NOTTINGHAM, England, (Reuters) – Alastair Cook’s torrid form continued as England made a shaky start to their innings on the second day of the opening test at Trent Bridge after India’s stubborn tail frustrated the hosts yesterday.
England’s under-pressure captain was bowled off his thigh pad for five as his side closed on 43-1 in reply to India’s 457, which included a 111 partnership between Bhuvneshwar Kumar and number 11 Mohammed Shami – a last-wicket record for India against England.
Cook, whose team have lost six of their last seven tests, has now scored only 606 runs in his last 13 tests at an average of 24.24.
“Credit to the Indian pair – they didn’t give us the last wicket,” Stuart Broad, who took two wickets for 53 runs, told Sky Sports.
“It was frustrating but we tried pretty much everything with the ball. It was 50 overs old and it wasn’t doing much. In that session it was actually 90-4 but we walked off frustrated. It’s a good pitch to bat on. It could have been 600.”
After watching India post a healthy total on a batting-friendly pitch, Cook arrived at the crease determined to shake off his poor run, but his luck refused to change.
Looking nervous from the first ball, Cook was a little unlucky when he moved across his crease and Shami’s delivery deflected off his thigh pad on to the stumps.
Sam Robson (20) and Gary Ballance (15) got England through to stumps without many more alarms.
England had prospered earlier in the day, taking five wickets either side of lunch to reduce India to just 346-9 after the visitors had begun the day well placed on 259-4.
India were cruising towards the 500 barrier when they reached 342-5 for five at lunch with Murali Vijay having earlier been out for 146 and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni 81 not out.
Two wickets for Ben Stokes, one for Broad and the brilliant run out of Dhoni by James Anderson shortly after the interval threatened to ruin India’s day.
It was a surprising turn of events on a flat, slow pitch that drew criticism and led to claims it had been designed to ensure the match goes the distance in order to maximise revenue, an accusation dismissed by Nottinghamshire’s chief executive.
“The idea that as a chief executive I would put pressure on to produce any sort of pitch is a bit silly actually,” Lisa Pursehouse was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Opportunities were few and far between for the hosts’ bowlers but their patience paid off in a blistering spell at the start of the afternoon session as India lost four wickets for two runs.
Stokes, who had little reward for his efforts in the previous sessions, struck in the second over after the interval when Ravindra Jadeja (25) recklessly swung at a ball outside off stump and was caught behind by Matt Prior.
Dhoni fell soon after to Anderson’s direct hit and four balls later debutant Stuart Binny drove at a Stokes delivery and found the grateful hands of Joe Root.
Paceman Broad wasted no time in getting in on the act when he clattered the ball into Ishant Sharma’s stumps.
Any hope that England would finish off India quickly disappeared though as Kumar and Shami batted superbly to add more than 100 runs to the total, both registering their first test 50s.
Spinner Moeen Ali, who had been targeted by India’s batsmen, finally made the breakthrough when Kumar chipped straight to Root at mid-on to end their innings.
The day had started well for the tourists and Vijay looked to be on his way to his third test 150 but fell to a marginal lbw decision off Anderson, ending a 126-run fifth-wicket stand with his captain.
Replays showed the ball was bouncing over the stumps but with the series not employing the decision review system – India refuse to use it – the wicket could not be challenged.
India first innings
M. Vijay lbw b Anderson 146
S. Dhawan c Prior b Anderson 12
C.A. Pujara c Bell b Anderson 38
V. Kohli c Bell b Broad 1
A.M. Rahane c Cook b Plunkett 32
M.S. Dhoni run out 82
R. Jadeja c Prior b Stokes 25
S. Binny c Root b Stokes 1
B. Kumar c Root b Moeen 58
I. Sharma b Broad 1
M. Shami not out 51
Extras (w-1, 1b, lb-8) 10
Total (all out, 161 overs) 457
Fall of wickets: 1-33 2-106 3-107 4-178 5-304 6-344 7-345 8-345 9-346 10-457
Bowling: Anderson 38-10-123-3, Broad 33-13-53-2, Stokes 34-6-81-2 (1w), Plunkett 37-8-88-1, Moeen Ali 18-0-97-1, Root 1-0-6-0
England first innings
A. Cook b Shami 5
S. Robson not out 20
G. Ballance not out 15
Extras (nb-2, w-1) 3
Total (for one wicket, 17 overs) 43
Fall of wicket: 1-9
Still to bat: I. Bell, J.Root, Moeen Ali, M. Prior, B.Stokes, S. Broad, L. Plunkett, J. Anderson
Bowling (to date): Kumar 4-0-12-0, Shami 5-1-15-1, Sharma 5-1-12-0, Jadeja 2-1-3-0, Binny 1-0-1-0