England’s worries against spin bowling continued as the tourists were thrashed by nine wickets on the final day of the opening Test against India.
Cheteshwar Pujara was named man of the match for his unbeaten double century, but it was Pragyan Ojha and Ravi Ashwin who gave England the most pain, sharing 13 of the 20 wickets to fall. Captain Alaistair Cook and Matt Prior did start with the final day with hopes of clinging on for a draw but the Indian spinners, ably assisted by a deteriorating pitch and invariable bounce, dismissed the tourists with a lead of just 76.
While England look for answers against spin, Cook hoped for an improved show in Mumbai.
“We can look at a number of reasons why we didn’t win, but our first-innings wasn’t good enough,” said the England captain. “It was a great fightback in the second-innings and there was a glimmer of hope but it always had to be something special. We’ll work hard going into Mumbai. The pitch got slower as the game went on. We needed runs in the first-innings, they are crucial. Now we need to keep working as hard as we can.”
His counterpart, MS Dhoni, said that the win came as a result of hard work put in by his side.
“There was something in the pitch to start with but as the game progressed there was low bounce but not much turn,” said Dhoni. “It was hard work for the spinners and it was a fantastic effort from them. Even if you misjudged the flight you had time to adjust and not much carried to the slips. It was important not to give many runs.
“It was a fantastic game for Pujara. He has the temperament to play big innings and has shown that on the domestic circuit. He makes sure he converts fifties to hundreds. Ojha looks to bowl tight and he knew it was up to him to take responsibility.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2012.
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