India left spinning around by England


CRICKET:After three melodramatic days of mesmerising Test cricket, England completed a famous victory with few dramas but much style on the fourth morning. They won by 10 wickets just before lunch, leaving the Indian team in some disarray and themselves plenty of time to celebrate before the two teams meet again in Kolkata on December 5th.

Seldom have England defied expectations as spectacularly as this. Delhi 1984, Jamaica 1990, Barbados 1994, Edgbaston 2005 and Mumbai 2006 all spring to mind but this victory is in the same territory. England had been thrashed in Ahmedabad the previous week and here, once India had recovered from 119-5 to 327 in their first innings, most of the sages reckoned that they had lost their chance to square the series.

Instead they trounced India at their own game on their own pitch. The architects of the victory are self-evident: with the bat Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen; with the ball Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar took 19 wickets in the match. The last time English spinners did this was when Jim Laker and Tony Lock combined to rout New Zealand at Leeds in 1958.

Cook and Pietersen, Panesar and Swann have been immense in this match. But there were also little nuggets of encouragement elsewhere. Nick Compton increasingly looks like an England player. Here he underwent a metamorphosis between his two innings.

With a modest target of 57 Compton did not hang around, down the pitch one moment, reverse sweeping the next. As a consequence England only required 9.4 overs to knock off the runs after their spinners had dispatched the last three Indian batsmen without much fuss. Such a change of tack by Compton reveals an alert, confident mind and – as we keep saying – it’s all in the mind in India.

Jonny Bairstow did not score many runs but he brought a vibrancy to England’s out-cricket. Samit Patel, though still seeking that breakthrough innings at this level, gives the impression that it might happen.

England will have some ticklish decisions before the next Test concerning a couple of senior players. Stuart Broad had his most anonymous match and does not look like the second-best paceman in the party. Ian Bell will be back in the country soon as well.

Guardian Service

Overnight: England 413 (K P Pietersen 186, A N Cook 122; P P Ojha 5-143). India 327 (C A Pujara 135, R Ashwin 68; M S Panesar 5-129, G P Swann 4-70) and 117-7 (G Gambhir 53 no; M S Panesar 5-61).

India Second Innings

G Gambhir lbw b Swann 65

Harbhajan Singh c Trott b Swann6

Z Khan c Prior b Panesar1

P P Ojha not out6

Extras b6 lb3 pens 0 9

Total (44.1 overs) 142

Fall: 1-30 2-37 3-52 4-65 5-78 6-92 7-110 8-128 9-131.

Bowling: Anderson 4 1 9 0 Panesar 22 3 81 6 Swann 18.1 6 43 4

England Second Innings

A N Cook not out18

N R D Compton not out30

Extras b8 lb2 pens 0 10

Total 0 wkts (9.4 overs) 58

Bowling: Ashwin 3.4 0 22 0 Ojha 4 0 16 0 Harbhajan Singh 2 0 10 0

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