Bowled Over – England Dominate in India – By Luqman Liaqat

England opened up a 2-1 series lead with a seven wicket victory over India in the third test at Eden Gardens.

The stand out performer during the match was skipper Alastair Cook as he led by example with a knock of 190 in the first innings.

Having won the toss for the third time in the series, India made a positive start at with Virden Sehwag and Gautam Ghambhir very much untroubled in the opening ten overs, however, a mix up between the pair resulted in a run out.

With the pitch lacking pace and bounce it didn’t affect Panesar as he deceived the danger man Pujara with a straight delivery for 16. James Anderson had Virat Kohli caught at slip which at the time left India 136-4.

Yuvraj Singh and Sachin Tendulkar helped India make a mini recovery, putting on a 79 run partnership, but Yuvraj’s residence was over when Cook held onto a catch at slip off Graeme Swann.

Tendulkar was soon on his way as well, Anderson had him caught behind by wicket keeper Prior for 76.

Dhoni and Ashwin were closing in on seeing out the day without losing another wicket, but Anderson had other ideas as he knocked back Ashwin’s middle stump.

Day two was a historic day, as Alastair Cook became the leading century maker for England, giving his team a commanding position on 216-1.

Earlier, India added 43 to their overnight score, MS Dhoni did his best to frustrate the English bowlers taking his side past 300.

Dhoni was last man out for a well played 52, a great catch from Swann gave Steve Finn his first wicket on his return to the team ending the Indian innings for 323.

England openers, Cook and Nick Compton put an opening stand of 165. Compton completed his maiden fifty but the talking point was Cooks ton giving him his 23rd, eclipsing Willy Hammond’s record set back in 1939 which had only been equalled by Geoffrey Boycott.

Cook looked on course for a third test double century, but was sent back to the pavilion for 190 in rather bizarre circumstances, as he was run out at the non-strikers end by Kohli’s sharp throw, when he tried getting out of the way of the ball before grounding his bat.

England overhauled India’s first innings score after lunch as Trott kept good concentration for his 87 only to lose his wicket poorly as he played at a ball he was best leaving, edging away to Dhoni from Ojha’s bowling.

After Cook’s removal, the hosts fought back removing Bell on five and Patel for 33. Kevin Pietersen achieved another confident fifty in the series. Although after Pietersen’s fall, Prior and Swann shared an unbeaten stand of 56 to finish the day 509-6.

England’s tail didn’t last long losing the remaining four wickets within 13 runs. The first two wickets fell in seven balls, Swann edged a drive off Ojha to slip becoming the left arm spinner’s fourth victim.

Then Prior lost his way to Zaheer Khan and Ashwin concluded the innings by picking up the last two wickets in two balls.

The English seamers did the vast amount of damage in India’s second innings leaving Cook’s side on the verge of victory on the fourth day.

India responded to 86-0 but by tea they were reeling on 145-6, Sehwag was bowled out by Swann, Pujara was run out for eight by Ian Bell’s direct throw.

Ghambhir followed soon, caught off Finn for 40 and Swann found Tendulkar’s edge as Trott held the catch. Anderson came steaming into the attack bowling out Yuvraj Singh and removed Dhoni for duck.

Ravi Ashwin’s superb 83 not out was the barrier in England’s way forcing the game to the final day, with India closing on 239-9 and a lead of just 30 runs.

India’s resistance lasted only ten balls on the fifth day, Ojha was bowled out by Anderson who finished with figures of 3-38. Unfortunately for Ashwin he was left stranded on 91 not out.

This left England an easy looking target of 41; however they gave India a sniff of a miracle as they collapsed to 8-3 in five overs.

Cook, Trott and Pieterson departed to spin of Ashwin and Ojha, however an unbeaten 28 from Bell saw England win their first test at the famous Kolkata ground since 1977.

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