England Series Win

December 18, 2012 by  

England Series Win, Grame Swann, left, and Monty Panesar made vital contributions to England’s series victory in India. Due to the BCCI’s restrictions on agency photographers at the current series the Guardian is not using live images from the

1 Cook’s reprieve in Ahmedabad
Test matches do not exist in isolation; they bleed into each other as the narrative of a series develops. In the course of his mighty 176 in the second innings of the first Test, Alastair Cook should have been given out lbw to Pragyan Ojha on 41. It was one of the many umpiring errors that became a sad feature of the series. Cook’s reprieve allowed him to kickstart his astonishing personal series; just as importantly, he showed his team there was nothing to be afraid of.

2 Yadav’s untimely injury
Nobody in England paid much attention when Umesh Yadav sustained a back injury during the first Test, but it was to rule him out of the remainder of the series. He had taken four wickets in Ahmedabad with extra pace and reverse swing, but spin had been India’s main weapon, the same old story. That story changed as the series developed: in the third Test in particular, reverse swing was a big factor and Yadav was sorely missed.

3 India muck up a Cook run-out in Mumbai
The series turned during a partnership of 206 between Cook and Kevin Pietersen in the second Test. Their stand would have been ended at 122 had Ravichandran Ashwin and MS Dhoni not fluffed the chance to run out Cook for 90 in the third over of the third day. England’s other batsmen struggled in the innings, with Nos 5-11 scoring 69 between them. Had Cook fallen, Pietersen might not have had the time or the freedom to smash a superb 186.

4 Swann’s second-Test dismissal of Pujara
Unlike many modern spinners, Graeme Swann does not seem to like bowling early in the innings. He made an exception in the second innings in Mumbai, where the ball was spitting and kicking, and took one of the most important wickets of the series by dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara in his first over. Before that ball Pujara averaged 388 in the series; from that moment on he averaged 12.50.

5 More variety from Monty
In 2008 Shane Warne famously said that “Monty Panesar hasn’t played 33 Tests, he’s played one Test 33 times”. Panesar was dropped soon after, but in his second incarnation as a Test player he has shown much greater variety, as he demonstrated in his match-winning performance in Mumbai. If Panesar’s naturally quicker pace was perfect for the pitch, he also mixed it up. In the second innings he bowled a 51.2mph delivery to Sachin Tendulkar; the next ball was 58mph and trapped the unprepared Tendulkar lbw. India collapsed from 52 for two to 117 for seven at the close.

6 England’s never-say-die attitude in the third Test
India started the third Test ominously on a featherbed in Kolkata, racing to 45 for nought after 10 overs, when the dangerous Virender Sehwag was run out. It took a number of disparate elements to produce the run-out: Samit Patel’s diving save on the boundary, Steven Finn’s excellent throw, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir jogging the first two runs and then Gambhir turning down an easy third. The stars had aligned – or, some might say, the attitude of each side’s stars had aligned – and England were in control for the rest of the match.

7 Pujara’s Kolkata kit problems
As hassles go, taking off a chestguard and shinpads each time you move from short-leg or silly-point is not exactly up there with moving house. But Pujara kept his protective equipment on when he moved to slip in Kolkata and they might have contributed to his slow reactions when he dropped a relatively straightforward low chance to dismiss Cook for 17. The England captain went on to make 190.

8 Swann sparks series-winning spell
We have become used to Swann taking a wicket in the first over a new spell. In Kolkata he varied a theme by taking a wicket in the first over of a new session on day four. It could barely have been more important. India had pummelled England before lunch, taking the last four wickets for 14 before racing to 86 for nought. Another hour of Sehwag and England would have been in trouble. Swann’s first ball of the afternoon session was a beauty that bowled Sehwag and sparked a series-winning spell in which England took six top-order wickets for 36.

9 Gambling on Root
Joe Root’s selection for the final Test seemed to come out of nowhere. In fact it came out of Navi Mumbai, where Root’s 166 for the England Performance Programme just before the third Test reinforced the perception that he was ready for the step up. When a position became available for the final Test, Root helped England to a series victory with a wonderfully composed first-innings 73.

10 Bringing on the drinks in Nagpur
The Nagpur pitch was so dead that the drinks break became one of the likeliest sources of a wicket. Four batsmen lost concentration, and their wicket, in the over after drinks. The most important came on the third day, when Virat Kohli was lbw to Swann to end a huge partnership with Dhoni. With him went India’s chance of pressurising England by taking a big first-innings lead.

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