Nothing seems to be going right for Team India while England are on the charge. The visitors have not looked back since the disappointing loss in the Ahmedabad Test. They have gone from strength to strength since the second innings in Ahmedabad, continued that in Mumbai and were in the 'zone' yet again on Day 1 of the Kolkata Test. James Anderson was brilliant while Monty Panesar was confident. Sachin Tendulkar played his hand but could not stop the rampaging England side.
India were under the pump again while England played hard cricket to dominate the proceedings on Day 1. Here are some moments of the day.
India and a Cook full of expressions
Story first published on: Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:22
England cricket's man-in-charge on the field, Alastair Cook, is not only a difficult batsman to dislodge but his expressions are equally difficult to judge. In the Mumbai Test, his expressions at losing the toss were quite amusing for some and quite intricate for others. But apart from Cheteshwar Pujara's knock at the Wankhede, India did not have much to talk about. England skipper though, has been smiling away merrily ever since. The visitors' exploits in the second Test have given them a new lease of life and energy, and that seemed evident at the toss today. Despite losing the toss yet again, there was hardly any tension on Cook's 'finely cut' face and no doubt he was the one 'smiling' ear to ear at the end of Day 1.
A whistling and almost the full Monty
He (Monty Panesar) was India's chief tormentor in the Mumbai Test with 11 wickets - he got Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dhoni and Ashwin in both the innings there - and he continued his 'prime' form at a much docile Kolkata pitch. This time the victims were different in Gambhir and Pujara and so was the celebration. His famous high-five-misses were absent and in came a 'pandey ji seeti maare' style dance to enthral the crowd and his teammates. Well, as long as he is taking wickets, his team will not mind the antics one bit. Actually, Panesar was rewarded for his efforts with the skipper's confidence and Swann got 2/5th the overs the flying Monty got on Day 1 in Kolkata.
First Panesar, then Finn, then Anderson
Sachin Tendulkar 'looked good' in first two Test matches but could not progress to get a big score. It almost seemed as if he was out to prove a point in Kolkata that "even if I do not 'look good' today, I am going to stick in". First up Monty Panesar: apparently when Panesar had Sachin dismissed on the last tour to India, the 'Little Master' had autographed the match ball saying "Once in a blue moon, never again!" (in a lighter vein of course). He got him out twice in the Mumbai Test itself (need we say more) and in Kolkata, Sachin pushed, prodded, defended but did not give his wicket away, well, to Monty. Of the 83 balls SRT faced from Monty, he scored only 20 runs. Even Steven Finn and James Anderson bowled a couple of fiery overs to Sachin but he did score a few off them. It was an uncharacteristic knock but a dogged one on a tough day for India. If only he had survived the day, if only!
India challenged in their own backyard
This one is not for the faint-hearted. Since 2004, India have played at the Eden 5 times and won four of them (a draw against Pakistan in 2007). If India batted first, they scored in access of 400 while if the opponents batted first India restricted them to 300 or there-abouts. This time it seems, that will be repeated on India with their score on 273/7 after Day 1. There surely is something wrong here - that definitely is the batting and team's attitude. The Laxmanesque resilience is missing, the Dravid-like stability is missing but the body-language is not of a side anywhere near their best. And this is the tiger's den we are talking about. India is not known for making comebacks when under the pump and it will be up to the 'big names' to prove critics like us wrong looking ahead.
Gambhir gets Sehwag, crowd reaction deceptive
To be fair to him, this is what KKR skipper said after day's play: "I thought that was not a situation for a third run. The ball was in his hand and I thought it would be risky going for a third. But after watching replay I thought there was a third run. We lost an important player. He was hitting the ball well. If he could have continued and we had a bigger start, we would have been a different position."
But even as Indian wickets were falling regularly, the typically enthusiastic crowd was always cheering the home side. Commentators were referring to this again and again that if "India get on top here, it would be very tough for England to manage the massive crowd support", but alas that did not happen at all. The 'defiant' crowd though, always expected that whoever comes in will take the team forward. India though, were always chasing the game after Sehwag's unfortunate dismissal.