Bowled Over – England Take Series – By Luqman Liaqat

England batted out day five to secure a draw in Nagpur to beat India 2-1 and complete a first series triumph over India in 27 years.

It started poor for England as India made early in roads into there batting line up in quest to level the series after picking up five wickets on day one in Nagpur.

England batsmen struggled to adapt to the slow pitch, with only Kevin Pietersen chipping in with 73. Pietersen’s contribution brought about a recovery from 16-2, openers Alistair Cook and Nick Compton fell early to Ishant Sharma.

Pietersen shared an 86 run 3rd wicket partnership with Jonathan Trott bringing the tourists back on track. However, debutant Ravindra Jadeja bowled out Trott off a full delivery and Pietersen clipped the ball to Piyush Chawla at midwicket shortly after tea.

Ian Bell fell cheaply to Chawla, but England debutant Joe Root and wicketkeeper Matt Prior batted out the day with an unbroken stand of 60 to leave the score on 199-5.

Day two saw Root’s maiden test fifty which helped England post 330, while James Anderson struck three times to leave India on 87-4.

It was over for Root when Chawla caught and bowled him for a well played 73 to give England a competitive first innings score of 330.

Before the day was out, England struck with the ball, Anderson produced a cracking delivery removing Virender Sehwag for duck.

Swann had earlier hit a timely fifty, and he then accounted for Pujara’s dismissal with Ian Bell taking a superb one handed catch. Then Anderson bowled out Sachin Tendulkar for two runs and had Ghambhir caught behind by Prior for 37.

The third day of the test match saw India make a fight back with the bat as Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni put on a 198 run stand.

Kohli made 103 and with it became the highest run scorer of 2012, only to fall in Swann, pinned lbw.

Dhoni searching for his hundred on 99 but was run out from the second last ball of the day. Cook threw down the stumps with MS Dhoni fractionally short of his ground.

Jadega in between was dismissed from an in swinger by Anderson, as India  finished the day 297-8 trailing England by only 33 runs.

England were on the brink of a famous Test series victory in India, after reaching four at stumps on 161-3 in Nagpur giving them a lead of 165 runs.

India scored 29 runs in an hour, declaring on 326-9 still four runs adrift of England’s first innings total.

Ashwin finished on 29 not out, while Monty Panesar bowled out Ojha for three. With no rush England began increasing their advantage, as the openers started by sharing a 48 run partnership before both fell in the afternoon session.

For the second time in the match, Cook was left hard done by when he was given out caught behind, replays showed the ball had missed his bat.

Compton fell to spin off Ojha, after appearing to get an edge he was given lbw.

After the break Kevin Pietersen left a straight ball from Jadega which crashed into his off stump. However, the two Warwickshire batsmen Trott and Bell kept India at bay, as they steadied the ship sharing an unbroken 67 run partnership.

Trott survived a huge caught behind appeal by Sharma on 43, but he lived another day reaching 66 not out with Ian Bell on 24 at the close.

A draw was never in doubt on the final day, Trott and Bell both scored centuries before the players shook hands after tea with England finishing on 352-4.

Bell brought up his half century off 130 balls, the pair put on 208 for the fourth wicket. Trott finally found his feet at the centre of action after a tough fourth day, as he reached his century off 232 balls.

The afternoon session moved on smoothly, until Trott was out just before tea for 143 when he tickled Ashwin straight to Kohli at leg slip.

Root joined Bell before tea, and like the result,  Bell’s hundred was a formality as he reached it with a leg glance from 293 deliveries. Root remained 20 not out and with Bell unbeaten on 116, the players called it a day in the final session.

In the end it was a great series for England who came back from a crushing nine wicket first test defeat to take it 2-1. Alistair Cook was given man of the series, scoring well over 500 runs and Swann and Panesar took 37 wickets between them as the tourists left India in bullish mood.

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