe take a day off work and make the drive from just outside London for a day at the Test but after having checked the ground's website for ticket prices, I was completely put off. Tickets are more expensive than the remaining tickets at The Oval. Surely they need to reduce the prices if they want people to attend? Otherwise the rest of this Test will resemble Test cricket in other countries - played with sparse crowds?

    Fans in fancy dress
  84. 15:51: 

    Come on David, don't pop the bubble. Is he right though? Or can Alastair Cook grow into the captaincy on the back of a century today? If he manages to help England post a first-innings total of 500, surely England will finally 'win a do'?

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    David Hague: I'm sure most people realise that Cook getting some runs at last means absolutely nothing - his batting was never the problem, despite his recent lack of form. In fact, my worst nightmare (from an England cricket point of view) was that Cook would suddenly score a double century and buy himself another year of incompetent captaincy.

  86. 15:48: 

    Thanks Mitch! It's all going rather well for England, isn't it? I wonder how many hacks in the Rose Bowl press box are fielding calls from their sports editor right about now? Alastair Cook is just 18 runs away from dominating tomorrow's back pages.

  87. 15:44: 

    After the county scores from Kevin Howells, keep your ears pinned back as TMS will be speaking to Simon Wilde, author of a new unauthorised biography of Kevin Pietersen.

    And after an enjoyable - and, I would stress, wicketless - session of text commentary, I hand you back to Marc Higginson for the final straight.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "The character Cook has shown has been immense. It's important that if you believe you are hitting it well in practice sessions, it almost sends the message to yourself. The art of batting is convincing yourself that you are in form and that you can do it.

    "That was wonderful session for England, they have controlled it and played with discipline. These two understand their methods and don't try to go outside of their box."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  89. 15:43: 

    England 186-1 (63 overs)

    Batsmen: Cook 82*, Ballance 72*

    Fall of wicket: 55-1 (Robson 26)

    Bowling figures: Kumar 18-5-50-0, Shami 12-2-41-1, Pankaj 13-2-41-0, R Sharma 6-0-21-0, Jadeja 13-2-24-0, Dhawan 1-0-3-0.


  90. 15:41: 
    TEA INTERVAL- Eng 186-1

    India rustle up another of their part-time spinners - we've had six overs of Rohit Sharma today, and now it's time for opener Shikhar Dhawan's off-spin before tea. Ballance helps himself to a single, there's a big appeal as Cook strides forward, but I think there was bat on that. Cook drills a single to deep point, and Ballance knocks the last ball of the session for a single to the same area. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is tea.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "I wouldn't be surprised to see MS Dhoni pull off the pads and have a bowl, just to change it."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  92. 15:38: 
    Eng 183-1 (Cook 81*, Ballance 70*)

    At the speed that Ravindra Jadeja sends down his overs, we could well have time for two more before tea. The left-arm spinner switches to bowling round the wicket for a change of angle, and Ballance moves to 70 with a quick single to mid-on. Meanwhile, Captain Cook is into the 80s after a delicate tickle off his legs for four. And we'll have time for one more.

    Prakash Wakankar, BBC Test Match Special

    "Other than for that one dropped chance for Cook, the English batsmen have been in comfort and in control."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  94. 15:35: 
    Eng 178-1

    Debutant Pankaj Singh polishes the ball on his flannels, he still has three slips in for Ballance, but a loose delivery is helped down the leg side for four - it's credited to the batsman, although the replay shows it brushing the 24-year-old's thigh pad.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "England are a lot better when they get the runs on the board first, and it helps the captain that he's not been in the field for a day and a half. He does not have a scrambled mind, and this is the perfect scenario for England."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  96. 15:31: 
    Eng 173-1 (Cook 77*, Ballance 63*)

    Cook doesn't seem to have had a lot of the strike lately, but he looks happy to play the supporting role as he helps himself to a single to long leg.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Benjamin Pelc: India deserve big praise for over rate, still 10 mins to tea and in the 59th over. Need to start run penalties for slow rates.

    Garreth Frank: Form is temporary, class is permanent. Its great to see Cook playing and scoring well.

    Richie Macca: Jonathan who?! This Ballance lad is an absolute run machine.

  98. 15:29: 
    Eng 171-1

    After a long spell of spin, India turn back to the tall figure of Pankaj Singh to have a trundle before tea. Ballance leans forward and guides a four through the covers with the minimum of effort but perfect timing. An even better shot, a fierce square cut, brings him four more - he'll be catching the captain up soon. Ballance has 63, Cook has 76.

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    Ross Hazard: In one of my first games of Saturday senior cricket as a 13-year old, I was selected for Panteg 3rd XI. Our skipper was a bit of a club legend and a few of us young ones were waiting in the corner for the inspirational words of wisdom when the dressing room fell silent. "Talk amongst yourselves for five minutes men; I'm going to the toilet," he said and promptly walked out, leaving the senior guys rocking with laughter and us utterly dumbstruck.

  100. 15:24: 
    Eng 163-1 (Cook 76*, Ballance 55*)

    With just under 20 minutes until tea, Ravindra Jadeja tosses it up to Cook who calmly plays out a rapid maiden over. And with 58 overs already bowled, whisper it quietly, we could be on for a 6pm finish!

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Gary Ballance has played with control, he simply goes back and across as his method, and he just scores runs wherever he goes."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  102. 15:22: 
    Eng 163-1

    Ballance and Cook milk Sharma for a couple of singles before Ballance cuts his sixth four.

    Less fortunate today are the good folk of Coleraine, where persistent rain has meant that the third and final game in the Ireland v Sri Lanka A series has been abandoned without a ball bowled, so Sri Lanka A win the series 2-0.

    Charles Dagnall, BBC Test Match Special
    Bhuvneshwar Kumar

    "This is one of those partnerships that can really knock the stuffing out of a bowling attack."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  104. 15:19: 
    BALLANCE 50- Eng 157-1 (Cook 75*, Ballance 50*)
    Gary Ballance

    Jadeja to Ballance, on 49 - but after blocking out the first five balls, he whacks a single to wide mid-on for his third fifty in six Tests - the fifth time he's passed 50 in five consecutive Tests. The only previous man to do that for England? David Steele.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "All the headlines will be about Captain Cook, and rightly so, but Gary Ballance is playing very nicely as he did at Lord's last week.

    "Many of us have criticised Alastair Cook over the last few months, rightly so, after Lord's I said he needed to be taken out but making the critics eat humble pie, he's on the front foot."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  106. 15:16: 
    Eng 156-1

    Ballance sneaks ever closer to his fifty with a single as Rohit Sharma - picked as a sixth specialist batsman - wheels away for his fifth over of part-time spin.

  107. 15:14: 
    100 PARTNERSHIP- Eng 155-1

    While Phil Tufnell spooks the other TMS commentators by removing his shirt briefly, Jadeja posts seven men on the leg side for Ballance who keeps plugging away - three singles bring warm applause for the century partnership. Cook has 75 from 165 balls, Ballance has 48 from 100.

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    Alan Sheppard: My mate Baz, in his first match as captain of St Helens CC 2nds, said: "right lads, he's bowling (tosses the ball to me) everybody else... SPREAD OUT!

  109. 15:11: 
    Eng 152-1 (Cook 74*, Ballance 46*)

    Cook flicks Sharma off his legs and hustles back for a well-run two - this is now his highest score in 28 innings, in fact since his last Test ton which came against New Zealand at Headingley last May.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Craig Jones: The Cook, Prior & spinner talk has all overshadowed the brilliant Gary Ballance and his transition into a Test match number three.

    Fahim Faisal: As a batter I am 100% behind Cook. Unfortunately I can't say the same about him as a captain.

    Jack Allum: Please, these two are both set very well, maybe try and put pressure on the Indian bowlers?

  111. 15:08: 
    Eng 150-1

    A Cook single takes England to 150, India's spinners are racing through the overs here.

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    Steve: I once played a game where the opening bowler refused to agree to the captain's field placements and so the captain said loudly "OK, you are captain for the game!". Bowler bowed to that one. Anderson and Broad, watch out!

  113. 15:06: 
    Eng 149-1 (Cook 71, Ballance 46)

    Ballance has a third Test half century in his sights, forcing part-timer Sharma through the covers for four to move to 46.

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    David in Spain: I'm glad we're back to 'drinks breaks.' I was fairly spooked by the announcement during the Lord's Test that we now had 'rehydration intervals.'

  115. 15:04: 
    Eng 145-1
    Gary Ballance

    Jadeja sends down the 50th over of the day - from which England's second-wicket pair plunder a single apiece. They have added 90.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "The astonishing thing about Cook is he's only 29, he's never been dropped, of course, and he's not been affected by injury. He hasn't played as many matches as Gower, and all things being equal if his body does not rebel he could play Test cricket for another four or five years."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  117. 15:02: 
    Eng 143-1 (Cook 70*, Ballance 41*)

    It's spin from both ends as India turn to Rohit Sharma's part-time off-spin. Sharma, wearing his sunglasses, tosses the ball from hand to hand before bowling to Cook, who taps a single to cover and moves ahead of Lord Gower to become England's third highest Test run-scorer of all time with 8,232. Ahead of him are Graham Gooch (8,900) and Alec Stewart, whose figure of 8,463 is - remarkably - also his birthday (8 April 1963).

    Email tms@bbc.co.uk

    We've been asking for your captaincy tales from club cricket:

    Brian in Australia: The best captain has a father who prepares the pitch, a mother who organises the tea, a sister who scores, and an uncle who owns the local pub and provides free beer when you win.

  119. 14:58: 
    Eng 142-1

    Ballance nudges Jadeja to square leg, Cook sets off for a run but is sent back. And he's unable to get the left-arm spinner away, maiden over.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "It looks like Ballance is changing the tempo again. Many batsmen don't have that ability, but he seems to have the mind for it. He's playing a lot more fluently and is a bit more aggressive."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  121. 14:56: 
    Eng 142-1 (Cook 69*, Ballance 41*)

    Single from Ballance, Cook pushes a quick single to mid-on to move level with David Gower on 8,231 Test runs for England. (He also overtook some chap called Pietersen earlier today). Then Ballance chops Kumar downwards, it bounces over the slips and away for four - it's likened to a ping-pong shot by Vic Marks on TMS. It's typical Ballance - not necessarily pretty, but certainly effective - as is a clubbed three through mid-wicket. This stand is worth 87.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "One dropped catch, and suddenly the pitch looks a lot flatter and are India a bowler light?"

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  123. 14:52: 
    Eng 133-1

    Jadeja has a slip, leg slip and a helmeted short leg encircling Ballance, who squeezes a two through mid-wicket before moving to 33 with a single. We've heard before now about how Cook was England's designated ball-shiner during the Andrew Strauss era because he sweats the least - long may the calm resolve he's shown today continue.

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    Steve Huish, Surbiton: Goodness me what's wrong with people? Cook has had a bad run, even Botham had that. Give him some credit and let's get behind the lads. Cook, we are behind you.

  125. 14:49: 
    Eng 130-1 (Cook 68*, Ballance 30*)

    With the players refreshed, Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance resume proceedings with three singles and a leg bye against the tireless Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

    Stephan Shemilt, BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl
    Rose Bowl

    "It's not just the TMS team that have a fantastic view. Take a look at this outlook from behind the pavilion. Spectators sit on a grass bank, looking through the gap between the pavilion and the Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie Stand. It's some way back, but still the pitch is in sight. The waft of burgers, the burnt grass and cider. It's like a cricketing Glastonbury."

  127. 14:45: 

    India have a "huddle" during the drinks break - with Aggers on TMS likening the giant figure of Pankaj Singh as Gulliver among the Lilliputians...

    Meanwhile, the TMS lunchtime chat with Simon Hughes, Michael Vaughan and others about captaincy is now available on the TMS podcast page.

    Email tms@bbc.co.uk

    Julian, Surrey: And there it is. One dropped catch and he's away. Runs to follow now. All that comment and conjecture about Cook's batting form such a waste of time, how often have we seen a player have a barren spell then a good spell? Can we start disregarding all the negative people's comments please, they always get proven wrong.

    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    On Twitter: "One of the prettiest grounds now..."

    Rose Bowl
  130. 14:42: 
    DRINKS BREAK- Eng 126-1

    Cook pushes Jadeja for a single, earning him and his partner a drinks break.

    Rahul Dravid, Ex-India captain on Test Match Special

    "Once you get past 50, it's a lovely feeling. It's not a 100, but your feet certainly start to move a lot better."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  132. 14:39: 
    Eng 125-1 (Cook 66*, Ballance 28*)

    Ballance plays and misses at Kumar as the right-armer slants it across the left-hander's grasp. He's then hit on the pad, there's a half-hearted appeal from the slip cordon despite the ball pitching outside leg stump and getting an inside edge off the bat. Maiden over.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    David McNaught: C'mon Cook, get that ton! Ram it down the doubters' throats!

    Thomas Lawlor: Stop bigging up Cook. Even if he scores 300, he is still a very poor captain.

    Peter Collins: Cook as captain is adequate, and nobody else available. I'd settle for that + his batting. It's been missed for a long time!

  134. 14:36: 
    Eng 125-1

    Ballance prods Jadeja for a single, that's the only scoring stroke as the slow left-armer races through his over.

    Ed Smith, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "There are a few signs that Cook is more uncluttered in his mental approach, he is playing a lot more naturally."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  136. 14:34: 

    England 124-1 (41 overs)

    Batsmen: Cook 66*, Ballance 27*

    Fall of wicket: 55-1 (Robson 26)

    Bowling figures: Kumar 15-4-38-0, Shami 12-2-41-1, Pankaj 11-2-28-0, R Sharma 1-0-7-0, Jadeja 2-0-5-0.


  137. 14:33: 
    Eng 124-1 (Cook 66*, Ballance 27*)

    While some children are being given catching practice with a tennis ball on the adjacent nursery ground, Ballance swats Kumar down towards the extra cover boundary and they run three. Cook cuts, a fielder gives chase and was his hand still touching the ball when his leg hit the rope? No, it's another three - while Ballance guides the third three of the over through mid-wicket, it's a big ground so we should see plenty of threes.

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    Ed in London, via SMS: This Cook innings in the long term is the worst possible thing for England. Change is needed in the leadership of the team. This innings just papers over the cracks rather than solving the problem.

    I knew we were lacking some negativity from somewhere...

  139. 14:28: 
    Eng 115-1

    India turn to the left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja, who was allowed to bowl the spinner's traditional last-over-before-lunch but will hope for a longer spell now. He's on at the Pavilion End, bowling over the wicket to the two left-handers, and his first ball is guided for a single by Ballance.

    Rahul Dravid, Ex-India captain on Test Match Special

    On spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's omission by India:

    "Ashwin has not bowled very well overseas, while Jadeja once took six wickets in Melbourne and has not done anything wrong in the last two Tests. Perhaps they felt the pitch was not going to turn, they could rotate their fast bowlers and use Jadeja. I think they felt Ashwin's bowling was not going to be very helpful in these conditions."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

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    Calum, Worcs, via SMS: Captaincy woes - my first match as captain of Liphook Under 11's ended with me out first ball of the game as we were bowled out for 13. I tried to resign but was told by the coach that I wasn't allowed to. It was a grim season.

  142. 14:25: 
    Eng 114-1 (Cook 63*, Ballance 20*)

    Rahul Dravid on TMS is full of admiration for Cook's innings, and the England skipper's knock today has been a little reminiscent of Dravid, the "Great Wall of India" himself, in that it's been confident but almost entirely risk-free, having the patience to wait for the bad ball to hit. He sees off a maiden from Kumar, who has 0-29 from 14 overs.

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    Penny of Nottingham: Massive cheer went up for Cook's 50 when it was announced at Horsham where Notts are playing Sussex. Go Alastair!

    Rob, London: Taking a tour round Buckingham Palace with the family - luckily the audio guides come with standard headphones, so I'm now surreptitiously listening to TMS through my phone while the audio handset hangs silently on the lanyard. Does that count as treason?

  144. 14:21: 
    Eng 114-1

    Cook moves into the 60s with a two and a single against Pankaj, Ballance goes to 16 with a nudge off his legs and the skipper steals the strike with a dab-and-run off the last ball. He has 63 from 121 balls, Ballance has 20 from 48.

    Rahul Dravid, Ex-India captain on Test Match Special
    Mohammed Shami

    "It's a very good start, there has been no alarming seam movement but India are trying hard. It's a very good wicket and you cannot afford to be off with your lengths. India have either been too full or too short, they've been punished and England are batting well."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  146. 14:18: 
    Eng 109-1 (Cook 59*, Ballance 15*)

    Bhuvneshwar Kumar replaces fellow right-arm seamer Mohammed Shami at the Northern End (I'm sure local residents could argue for the names of the two local villages to be honoured so the Northern End would become the Hedge End End, and the Pavilion End become the West End End). But it's more of the same from England as a Ballance on-drive brings four more runs.

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    Your thoughts on the perils of captaincy...

    Harold, Portsmouth: I was captain of my school team. Telling your friends they couldn't cut it is still one of the harshest I've ever felt.

    Steve: Our skip had a great game yesterday, inspired field settings. Unfortunately he didn't put the boiler on prior to our tea interval, shocking, everyone was complaining.

    Phil Tufnell, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "It looks like a pitch full of runs, and the weather is set fair for five days. It's a situation where you hang in, apply some pressure and if you dismiss England for 350 you've done well."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  149. 14:12: 
    Eng 105-1
    Alastair Cook

    India's four-man attack are going to take a bit of a flogging at this rate, and it's been the three seamers bearing the brunt so far, having bowled 33 of the first 35 overs. Pankaj keeps it tight for a while but Cook brings up with the fifty stand with a careful four through third man.

    Prakash Wakankar, BBC Test Match Special

    "It's interesting to see how MS Dhoni reacts to this situation. The way it is going he is going to be in the field for a couple of days."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  151. 14:08: 
    Eng 101-1 (Cook 55*, Ballance 15*)

    Ballance cuts Shami for four, while England are rattling along nicely as a couple of singles push them past 100.

    Phil Tufnell, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "There is still plenty of life and carry in this pitch. There is something there if you get it in the right spot like Pankaj Singh has."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  153. 14:04: 
    Eng 95-1

    Cook is watchful against the right-arm seam of Pankaj, who switches to bowling round the wicket, but Cook confidently tries to flick the ball off his legs, and it disappears for four leg byes. Having waited until the last over (the 33rd) for the first extra of the innings, we've now had five.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Bibhash Dash: Can Jadeja's sentence be wiped out now that he's helped Cook keep his place? How about an honorary OBE?

    James Keeling: Well played Alistair Cook! A captain's decision to bat first and a gritty captain's innings under pressure. Superb!

    Niaz Rizwani: Cook's tenacity and resilience well rewarded!

  155. 13:59: 
    APPEAL - NOT OUT- Eng 91-1 (Cook 54*, Ballance 10*)

    There's a climbing wall in place at the ground for this Test - but having reached 50, Cook will know he still has to scale further heights to silence the legion of doubters out there. A wild and woolly delivery down the leg side earns England a bye - then India all leap to their feet to appeal for a catch behind from Ballance's back-foot prod, but umpire Tucker remains unmoved.

    Email tms@bbc.co.uk

    We're asking for your captaincy troubles in club cricket...

    Chris Smith: Playing for my village side a few years back, our very chunky wicketkeeper-captain collided with the opposition's 73-year-old number five and felled him. The old boy asked for a runner and they sent out a 15-year-old. Our skip didn't say a word. Too nice?

  157. 13:55: 
    Eng 90-1

    There's a hint of inswing from Pankaj, the left-handed Ballance tries to nudge it off his legs and it falls just short of the man posted at leg slip for that exact shot. The Yorkshire batsman manages a two to mid-wicket, this stand is now worth 35.

    Stephan Shemilt, BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl
    Alastair Cook

    "Have you ever seen such an ovation for a half century? Pretty much every seat in Southampton was emptied as the crowd stood to proclaim Alastair Cook. It was a standing ovation usually reserved for a double hundred, not your run-of-the-mill 50. But this is no run-of-the-mill fifty, and the crowd know that."

  159. 13:50: 
    Eng 88-1 (Cook 54*, Ballance 8*)

    Too short from Shami again, that's meat and drink to Alastair Cook (circa 2010-11 model) who pulls a four through mid-wicket, down towards the groundsman's "cave" which sits between the main ground and the nursery ground. Hopefully we shouldn't need the covers much during this Test - unlike the ground's Test debut in 2011 when England and Sri Lanka spent five days dodging the showers.

    Charles Dagnall, BBC Test Match Special

    "Such is Alastair Cook's form over the last year that even a half century brings the crowd to its feet. It shows the sympathy the public have with him."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  161. 13:48: 
    COOK FIFTY- Eng 84-1
    Alastair Cook

    Cook pulls Mohammed Shami's second delivery for two, it's not got enough on it to reach the boundary - but the supportive Hampshire crowd rise to their feet to give the England skipper the warmest ovation I've heard for a half century in a long time. It's Cook's first since the second innings at Melbourne, 10 Test innings ago.

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    James Francis: At lunch, Simon Hughes said some of the best captains have been batsmen who bowled… have you not seen Cook's international bowling average? It's 7.

  163. 13:47: 
    Eng 82-1 (Cook 48*, Ballance 8*)

    The lanky figure of Pankaj Singh will begin post-prandial Pavilion End proceedings as the sun continues to shine down on the south coast - and his first ball to Gary Ballance finds a bit of bounce as keeper Mahendra Dhoni takes it in front of first slip's face. Ballance then plays and misses, but gets England under way with a delicate leg glance for four.

    Phil Tufnell, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "I played a lot under Mike Gatting at Middlesex, he was great, very chirpy. It was a hard dressing room, but you could have a shout and a scream but come in the next morning and it was all forgotten."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    If you're hoping to listen to TMS from overseas, follow this link - though it's not available in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.

    Email tms@bbc.co.uk

    Andrew in Corfu: Sitting under a towel on the beach having just got out of the sea. So pleased to see that Alastair Cook is still in. This guy is 29 and has more hundreds than any other batsman that has played for England! Class is permanent and will show through. We all need to help and support him as we need him this year and next!

  166. 13:39: 

    Plenty of food for thought from the TMS team on the captaincy front. I'd love to hear your tales on what you've had to cope with as captain in club cricket or social cricket - I bet Cookie has never had to cope with his intended opening bowler getting lost driving to the ground, or missing the first over as he was still applying sun cream in the dressing room? (No names, but you know who you are). Umpires, fielders and batsmen on their way.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket
    Ravindra Jadeja drops Alastair Cook

    Santanu Maity: Has Jadeja saved Cook's captaincy? Looks set for a big ton.

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    We've asked for your golden rules of cricket watching...

    PB, via text: "Golden rule. Smuggle in the gin & tonic in a vacuum flask - as a senior lady - they never suspect!"

    Steve Harmison, Ex-England pace bowler on BBC Test Match Special

    "One of Michael Vaughan's best traits as a captain was that he was one of the best liars around - he'd make you feel good about yourself when you weren't."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  170. 13:34: 

    Thanks, Higgy, I've got my tin hat on as I know who'll cop the flak if Cook goes first over after lunch!

    Simon Hughes, BBC Test Match Special

    "I think some of the best captains have been batsmen don't necessarily open but who bowl a bit, as it gives you a rounded appreciation of the game. It could suit someone like Joe Root."

    Read more from Simon Hughes: What makes a good captain?

  172. 13:32: 

    Fascinating stuff on captaincy there. Now, can Alastair Cook turn that 48 not out into a century? England doesn't necessarily expect, but it sure as hell hopes! Your man to take you through the afternoon session is Mark Mitchener. Enjoy!

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    We asked for your golden rules for watching cricket...

    Joe, Manchester: I always have the best intentions of not going to the bar before lunch. After being on a heaving tram and going through security queues...that rule is usually broken by 10.45.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "With captaincy, you have to understand everything about the players you have got and you have to be able to understand the game. I was a pest as a young player - continually asking questions of people like Martyn Moxon and David Byas at Yorkshire. I was a cricket geek."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Simon Hughes, BBC Test Match Special

    "I think Alastair Cook is a good captain of a good team but I don't think he's proactive enough when he doesn't have a good team. It's harder for him as an opening batsman, and he's usually frazzled from an inability to polish off the opposition's tail."

    Read more from Simon Hughes: What makes a good captain?

    Simon Hughes, BBC Test Match Special

    "Mike Brearley, whose win ratio was 58% which is third in cricket history behind Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, was someone who would lose his temper sometimes. When he wanted to, he would go for people, swearing and going purple in the face, because he had the courage in his convictions."

    Simon Hughes, BBC Test Match Special

    "Alastair Cook's win ratio as captain is 36%, and that is not as bad as you would think. Ray Illingworth's was only 39% and Richie Benaud's was 43%. Stephen Fleming had a great reputation but his was 35%."

    Read more from Simon Hughes: What makes a good captain?

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "The way this is panning out, I'm amazed India have gone into this a bowler light."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Richard Harmon: Finally looks like Alistair Cook's luck may be changing. Really hope he takes advantage and pushes on to a big score here.

    Chris Parker: Do people really think one score from Cook today and everything is fine? Let's have three-four innings before we get ahead of ourselves.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Alastair Cook got a standing ovation for a 48 not out, it's almost embarrassing, but that was a very significant moment when Ravindra Jadeja put him down. He's not out of the woods yet, but he has given himself a chance of playing a really substantial innings and giving himself a bit of peace."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  181. 13:08: 

    Will Alastair Cook take his pads off at lunch? I bet there are some superstitious souls who keep them on when everything is going well. Anyway, make sure you tune into Test Match Special during the lunch-time interview for a chat with Simon Hughes about captaincy. This little feature should tee you up nicely.

    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "Cook will go off feeling an awful lot better. He will be relieved, let's not overplay it, but he's got through it. For the first time in a long time he will go in at lunch, take his pads off and feel good."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Stephan Shemilt, BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl
    Alastair Cook

    "If this really is to be the summer blockbuster 'Alastair Cook: The Comeback', then this morning has followed the script exactly. Win toss, tricky decision, bat first. Feel good, but then adversity, coupled with luck. The Jadeja drop. Since then, it's been largely plain sailing, though, like all good films, there's likely to be a twist. The viewers? They're engrossed in their support of the leading man. 'Come on Cookie' are the words most likely to be heard in the Southampton auditorium. England's - and Cook's - morning".

  184. 13:03: 
    Lunch scorecard

    England 78-1 (29 overs)

    Batsmen: Cook 48*, Ballance 4*

    Fall of wicket: 55-1 (Robson 26)

    Bowling figures: Kumar 12-3-25-0, Shami 9-1-25-1, Pankaj 6-1-13-0, R Sharma 1-0-7-0, Jadeja 1-0-4-0.


  185. 13:03: 
    LUNCH- Eng 78-1 (Cook 48, Ballance 4)

    Those lunch-time oranges are going to taste very sweet for Alastair Cook, who tucks into a pre-dinner pie from Ravindra Jadeja to carve another boundary past backward square. A forward defence to finish the over, and the skipper walks off the field unbeaten and with his head held high. The rather generous applause underlines the importance of this battling knock to the spectators.

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    Toby, London: Never thought I'd find parenting comfort on TMS. Paul from MK (see 12:02), we're also struggling with feeds in the heat too, with our eight-day-old daughter. Nothing like the rich voices of TMS to help soothe though. Cook to go big today.

    Doug Choyce: Dusk in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with thunder clouds gathering, trying to explain to the staff in my local bar how this match is scheduled for five days but could finish in three or we could run out of time and have a draw. Puzzled faces all round...

  187. 12:59: 
    Eng 74-1 (Kumar 12-3-25-0)

    It could be a long day for Bhuvneshwar Kumar who is worked for another single by Alastair Cook before Gary Ballance leaves well outside of stump and sways out of the way of a bouncer. One more over to go until lunch.

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    Steve: What is the record for the longest period of time before an extra was incurred? All runs off the bat thus far.

    Text 81111
    Sam Robson

    Peter, via text: You can't really knock a guy with a century in only four and a half Tests, but something doesn't convince me about Sam Robson.

  190. 12:55: 
    Eng 73-1 (Cook 43, Ballance 4)

    Rohit Sharma, who bowls a bit of off-spin, is given a chuck before lunch and is worked for a couple of easy singles as he struggles to find his radar. He straightens up a little bit and Alastair Cook plays with a straight bat before flaying the next one - a rank long hop - to the backward point boundary. Another single takes the skipper to within seven runs of his half-century.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "I think Gary Ballance might be that type of player, like Allan Border, where he scores a lot of runs but you don't remember how he got them. You don't gasp at his shots like you might do with Ian Bell or Moeen Ali."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

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    Stewart Morgan, Leicestershire: In light of the ongoing controversy surrounding Cook's form: in the first Ashes Test in 1997, Australia were dismissed for 118, with Mark Taylor contributing seven; he had not managed to pass 50 in his last 21 Test innings. However the Australian selectors backed their-out-of-form captain, and he repaid their faith with 129 in the second innings.

    Liam in Trowbridge: That Robson looks nowhere near a Test player.

  193. 12:51: 
    Eng 66-1 (Cook 37, Ballance 3)

    Some good suggestions from Gordon, Kate and Felicity there. Let's be having your three golden rules when watching cricket at the ground. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is into his 11th over of the day already, and he surprises Gary Ballance with a sharp bouncer before the nuggety left-hander clips a couple into the leg side.

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    Gordon Hao: When is it acceptable to eat ice cream (see 12:13)? Here it's all day every day - listening to TMS in Lake Como, Italy, and feasting on an unlimited supply of gelato. Cook has to get 100 now after that dropped catch.

    Kate Galvin, Leeds: Re: ice cream - it's never too early - normal rules don't apply when you're at the cricket, a bit like going on holiday - when is it too early to have a pinot grigio? Never... and in airports you're technically in aerospace anyway so it doesn't count.

    Felicity, Marrakech (Morocco): Surely a bacon butty before the lunch break is acceptable?

  195. 12:47: 
    Eng 64-1 (Shami 9-1-29-1)

    It's beginning to look like Alastair Cook's day. After being dropped earlier, he manages to avoid making contact with a jaffer from Mohammed Shami and then he flashes four through the gully region. They all count.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Steve Duggan: Come on Alastair Cook. Criticism, especially from KP, is not worth airtime. Get a ton & confound them all.

    Tom Holmes: Got a good feeling about today, Cook to turn English cricket on its head and start a recovery.

    Adam F: I think I've figured out why Robson isn't playing for Australia.

  197. 12:43: 
    Eng 59-1 (24 overs)

    Two lefties at the crease but, unlike some of his colleagues, Bhuvneshwar Kumar refuses to go round the wicket for now. Could it be that he's not comfortable with that line of attack? Two more for Alastair Cook as he guides the ball to long leg.

    Ed Smith, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Alastair Cook has had that bit of luck that many great innings rely on, since then he has played very comfortably."

    If you're hoping to listen to TMS from overseas, follow this link - it's not available in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

    Andrew Samson, BBC Test Match Special statistician

    "This is Cook's highest score since he made 51 in the second innings at Melbourne."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  200. 12:40: 
    Eng 57-1 (Cook 31, Ballance 0)
    Mahendra Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar

    MS Dhoni is wearing camouflage-style wicketkeeping gloves in this match. Are they a fashion statement or could they be being worn for some sort of tactical reason? You never know these days...

    Another over, another single for Alastair Cook. I'm still not saying it...

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    Will, Horsham: Why have the selectors picked an Australian to open our batting? As an Englishman I find it completely unpalatable. Carberry is also a much better player with more presence at the crease than this guy!

    Alan: Changes had to be made but seems strange to leave a fit and healthy Liam Plunkett out, who did well with bat and ball at Lord's, and keep a half fit Broad in the team who seems to be only firing on two or maybe three cylinders at best.

    Subu Manippadi, Glasgow: India will miss Ishant Sharma and his impact bowling. I am not sure Pankaj Singh is a bowler for Test level. Hope he proves me wrong!

  202. 12:36: 
    Eng 56-1 (Cook 30, Ballance 0)

    It's all very sedate in the crowd as Gary Ballance walks out to partner his skipper. The Yorkshire left-hander gets an edge behind almost immediately, but low into the ground, as Bhuvneshwar Kumar continues with his assault on the top of off stump. Just a single to Alastair Cook in the over.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "That ball didn't do a lot, it was just in the corridor outside off stump. He did not play as close to his body as he could have done, but you are playing with fractions and I wonder about Robson with the quicker bowlers. I think I could get something out of Michael Carberry, if I had a bit of time with him I'd get more out of him, I think he was pretty decent against the fast bowlers."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  204. 12:29: 
    WICKET- Robson c Jadeja b Shami 26 (Eng 55-1)
    Sam Robson

    India finally make a breakthrough - and it's all pretty familiar, I'm afraid. Mohammed Shami pitches one up, finds a little movement off the seam and Sam Robson gets a healthy edge to Ravindra Jadeja at third slip.


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    Dan in Newcastle: I remember people willing Nasser Husain on in a big way when he scored 100 against India batting at number three at Lord's in 2002, and then there was the infamous point to the number on his shirt to celebrate.

    Richard Fleck: If Cook scores a ton, will we see any Nasser-style gesticulations towards his critics?!

    Lee Cullis: Damn that fool Plunkett for bowling well, taking wickets and scoring runs. If he wanted to keep his place he should have bowled filth and got out irresponsibly. Like Broad.

  206. 12:25: 
    Eng 55-0 (20 overs)

    In his current predicament, there's something quite reassuring every time Alastair Cook finds the middle of the bat - and not the outside edge - with a firm forward defensive. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is treated with plenty of respect until he bowls some filth outside off stump and is clattered to the point boundary. That'll do.

    Stephan Shemilt, BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl
    The Shane Warne Bar

    "If Alastair Cook gets a hundred, is this where he will celebrate?"

    Andrew Samson, BBC Test Match Special statistician

    "This is England's first Test opening partnership of more than 50 since the second innings of the fourth Test at Melbourne in December."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  209. 12:21: 
    Eng 51-0 (Cook 25, Robson 26)

    There's a touch of the Chris Rogers about Sam Robson who, like his Middlesex opening partner, wears an armguard which is so well worn it looks like it's been found underneath a pair of pumps and some odd socks in the lost property box. It's working for him though as he caresses four more through the covers before nudging a couple through midwicket to bring up the 50 partnership.

  210. 12:17: 

    Elsewhere in the world of cricket, South Africa have been set 369 to win the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo. With 21 overs left on day four, the Proteas - who lead the two-match series 1-0 - are 38-1, having already lost Alviro Petersen. Bad light has just stopped play.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special
    India's slips walk to their fielding positions

    "Ashwin not playing for India is ridiculous, because England have so many left-handers. If it's a bowling pitch you need more batsmen, but on a flat deck like this you need more bowlers."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  212. 12:17: 
    Eng 45-0 (Cook 25, Robson 19)

    Alastair Cook refuses to be shackled in this innings as he keeps the scoreboard ticking with a couple of low-risk shots - the straight drive and the clip through midwicket. He and Sam Robson trade singles before the skipper resolutely keeps out one which extravagantly nips back in.

  213. 12:13: 
    Eng 43-0 (17 overs)

    At what time is it acceptable to eat ice cream? I only ask because a couple of spectators are feasting on the good stuff in the crowd. Have they gone too early there? I have a rule that sandwiches must not be consumed until the lunch break. They never last that long, though.

    The cricket? Don't worry - there's not much happening as Alastair Cook plays back five dots before clipping a single into the leg side to retain the strike. A quiet morning? That's just what Cook wanted when he won the toss. Quiet accumulation.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "This looks a very nice batting pitch to me, it's on the slow side, and is so slow and low you can predetermine to get on the front foot almost before the bowler has bowled. It makes it easier for the openers, and after Cook's drop this is his opportunity to get runs. He's played better today, he's played very straight and I've seen all of the maker's name on his bat. He's had a bit of luck - and you need a bit of that now and again."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  215. 12:08: 
    Eng 42-0 (Cook 23, Robson 19)

    The tall Pankaj Singh, from the Pavilion End, goes round the wicket to the left-handed Alastair Cook. Standing tall at the crease and displaying deliberate concentration to each and every delivery, the Essex opener pushes a quick single to rotate the strike. Behind the stumps, wicketkeeper MS Dhoni smiles and chats with his three-strong slip cordon. He'll be a little worried about his side's failure to break through in the first hour.

    Stephan Shemilt, BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl
    View from the media centre at the Ageas Bowl

    "How's this for a view? In the new media centre at Southampton, TMS have gone al fresco. On a warm day, the commentators have a spot on the balcony, looking out on the picturesque ground. 'We'll come inside if it rains', says producer Adam Mountford."

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    Paul, Milton Keynes: Should be at Rose Bowl today as my kindly brother got me a ticket for the game. Sadly my six-week-old boy is struggling with feeds in the heat so need to be with my wife and him. Fully behind Cook as he is a fantastic sportsman, should be backed as he has been picked and also he lives close to where we used to live in Bedfordshire. 100 for Cook between lunch and tea.

    Haydn Morris: It's my 40th birthday today. Enjoying it in Snowdonia on holiday with family. Best present would be for Cook to score 100 & England to win the Test.

  218. 12:02: 
    DRINKS BREAK- Eng 41-0

    Lovely stuff, skip. The left-hander unfurls a beautiful cover drive, and only the slowness of the outfield prevents him getting full value for the shot. He still gets three runs though, which sees him overtake Kevin Pietersen in England's all-time Test run-scorers' list. He's now got 8,184 and is behind only Graham Gooch, David Gower and Alec Stewart. Cook raises a smile too. Does he know he's surpassed KP?

    Join the debate at #bbccricket
    Alastair Cook

    Jay Smith: Huge let off for Captain Cook, the kind of break he's not been getting. Let's hope he makes the most of it now.

    AFCSTU: Almost Gower-esque flail outside the off stump. Cook to get 150.

    CDNesbitt: Much looking forward to Cook's century today, and then to a tactical masterclass when we put India in tomorrow evening.

  220. 11:57: 
    Eng 38-0 (14 overs)

    I'm not sure I can remember a time when the English cricketing public so craved a big score from one individual? Maybe when Andrew Strauss or Nasser Hussain needed a big innings? Help me out here...

    A single for Alastair Cook and a nice four through midwicket for Sam Robson creates some nice symmetry: both batsmen are 19 not out from 42 deliveries.

    Stephan Shemilt, BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl

    "'There's the twist," says Michael Vaughan, as Jadeja drops the catch. Alastair Cook, reprieved, shakes his head and watches the replay on the big screen. I wonder..."

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    Chris Tossell: Lying awake in Chicago watching the sunrise on Trump Tower. Shame I can't find a way of listening to TMS, guess it's text commentary all the way. Cook ton - England 350-3 end of day!

    If you're hoping to listen to TMS from overseas, follow this link.

  223. 11:51: 
    Eng 33-0 (Cook 18, Robson 15)

    That's one for the photographers! Sam Robson eases into an effortless cover drive and dispatches Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the boundary. Beautiful! Five dots either side.

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    Elliott Butlin: Massive drop that. Could be a boost for Cook.

    Michael Badham-Jones: Come on Cookie make it count.

    Cliff Pike: Will Cook ever learn not to prod at those? Maybe he'll finally take advantage? Or maybe he'll just do the same again shortly!

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "That was an easy one. It was in that channel again where Cook keeps prodding at it. On this kind of surface you can't let those opportunities be missed."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  226. 11:47: 
    DROPPED CATCH- Eng 29-0 (Cook 18, Robson 11)

    Don't nibble at those, skipper! Pankaj Singh goes round the wicket to Alastair Cook and immediately gets the captain to open the face of the bat and guide a relatively easy catch to Ravindra Jadeja at third slip, but the all-rounder shells it. A massive let-off for Cook. He gets a single for his troubles and, when he is returned the strike, he clips a stray one onto his pads for two past backward square.

    Text 81111

    Moving to your seat during an over is an absolute no-no, so we've asked what other quirks about Test cricket do you like?

    Jeremy, Brighton: "The beer snake - a lovely little quirk!"

  228. 11:44: 
    Eng 25-0 (Cook 15, Robson 10)

    Bhuvneshawar Kumar gets in close to the stumps, Glenn McGrath-like, and he continues to probe away outside Sam Robson's off stick. However, his gentle outswingers looks just that on this pitch. There's no nip from the India opening bowler as another maiden over is played out.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Thomas DJH Stirk: Pankaj Singh wouldn't look out of place in WWE, absolute man mountain.

    Peter Vaz: It's a bit outrageous that India have managed to add yet more batting to their line up with Rohit Sharma!

    Alan Compton: What constitutes a 'good knock' for Cook, here; 30? 50? 100?

  230. 11:40: 
    Eng 25-0
    Sam Robson and Alastair Cook

    Pankaj Singh is a big, strapping fast bowler. Standing well over six foot and with shoulders which could pull a stationary car, he generates plenty of pace as he hurls himself down the wicket. Alastair Cook, meanwhile, has the spacial awareness of a good driver trying to squeeze into a tight car-parking space as he leaves anything going through to the keeper and plays back those going on to hit his stumps. Easy, isn't it? Maiden over.

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    Andy Gilchrist: Speaking of etiquette at grounds. I once got attacked by a massive wasp at Worcestershire and proceeded to wave frantically at it with my white trainers, which I'd taken off on a hot day. Forgot I was sitting behind the bowler's arm.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "It's done just enough to keep you interested as a bowler, but this is going to be an absolute road. There's no pace in the pitch, but the outfield has a decent pace. Just try not to give your wicket away! India only have four front-line bowlers, so England have a great opportunity of posting a really big total."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  233. 11:35: 
    Eng 25-0 (Cook 15, Robson 10)

    Tip and run! Both Sam Robson and Alastair Cook exchange singles before the former pushes an exquisite four through the covers. Shot of the day so far.

  234. 11:32: 
    Who is Pankaj Singh?
    Pankaj Singh

    Pankaj Singh is making his Test debut today - the 29-year-old's only previous international appearance was in 2010 as an under-strength India side played Sri Lanka in a one-day tri-series in Zimbabwe. Pankaj, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, took 0-45 from seven overs with the new ball in that game.

  235. 11:31: 
    Eng 19-0 (8 overs)

    Sam Robson is keeping his skipper on his toes - dragging through Alastair Cook for a rather sharp single. A couple of stout forward defences from the skipper close the over. Dare I say it about Cook? No, not yet...

    By the way, that over was out first look at debutant Pankaj Singh. Here's some extra info for you...

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    Chris, Somerset: Good to see that two of the new players this match are called Chris, and the other one is from Somerset.

    Shinh: I have a funny feeling. Both openers won't pass 30. One of Ballance and Bell will get a ton. Root will fail. End of day, 300 for 8/9 at slightly above 3.1 run rate per over. One of lower order to get 40 mark.

  237. 11:27: 
    Eng 18-0

    Alastair Cook has the air of a man who has gone past the point of worrying. He has just gone out there to bat and will think about nothing else. He waves three harmless outswingers through to the keeper and then safely plays back a couple of in-duckers. Another safe shouldering of arms to complete a maiden over.

    Text 81111
    Chris Tavare

    Dean (not Chris) in Leeds: "In a crisis England have turned to Chris's, why stop at Jordan and Woakes? Broad (senior), Tavare, Adams, Cowdrey, Woakes, Old, Read, Lewis, Jordan, Silverwood and Tremlett."

    Good knowledge, Dean, and there's a shot of Chris Tavare batting in India in 1981 for your efforts.

  239. 11:23: 
    Eng 18-0 (Cook 14, Robson 4)
    Mohammed Shami

    Alastair Cook steers Mohammed Shami for a two down the ground, then when the seamer strays onto the England captain's pads, it's vintage Cook as he forces the ball through mid-wicket for a well-run three.

  240. 11:20: 
    Eng 13-0 (Cook 9, Robson 4)

    Sam Robson worries me. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is bowling back of a length, nipping the ball about this way and that, and Robson is groping forward with a huge gap between bat and pad. Don't get bowled through the gate, Sam! Maiden over.

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    James Francis: I've never known a cricketer to be more willed on to score runs by the public than Alastair Cook at the moment. C'mon Cookie!

    Ian Massie: Are the selectors scared to drop Broad or Anderson in case of what they may say to the media so drop Plunkett who has bowled well but will have been grateful to have been picked!

    Bemused Gavin, Leeds: Have the selectors decided to deflect attention from our underperforming captain by dropping Plunkett? At the Lord's Test Anderson took 5 wickets, Broad 3 and Plunkett 4, runs in same order 21, 12 and 61 (1 not out).

  242. 11:16: 
    Eng 13-0 (Cook 9, Robson 4)

    I feel for those stuck in traffic, who are missing out on the tense early stages of this Test match. I'm always impressed by the etiquette at cricket grounds - for example, you are not allowed to go to your seat while play is under way. You must always wait until the end of the over. What other little quirks are unique to cricket grounds?

    Out in the middle, Alastair Cook gets another edge - but a controlled, almost purposeful one, as he guides Mohammed Shami through backward point for a morale-boosting boundary.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Mike Bell: Message for Captain Cook. The darkest hour is just before dawn. Embrace the new day, we'll clap you off on 120 not out tonight.

    Nick Birkett: Just landed in Hong Kong and tuned into the Text Service. Come on Cookie, you won the toss now get a hundred.

    Prowler: With the whole Cook-Pietersen thing we're missing the fact India's match winner is out injured.

    Phil Tufnell, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "I like turning up to a Test where there's a bit of grass on the pitch, it's exciting. So many games are decided by the toss, but where there's a bit of indecision it makes it interesting, but I think Cook made a brave decision."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  245. 11:12: 
    Eng 9-0

    It's interesting that India's opening bowlers are getting their most extravagant movement off the seam with a shorter length - the type of which England got criticised for bowling at Lord's last week. The pitch looks good for batting on though.

    Like his skipper, Sam Robson is another who looks a little iffy outside the off stick as he benefits from a thick edge past third slip to add two more to his score.

    Text 81111

    Kara, M27 car park: "The reason why the ground is so empty is because we're all stuck on the M27. Having travelled from Dubai it's a little frustrating. The question is, will Cook still be there by the time we get there?"

  247. 11:08: 
    Eng 7-0

    I once read that darts legend Phil Taylor would not go to sleep until he had nailed ten 180s in the darts board above his bed. I suspect Alastair Cook has been similarly obsessive this week - almost to the point of practising the leave outside off stump in his sleep.

    So far so good as he pushes a couple down the ground then punches two more through midwicket. A little play and miss gets Mohammed Shami excitable, but the skipper is quickly back in position to firmly defend the final ball of the over back to the infield.

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    Tim, Southampton: Bit confused by your earlier report about the Woking signalling centre causing disrupting due to a lightning strike. Is that a lightning strike caused by the weather or have the staff all walked out?

    We suspect the weather!

    Phil Tufnell, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special
    The captains toss up

    "It was an awkward little toss for Cook, but he's grabbed it by the horns because he could easily have had a bowl. But it does feel like there will be something in it and it could move around for the first couple of hours."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    If you're hoping to listen to TMS from overseas, follow this link,

  250. 11:03: 
    Eng 3-0

    Ooohhh! Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivers the first ball of the Test and Alastair Cook edges towards slip, but the ball bounces a couple of times before reaching the cordon. Then, the skipper scampers a Kevin Pietersen-like single to midwicket to get off the mark. Sam Robson is up and running too as he drives back past the bowler for a couple.

  251. 10:59: 
    Alastair Cook walks out to bat

    The sky is blue, the wicket is green, Alastair Cook is resplendent in white. The skipper pushes his chest out, holds his head high and marches to the wicket in a purposeful fashion. It's time to play.

  252. 10:57: 

    A penny for Alastair Cook's thoughts right about now. He's a brave man to bat first on a wicket which is sure to give the opening bowlers assistance early on. Especially considering the run of form he's on.

    Text 81111

    Chris, currently on the train from Ford in Sussex: "Heading to the cricket but big problems on the trains from London. Lots of dissatisfied cricket fans on the platform at Clapham Junction this morning - expect a few very late arrivals!"

    Stephan Shemilt, BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl

    "The Rose Bowl is far from full and that might be partly down to ticket sales, but it also probably has something to do with transport issues in the south of England this morning. I'm told that trains have been cancelled and, judging by the queues on the M27, fans have taken to the roads. The line following the sign "Ageas Bowl Park and Ride" was static. It could be a little while before some ticket-holders take their seats."

    There is major disruption to trains heading south from Waterloo to Hampshire because of a lightning strike at the Woking signalling centre.

    Michael Vaughan, BBC Test Match Special

    The former England captain has been talking on TMS about Kevin Pietersen's comments over the weekend that Alastair Cook should resign the England captaincy: "I think Kevin has made a big mistake, I would have said to him if you want to get back into the England team, play for Surrey, score some big hundreds. The last few weeks he should have been playing in the County Championship for Surrey, but he's just been playing Twenty20. The drums would have beaten very loudly, it would have been impossible for England to ignore him if, say, like Adam Lyth of Yorkshire he had scored 1,000 runs but I would say he has made a big mistake not playing for Surrey."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  256. 10:49: 

    I've just seen an amusing incident out on the outfield, with Stuart Broad walking over to watch the television pundits doing their analysis by the boundary ropes. I'm not sure the England bowler agreed with everything which was being said. But should he be bothering himself with such things 20 minutes before the start of a Test match?

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Tom Mills: What exactly has Plunkett done wrong - wickets and runs? If anybody to miss out for Woakes it should have been Stuart Broad.

    David Hettle: Good change to bring in Woakes but how much more has Jordan done than Plunkett? Surely some more consistency worth it.

    Peter Vaz: So happy about this team selection...Woakes has to take his chance, been great in first class cricket for a while now!!

    Stephan Shemilt, BBC Sport at the Rose Bowl
    Alastair Cook

    "Alastair Cook may not necessarily have been happy to see the coin come down in his favour. Though the sky is blue, the pitch has a green tinge. It might have been a good toss to lose. As it is, the national pastime of Cook watching shall soon resume. The skipper fulfils his media engagements - one, two, three interviews, then has a moment to himself. Walk to the wicket, imagine a few strokes, then wander off to collect the kit. Now, he'll be padding up. What must be going through his mind?"

  259. 10:47: 

    I suspect there will be a lot of excitement about Jos Buttler's inclusion in the Test side. Can he become England's answer to Adam Gilchrist? He will certainly be encouraged to play his natural attacking game by his skipper.

    "The reason he got selected is because he scores so many runs playing his way," said Cook. "The worst thing anyone can do when they get to international cricket is to change the way you play. Because that is not the reason you got selected."

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Can England turn it around today? Will we be reflecting on an Alastair Cook ton at the end of the day? Are you pleased to see Chris Woakes winning his second Test cap?

    Whatever you want to talk about today: we're all ears. You can send us a tweet, via #bbccricket, send a text to 81111 or email tms@bbc.co.uk (putting 'For Marc Higginson' in the subject line).

  261. 10:43: 

    BBC Weather's Nina Ridge: "We'll see some sunny spells, but there will be patches of thicker cloud this afternoon, although temperatures should rise to 25C. Tomorrow will start dry and fine, but there is the risk of an afternoon shower. The outlook for the last three days is dry and fine."

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "I looked at MS Dhoni after the toss and he had a wry smile, I think he is quite happy to be bowling this morning. Both teams have got exactly what they wanted to do, it should nip around a bit this morning but if you can get past that it should be a belter to bat on."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  263. 10:39: 

    Alastair Cook and his men left Lord's on Monday feeling pretty chastened. Following that 95-run defeat at HQ, former England captain Michael Vaughan called for Eoin Morgan to replace Cook as skipper, Kevin Pietersen urged the Essex batsman to resign while ex-England batsman Geoffrey Boycott said Cook is too "stubborn" to quit.

    But Cook is still at the helm - until the end of the summer at least, it seems. Is it now time to get behind the 29-year-old for the remaining three Tests against India?

  264. 10:38: 
    Team line-ups

    England: Alastair Cook (capt), Sam Robson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

    India: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Dhoni (capt & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Pankaj Singh.

    Umpires: Marais Erasmus (SA) and Rod Tucker (Aus).

  265. 10:37: 
    Jos Buttler

    Alastair Cook discusses Jos Buttler's Test debut in place of Matt Prior: "Matt's a big loss, but his body was not in great shape. Jos is an outstanding talent. I've not seen a more outstanding cricketer come through."

  266. 10:36: 

    England captain Alastair Cook on why he chose to bat: "It was a tough call but hopefully the sun will come out. History suggests it will be a very good cricket wicket."

    BBC Radio Test Match Special

    What do you make of that England team, then? The Test Match Special team are chewing over the fat right now - listen on BBC Radio 4 Long Wave, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, online or via your smart phone/tablet with the BBC Sport app and BBC iPlayer Radio app. And if you're hoping to listen from overseas, follow this link.

  268. 10:32: 

    And the team news? Well, England have made three changes - bringing in Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan in place of Matt Prior, Ben Stokes and Liam Plunkett. Interesting.

    India, by the way, have made two changes: seamer Pankaj Singh making his Test debut in place of the injured Ishant Sharma while Rohit Sharma is in for Stuart Binny.

  269. 10:31: 

    First some news from the toss, which has been won by Alastair Cook on a pretty damp, green-looking wicket. He's opted to bat first. Get padded up, skip.

  270. 10:30: 

    The numbers make pretty grim reading for Cook, too. England are winless in 10 Tests while the captain has failed to make a hundred in 27 innings. Will we finally see a momentum shift for the skipper and his crew this week, in this third Test against India in Southampton? Can the hosts draw level in the five-Test series? Let's find out.

  271. 10:25: 
    No more Prior

    Poor old Alastair Cook! That Ashes hangover is looking a little more serious than a bad head and a dodgy stomach as his side seemingly lurch from one disaster to another during the English summer. The latest casualty? One of Cook's closest lieutenants Matt Prior, who has stepped down for the summer to try and get over his injury problems.

  272. 10:20: 
    The worst of times

    It's the best job in the world and the worst job in the world. When it's going well, you pile on the runs, watch the victories rack up and drink lots of champagne with your mates at the end of every summer.

    When it doesn't go as well, it seems the world and his dog - and probably his cat too! - want you sacked, you feel like there's more chance of David Warner having a quiet night in than you scoring a century and the only bubbles you drink are the ones which you swallow while wallowing in the bath.

    Welcome to the world of the England cricket captain.

    Alastair Cook

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Live Scores - England v India


  • England beat India by 266 runs
  • England: 569-7 & 205-4 (40.4 overs)
  • India: 330 & 178 (66.4 overs)
  • Venue: Southampton

India 2nd Innings

View full scorecard
Vijay run out (Broad) 12
Dhawan c Jordan b Root 37
Pujara c Jordan b Moeen 2
Kohli c Buttler b Moeen 28
Rahane not out 52
Ro Sharma c Buttler b Anderson 6
Dhoni c Buttler b Anderson 6
Jadeja b Moeen 15
B Kumar c Anderson b Moeen 0
Shami b Moeen 0
Singh b Moeen 9
Extras 1w 4b 6lb 11
Total all out 178

India in England

India celebrate after winning the one-day series

Reports and scorecards from India's 2014 tour of England, which includes five Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20 international.