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India Vs England Mumbai Cricket Test: Pujara, Cook And KP Neutralize Dhoni’s Turn!
Pitch Report by MS Dhoni?
demanding a pitch that turns from the first day Indian captain MS Dhoni to
direct question tried to justify his demand by saying just before the start of
the second Test in Mumbai that he wanted the importance of the toss out of the
equation. He meant that each team should suffer equally from spin irrespective
of who won the toss or who would bat last. The skipper conveniently forgot that
his team prides in having the best spin attack of the world and the best
batsmen of spin. And he also seemed to forget that a pitch that is made to turn
from the first day must necessarily crack up by the third or fourth day making
the turn deadly and impossible to play and any team winning the toss would bat
first anyway. Upholding his supposed benevolence he managed to win the toss
again in the Mumbai Test and must have considered England batting in the fourth
innings gleefully. Of course, Dhoni’s demands entailed a little amount of
bounce too which combined with turn would test all batsmen definitely and help
seam bowlers too.
Turn the pitch
did indeed first thing in the morning of the first day of the second cricket
Test between India and England that
started in Mumbai yesterday, November 23, 2012. Pondering over the spinning obsession England
immediately corrected its vital mistake in the first Test in Ahmedabad and
brought into the team spinner Monty Panesar who bolstered the spin attack with
Swann. And, Team India
seemed to be falling in the trap set by its very own captain Dhoni with Panesar
capturing prize scalps right away. Sehwag, playing his hundredth Test match and wanting to make it memorial, and Tendulkar, continuing with his string of failures, had no
answer to Panesar’s bowling. Half of the team back in pavilion for a paltry 119
on the board India
looked set for a big humiliation at home getting out under 200 or 250 at most.
It took the ‘new
Wall’ Cheteshwar Pujara again to rescue his team from his captain’s trap and
notched up the third century of his career and the second consecutive of the
series. He remained unbeaten on 114 at stumps on the first day giving no clue
how to get him out ever, he thus batted for over 15 hours unbeaten from the
first Test making a double hundred, 41 and 114 not out. Spinner R Ashwin
provided a strong rearguard action making an unbeaten 60 taking India to 266/6
Thanks to the
brilliant 111 run partnership between Pujara (135) and Ashwin (68) Team India finally got itself practically out of the woods
at 327 all out on the second day today considering the still turning pitch and that England had to
bat last. The England
spinner duo captured 9 wickets with Panesar taking 5 and Swann 4.
today the pitch stopped looking dangerous and England batsmen progressed well
defending the turn stoutly despite the threesome spin attack in action with
Harbhajan inducted in place of injured medium pacer Umesh Yadav. Ojha who struck
two quick blows removing Compton (29) and Trott (0) reaffirmed the existence of turn. But
a fighting English captain Alistair Cook (87 not out) continued to take command
picking up his 30th half century. He found solid support in Kevin
Pietersen (62 not out) who raced to his 26th half century building an
unbroken partnership of 110 runs. Overcoming a volley of leg before appeals and
half chances the duo took England
to 178/2 at stumps Day-2, still trailing by 149 runs.
At the moment
the Mumbai Test is very absorbing and looking for an exciting finish barring
deadly pitch behavior tomorrow or on the fourth day.
Maybe in the end
Dhoni could be right as rank turners with some bounce could be better than the
ones with slow turn and no bounce in terms of producing exciting Test results.
But this does not give him any excuse for not trying to make his team dexterous
in all types of pitches and conditions and particularly grooming pace bowlers
within by providing genuine green tops. He may have his way at home, but teams
like Australia and England who always nourish the hope of
conquering the ‘final frontier’ are definitely not going to provide first-day
turners when India