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New Zealand v England
There is no doubt about it. England took New Zealand too lightly. But there is a reason for that. New Zealand are not very good at test match cricket, winning just 19% over their history. In one-day cricket they are perfectly fine, making six of the ten semi-finals in the World Cup since its conception. But there lies the problem. They ... are good multi - skilled players and so in demand for the IPL, where they prefer to be and where the money is. New Zealand country cricket doesn't pay much.
As with all England tours there wasn't enough warm up time in the middle for England to hit the ground running in the First Test, playing just one four day game previous and that in Queenstown where it was fun fun for ten days. Swann dodged the action at the last to have an operation in Americas to prepare for the Ashes summer.
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1st Test (March 6th-10th)
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Day one was washed out and England soon 18-3 at a chilly Dunedin on a greenish top on day two because of that moisture as Bell faced the hatrick ball, ducks for South Africans Compton and Pietersen. Saffer number three, Jonathan Trott, got them to a hundred with five down but once out for 45 it was all-out for 167, Wagner 4-42 and Martin 4-43, hardly a scary seam attack to produce England's lowest ever first test first innings against NZ. It's the fourth time in a row that England have been bowled out for less than 200 in their first innings of an overseas series.
The Black Caps had no trouble capitalizing on that excellent start as Peter Fulton (55) joined Hamish Rutherford and piled up a 150 partnership for the opening wicket, Rutherford the second highest New Zealander scorer on debut at this point, Matt Sinclair's 214 against the 'Windies' the record. When Rutherford made his 150 he was only the twentieth player to do that in test history. When he was out for 171 he was the eighth highest test debutant ever, certainly the highest against England. Tip Foster of Australia holds the record on 287.
===Highest on Debut===
287: Tip Foster (Eng) v Aus, Sydney, 1903
222*: Jacques Rudolph (SA) v Bang, Chittagong, 2003
214: Lawrence Rowe (WI) v NZ, Kingston, 1972
214: Mathew Sinclair (NZ) v WI, Wellington, 1999
201: Brendon Kuruppu (SL) v NZ, Colombo, 1987
176: George Headley (WI) v Eng, Bridgetown, 1930
171: Hamish Rutherford (NZ) v Eng, Dunedin, 2013
The slaughter continued after tea as they flayed another 150 runs before bad light let England off the hook with just two days to go, the dangerous Brian McCullum still at the crease to get that 300 lead, England's first four bowlers set to go for one hundred each.
McCullum (74) clubbed it around as NZ declared on increasingly flat pitch at 460-9, Martin 41*.
For England it was bat long and exploit the fact the NZ attack was poor and so it proved, 234-1 at the close of day four, centuries for Cook (116) and Compton(121*), their 200 partnership beating Graeme Fowler and Chris Tavares's 223 record-run opening partnership against New Zealand at the Oval in 1983. England were never going to bat poorly second time around and it was six centuries in seven test for Cook as captain and only the third Englishman to score test hundreds against all the test playing nations, behind Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell. Compton's maiden hundred backed the selectors who were tempted to drop him for Root. Cook now has the record outright as highest test scorer for England with 25.
===The Top 10 and level Test century makers ===
(51) Sachin Tendulkar
(44) Jacques Kallis
(41) Ricky Ponting
(36) Rahul Dravid
(34) Sunil Gavaskar
(34) Brian Lara
(32) Steve Waugh
(31) Mahela Jayawardene
(30) Matthew Hayden
(30) Kumar Sangakkara
(29) Don Bradman
It was a simple case of batting the final day out for the draw and easily achieved, night-watchman Steven Finn the surprise anchor with 55 in four hours, putting on 90 with Trott (52) to stop any early nerves. Having gone into the game with just 51 runs to his name from 17 Tests, Finny scored 76 in this match alone, ending up with his first ever first-class half-century, 56 runs off 200 balls, the second longest ever night-watchmen knock for England. Hands were shaken on 421-6 declared for the draw and onto Wellington. Only once in England's last13 tours have England won the opening test, and that was Bangladesh.
England 1st Innings167 all out (55.0 over's)
New Zealand 1st Innings460 for 9 declared (116.4 overs)
England 2nd Innings421 for 6 (170.0 over's)
This made me chuckle.....
At the same time in India, Australia became the first team ever to lose a test by an innings by declaring first. At 208-4 on the first day all looked well but the pitch started to seam and swing under cloud and Australia tumbled to 237-9 with half hour to go. Clarke bravely declared to exploit the conditions and India did indeed collapse, losing 9 wickets for 116 runs, but had already piled up 387-1 at that point, new sensation Puruja hitting yet another double hundred. Alongside Vijay with 167 they finished on 503 all out. Australia were then skittled for 131 and that was that. Team Australia responded to the hiding by banning four top players from the next text for not giving a PowerPoint presentation on what to do now. Bizarre.
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2nd Test 13th -17th March
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New Zealand won the toss and inserted England on a perfect batting pitch, an odd decision by McCullum. With rain likely to take out big chumps of the match the thinking was even more confusing. England didn't look the gift horse in the mouth and piled up 267-2 by the close of day one, centuries for Compton (100) and Trott (121) in a 210 partnership. There was even time for Cook (17) to become the seventh highest test run scorer for England. Only a lightning bolt is going to stop this guy getting 10,000 test runs.
-------Record run scorers for England------
8,900 runs: Graham Gooch (118 matches)
8,463: Alec Stewart (133)
8,231: David Gower (117)
8,114: Geoffrey Boycott (108)
7,728: Michael Atherton (115)
7,624: Colin Cowdrey (114)
7,426: Kevin Pietersen (94)
7,260: Alastair Cook (89)
7,249: Walter Hammond (85)
Pietersen (73) moved things forward with some elegant boundaries whilst Prior (82) guided the tail to the 450 with some even bigger hits, putting on 81 with that man Finn, the chipped out 500 sacrificed for a brisker 465 all out to earn time in the game as rain rolled in and England's highest ever test score in Wellington ticked up. Chris Broad nipped two out to close NZ on 66-3.
Day three and it was quite possible England could win the test by taking 17 wickets in that day, New Zealand that poor. At 89-5 it looked on but half-centuries from Watling (60) and McCullum (69) took them over the 200 then Chris Broad fighting back with 6-51, his best for a while as his pace continues to wane. 254-all out gave him the chance to get some more before the close, NZ 77-1 and holding out with the follow - on enforced.
That rain did arrive and only 35 over possible on day four, NZ closing on 161-2, Fulton out for 45. The final day offered less hope and the draw stamped in the scorebook.
England 1st Innings465 all out (146.5 overs)
New Zealand 1st Innings254 all out (89.2 overs)
New Zealand 2nd Innings162 for 2 (68.0 overs) - Following on
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3rd Test - March 20th-24th
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No Kevin Pietersen, who pulled out claiming an ongoing injury, expected to be out for 6 weeks or more. I suspect he will be fit and ready for next months IPL, The cynic I am. Alistair Cook made an arrogant howler by putting NZ in on a flat pitch on one of test cricket's smallest grounds, the home team laughing all the way to the bank with 250-1 at the close. A debut hundred by Peter Fulton was the quirky fact of the day, getting that hundred (134) at the grand old age of 34 during his truncated 10 year test career over seven years. Nicknamed 'two meter' Peter because of his height he was only the second NZ test bat to achieve this unglamorous feat, Zin Harris back in 1962 the other. With a test average of just 22 for 2MPeter this was poor bowling by England.
England did what they had to do to stay in the series on day two by bowling out New Zealand by tea, taking 9-193 in the day. Finn did the damage with career best bowling 6-125 with Williamson 91 and an entertaining cameo of 44 by Tim Southee off just 22 balls brining them how to 443 all out. The plan was for Finn to do the damage with his height but NZ spoiling the party, their test and series to lose now. James Andersen moved into the top four all-time test bowlers with his 2-79. England closed on 50-2 and rocking, big innings boys Cook and Trott out.
===England's top Test wicket-takers===
Ian Botham - wickets: 383, average 28.40
Bob Willis - wickets: 325, average 25.20
Fred Trueman - wickets: 307, average 21.57
James Anderson - wickets: 297, average 30.52
Derek Underwood - wickets: 297, average 25.83
England battled to make the follow-on but slumped to 72-5 before Prior and Root got them back into the game with a one hundred partnership before Prior fell for 73. Root managed to needle just 31 with the tail and that was that, England facing the follow on at 204 all-out, a career best 6-68 for Boult. I had honestly only heard of just one of New Zealanders seamers before this series, that of Southee.
The decision not to put England back in was very odd. Hansje Cronje odd. Yes their bowlers were tired but the last hour at the England first three with the pressure they were under was the correct call, proof enough it was the wrong call when New Zealand slumped to 8-3 against the same new ball and closing on 34-3.
Oh how we laughed...
Back down in India and Australia suffered their second only white wash in their test match history, going down 4-0, and their biggest thumping for 43 years. They not only lost all four tests but were thumped in all of them. Expect wholesale changes to the coaching and captaincy before next summer's not so anticipated Ashes series anymore.
Day four and NZ attacked, 'Two Meter Peter' hitting a second century (110), putting on a brisk hundred partnership with Brownlee, only the fourth New Zealander to do the double in the countries test history, doubling his career test average in the process. McCullum set up the declaration with a big hitting 67 to take them to 241-6, setting England an impossible 481 to win in four sessions, a record 16 sixes in the match for New Zealand, most of them off Monty. England closed on 90-4; Cook (43), Trott (37) already out along with Compton for 2.
The final day was daunting for England and perfunctory for NZ. England couldn't get near the total so had to bat three sessions with six wickets. NZ piled fielders around the bat. Root lasted an hour with Bell and only one down at lunch as Root (29) took root. With Bairstow gone at 159-6 it looked like it would be done by tea but Prior and Bell gave England a chance with a grueling 78 partnership in two hours until Bell fell the last ball before tea for 75 at 237-7. So enter hopelessly out of form Stuart Broad with the bat, breaking a test record by not scoring until his 62nd ball he faced, his first run coming after 103 minutes. But, critically, he and Prior had put on 64 when Broad was out for his 6 off 133 balls to bring up the 300 with just half an hour to go, Prior squeezing his nerves even more to secure his brave hundred. But with four agonizing over's left Anderson was out first ball and England as precarious as you can get on 304-9. So enter Monty, and like Cardiff in that exciting Ashes series of 2010, blocking out with Prior (110*) to secure a memorable draw, the delirious Barmy Army claiming it as a win. England had got away with a humiliating test series defeat here, 1984 and the days of the brilliant Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe the last time that occurred. It was only the third time in test history a team with 4 down at the start of day five had batted out the draw.
New Zealand 1st Innings443 all out (152.3 overs)
England 1st Innings204 all out (89.2 overs)
New Zealand 2nd Innings241 for 6 declared (57.2 overs)
England 2nd Innings315 for 9 (143.0 overs)
Series finish 0-0.
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Torvill & Dean's Dancing On Ice The Tour
Since dancing on ice began my mum had always said how much she would like to be in the audience. Although at that time I didn't know how to make that happen I decided on getting the next best thing for her birthday, tickets to the dancing on ice live tour. This year happened to be the bolero 25th anniversary tour. We decided to go to ... Manchester and booked for the 18th April. When we eventually told my mum she was thrilled and told everyone, I was equally and we couldn't wait to leave.
This was the first time we had been to see a show in the UK and we loved it. The atmosphere of the arena made it a much more exciting experience than being sat on the sofa. At the start of the show and after the interval a man came on to get the room excited and explained how the audience would be involved. This included practicing loudest claps and cheers against the opposite side of the arena and showing some members of the audience on the screens. He also encouraged the audience to go "oooh" every time they mentioned the trophy in the show.
When the show began we saw one dance from each celebrity that was judged.
The celebrities that year included Ray Quinn, Suzanne Shaw, Kyran Bracken, Roxanne Pallett, Zoe Salmon, Jessica Taylor, Melinda Messanger and the brilliant Todd Carty!
During Todds best performance from the show he managed to go off in the wrong direction again on top of the planned one from the series.
After that was an interval where the audience could vote to see their favourite two perform the bolero. Some of the money from this went to a charity.
At the start of the second half we saw all the celebrities skate again without being judged with the occasional professional dancers and Jayne and Chris performing too. This was continuous and was good as we had no comments and more dancing.
This was followed by the two boleros and one from Jayne and Chris and the winner of the tour was announced, which was Ray Quinn, and he was given the trophy (oooh!)
At the start and end was a fantastic new group routine and the whole show was hosted by Andi Peters. We had an amazing time and only wished we had booked seats closer to the front. And so the next year we went again (with seats closer to the front :-) )
This year was much the same as last year but with different celebrities. These included Chris Fountain and Ray Quinn again, Gaynor Faye, Hayley Tamaddon (who did her amazing Jai Ho dance), Mikey Graham, Gary Lucy, Emily Atack and Clare Buckfield. This year Kyran Bracken was a judge rather than a skater. As a special guest judge we had Michelle Keegan, who plays Tina in Coronation Street, who I think is a brilliant actress and enjoyed seeing her as a judge. This was even better than the first year and we were really getting into watching them.
So the following year we went again. This year had Sam Attwater (whose riverdance was phenomenal), Laura Hamilton(who was equally as good), Vanilla ice (who sang part of ice ice baby), Chloe Madeley, Denise Welch, Dave Vitty, Johnston Beharry VC and again Hayley Tamaddon. This year Christopher Biggins was a judge (I don't really like him but he was bearable as a judge.) This was my favourite year.
Last year we went again. This included Matthew Wolfenden, Jorgie Porter (both of which were great), Heidi Range, Andy Whyment, Chemmy Alcott, Chico and Sam Attwater. Unfortunately, due to injury, Jennifer Ellison couldn't do the show on the date we saw (in Nottingham this time). Instead in the group performances Karen Barber took her place which was great to see but I had really wanted to see Jennifer. Andi Peter's also didn't host this year and so Jayne and Chris were hosts (they should stick to skating though as I didn't like as hosts much at all.)
This year I am gutted there won't be a tour and look forward to the next one in 2014 (it's a long time away though :-( )
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England V India Test Series
England hadn't won a test series in India since 1985, something pace bowler Stuart Broad was reminded of when he got into a Twitter spat with the great Ian Botham over whether he was playing well enough to keep his place in the current England team. There was only going to be one winner: Broad tweeted: "Before you listen ... to too many ex-playing 'experts' being negative, ask them if they ever won a Test series in India!
Botham then sent a tweet to Broad. He wrote: "Didn't average 40+ with the ball overseas! Not sure what I scored vs India with the bat? #justsaying"
Botham is England's record wicket-taker with 383 victims and had a batting average of 61.55 and a bowling average of 25.53 in the seven Tests he played in India.
India again turned down the chance to use the (DRS) Decision Review System in a home series, suggesting they want the on field umpires to dictate the game. I wonder why? Well, India have again been associated with match fixing through a book by betting guru Ed Hawks, who claims the 2011 India V Pakistan World Cup semi-final may have been fixed, providing worrying evidence. Match fixing is rarely about money and blackmail nearly always the driver. Looks like a good read.
England 'welcomed' Kevin Pietersen back for the tour and after the irritable South African claimed the previous captains job when Strauss was effectively forced out for not wanting KP back under any circumstance, coach Andy Flower, who was similarly undermined by KP, has also been suspiciously demoted after losing the one-day coaching roles to Ashley Giles. Flower spins it that this is merely about giving him a rest period in the year so both parties refreshed for each series, which is rather ironic as the last KP bust up was all about KP wanting time off the international test schedule. Na, deep down he knows he is being forced out and Giles will be the team coach by the summer, Pietersen the big match winner and box-office for team England. Botham was the same in his day and saw of many a coach and captain.
First Test - 14th-18th Nov
England are notoriously slow starters on tour and especially on the Sub Continent, recent hidings in Sri Lanka and the Emirates suggesting more of the same in India, which proved to be the case. They generally get in a tiss on dusty tracks in relentless heat against spin and soon in trouble in the first test in Ahmadabad although, to be fair, Sub Continent teams get in trouble in England just as easy on green swinging seamers.
These series are generally decided by who wins the toss on the first day as that's the best of the pitch you will have in the whole series in India and Dohni didn't hesitate to bat, piling them up on day one, England going with two spinners and no Monty. Sehwag played with ease and confidence for a run a ball century (115) and young Pujura at three batted all day for 98* to close India on 323-4, only three quick wickets for Swann keeping England in the game. Northampton born Graeme Swann's 194th test wicket make him England's most successful off-spinner and the same young teenager I swept to the boundary at Birchfield Rd cricket ground in Northampton against the Saints for successive fours in 1989!
Day two and the pain continued, Pujura completing an impressive workman like double-ton, only the fifth Indian to do that against England in a test. Yuvraj Singh completed his comeback from cancer with 74 to bring up the early declaration at 521-8. Swann would finish with 5-144. The decision not to play Monty was fatal, Patel a one-day international containment spinner at best. I suspect KP had got in Cooks ear to go with Patel over Monty as it was then captain KP who argued with Peter Moore's over dropping Monty that came to ahead and one of many incidents that helped Moore's dismissal and KP demoted.
England started poorly in reply and never recovered as the spinners were on straight away and the fielders were in tight around the bat like Army Ants, 41-3 at the close with debutant Compton out for 9. It didn't improve much on day three with England 97-7 and on the floor before Prior (41) rallied the tale to put on another hundred for 191 all out, spinner Ojha with 5-45. This was the sixth time England failed to make 200 in six tests on the Sub Continent against spin. India duly enforced the follow on. But England could only improve now they had a feel for the stadium, pitch and conditions Cook added to his first innings 41 off 109 balls with 74* alongside Compton's stoic 34 to close England on 111-0 in the second innings on day 3.
Day four and it was set up perfect for captain Cook to bat big, the daddy hundred as his mentor Graeme Gouch calls them. And that's exactly what he did, putting on 123 with Compton (37) and surviving a mini collapse at 199-6 from the position of strength, before the ever reliable Prior came together with the captain to put on 150. Bell failed again and averaging well below 30 in his last 18 innings as those Sub Continent turners have ripped apart his average. He would return home after the first test for the birth of his baby and so a chance for Bairstow to steal the 30-year-olds slot.
This was Cook's third century in a row as a truncated England captain (he captained England twice against Bangladesh in 2010) and the first time that had been done in test Cricket, and his eventual 176 the highest by an England captain in India and his 21st ton for England, one behind Boycotts record. Captain's averages usually fall sharply when they take the reigns. Not this one.
The following morning Prior (91) and Cook (176) couldn't keep up the resistance to try and bat out the two sessions for the draw as they fell in the first hour, Swann and Bresnan grinding out the 400 (Ohja 4-120) to set India 77 to win, which they duly knocked off by tea for the nine wicket victory. Prior and Cook had scored the bulk of England's runs in the test and our middle order continue to be dreadful on the Sub-Continent, this England's 5th defeat out of 6 in 2012 on the Sub Continent.
India beat England by 9 wickets
India 1st Innings
521 for 8 (160.0 over's)
India 2nd Innings
80 for 1 (15.3 over's)
England 1st Innings
191 all out (74.2 over's)
England 2nd Innings
406 all out (154.3 over's
2nd Test - 23rd - 27th November
India again won the toss and batted first but soon rocking as the recalled Monty Panesar got to work on a pitch turning big on the first day, reducing the home team to 119-5. But that man Pujara did it again, Dohni's secret weapon, closing the first day with another hundred, putting on century partnership with Ashwin for the seventh wicket, Pujara, echo's of Hasheen Amla in the summer, effectively 366* in the series by close.
Day two and the England spinners cleaned up the tail, Monty 5-129 and Swann passed 200 test wickets with 4-70 for 327 all-out, Pujara 137, Ashwin 68. In the seven away tests the two ex Northant's spinners have played together Monty has just come out on top but interestingly England had never won any of those tests. 200 is a hell of an effort by Northampton boy Swann as modern English test pitches are not set up for spinners at home and so many of those scalps taken abroad.
Dohni clearly felt England would crumble like the pitch like they have been on the Sub Continent on a pitch spitting turn like vipers and this day would probably decide the series. But that man Cook (87*) again getting in, sharing a stoic partnership with KP (64*) to close the day on 178-2.
Day three it got even better as Cook secured that record 4th century in a row as captain with 122 and KP finally got to grips with the mystery spinners and piled them up in the way only he can on tough pitches, his enforced rest doing him good, test century number 22, level with Cook, Boycott and Amiss and Hammond. His 186 would be his highest in this part of the world, concentration the key in Mumbai, 413 all out (Ojha 5-143). His partnership of 206 partnership with Pietersen was the highest on the ground in tests, beating the great Tendulker with Kambli. The match winner was back!! Cook at just 27-years-old could challenge Tendulker's text century record.
India's reply was woeful, Monty and Swann soon amongst them to close them on 117-7 on day three, just 29 ahead. This was the India, England destroyed two years ago.
England wrapped it up in one session on day four as India were all out for 142 (Gambhir 65), Monty taking 6-81 (11-210) and Swann with 4-43 (8-113), 19 of the twenty England wickets taken by spin. Cook and Compton duly knocked off the 58 (Compton 30*) for the ten wicket win and England now acclimatized and firm favorites for the series, 1985 the last time we beat them there.
---The 22 Hundred Club---
(85 Tests) Wally Hammond
Runs - 7,249 Runs
Av - 58.45
(85*tests) Ali Cook
Runs - 6,894
(90*Test) Kevin Pietersen
Av - 49.86
(114 Tests) Colin Cowdrey
Runs - 7,624
Av - 44.06
(108 Tests) Geoff Boycott
Runs - 8,114
Av - 47.72
3rd Test - 5-9th December
Chris Broad was dropped in favor of Steve Finn as India won the toss yet again; taking to the crease on what looked like a worn pitch. Going into the match the great Sachin Tendulker had scored 153 in ten innings, with a top score of only 27, bowled four times and LBW three times, straight balls now getting him out, suggesting the eye sight and reflexes are not what they were. But he responded here and put India in a strong position alongside Gambhir (60) with a half-century each to sit India pretty at 215-4. But once he was out on 76 India closed on 270-7 and it was England's day.
Indian test grounds were people do show up are noisy places, but not in the way other nations are. Indians are generally simple folk and blowing whistles or banging things together to make that din seems more appealing than actually sitting down and watching the game, their wide-eyed grins and smiley faces somewhat grating after a while. It's just a constant crescendo as rural Indians try to catch the TV camera with their often childish cutout tributes to their favorite player or just spend all day queuing for something. Once Tendulker is out they all go home of course.
A brilliant bowling effort was completed on day two as Anderson and Panesar finished them off for 316 with their two seamer and three spin attack, captain Dhoni finally getting a half century with 52 as last man out. But England had little trouble in reply with the same pitch and batted through two sessions for no loss, Cook completing that record 23 century for England in just 86 tests and the youngest in Test cricket to 7000 runs in the process, dethroning Sachin Tendulker no less. At just 27-years-old I still don't think Tendulker's other records are in sight and there are still twenty more test players who have scored 23 hundreds or more. It was now five tests in a row as captain with a century, a stand alone record in test cricket. Boycott was in the commentary box when he flicked the two runs he needed down to long on for the ton and you could hear the deflation in the old mans voice that this kid was going to take all of his England records. Sir Geoffrey dragged out his career to the last just to set those records. If Cook plays as long as Geoffrey he will double Tendulkers records!
Compton helped himself to a half-century (57) in an opening stand of 165, excellent unselfish wingman stuff. But once Cook secured that hundred the Somerset boy was gone as he lashed out to catch up lost time. Trott finally got a score, 87, as he and Cook put on 172 for the second wicket to sit 338-2 at tea. But when Cook had his first ever run out in first-class cricket at 190, and a strange one to, getting out of the way of the ball so it could hit the stumps, there was a slight wobble before KP settle things down with his 50th half-century or more in 91st test, Bell again failing with just 5.
Day four and England with over 500 on the board didn't have had declarations on the mind for very long as the last four wicket fell early, going from an impregnable 420-4 to 523 all-out, Ohja 4-142, Ashwin 3-183. India looked like they were up for the fight with five and a half sessions to go but slipped from 86-0 to 155-8 in the afternoon session and that was that, the two seamers taking seven wickets on a turning pitch.
The final day saw India's tail drag it out to 247 all-out with another 90 odd (Ashwin 91*) and England batting again. There was a huge wobble at 8-3 chasing 41 to win but a seven wicket win was in the bag by lunch. India had lost just 9 tests in 12 years in India until this disastrous season.
England beat India by 7 wickets
India 1st Innings: 316 all out (105.0 over's)
India 2nd Innings: 247 all out (84.4 over's)
England 1st Innings: 523 all out (167.3 over's)
England 2nd Innings: 41 for 3 (12.1 over's)
The 4th Test - 11th-15th November
A win or a draw for England and job done, the Nagpur pitch looking every inch a result one, the old Indian crazy paving cracks a plenty, the home side deploying four spinners. India dropped three players in disgust for previous efforts (not Tendulker) whilst England were busy winning the toss and soon grounding them out on a dire surface in front of a poor crowd, the new Nagpur stadium in the middle of nowhere, 199-5 their lowest first day tally in a test match for 12 years, Kevin Pietersen (73) the man to recover them from 16-2, young Joe Root also impressing on his debut with 31*.
Day two was as equally turgid with Trott (44) and debutante Root (73) doing the dog work to bring up the 200. Prior ground things on with 53 before Swann's more positive 56 would take them past 300 all-out just after tea, his first half-century in 46 innings. Roots grind was a marvel of concentration for his 229 balls and anyone who has seen this kid play in county cricket know he is a born test player, the most balls faced on England debut since Roger Toltchard, some 36 years ago. 330 looked a good score on this pitch. India's reply was familiar, all the big names gone at 81-4 to Andersen's impressive seam by the close.
As fight backs go this one was near faultless, Virat Kohli (103) and captain Dhoni putting on an impressive 200 partnership but Dhoni run out for 99, India closing the day on 297-8, just 33 behind. Another failure by Sehwag saw him claim his 17th test duck for India, the highest for any Indian test cricketer, another player distracted by IPL riches. We also got our first look at young Jadeja, forcing himself into the team after scoring his third triple hundred in domestic cricket, the only Indian to do that and only the eight person in world cricket, joining the illustrious list of Sir Don Bradman, Brian Lara, Bill Ponsford, Wally Hammond, WG Grace, Graeme Hick, and Mike Hussey.
Day four and India stopped messing about looking for a small lead against a very good attack and declared behind at 326-9, time more precious than runs on a very slow wicket. Andersen's 4th wicket took him level with Ian Botham as England's highest ever international wicket taker, Botham's record test haul of 383 well clear of Andersen's 288 but Andersen way ahead in one-day and the added bonus of Twenty20 wickets to level at 528.
Even Cook failures produce records, his 13 to go with his 1 in the first innings making him the highest ever English run scorer in India with 863, edging ahead of Mike Gatting. At 94-3 and the spinners around the bat in baking heat the test was in the balance but England kept a firm grip by the close as Trott (66*) and Bell ground them out to close on 161-3 for the 165 lead. All England need do to secure the series was bat out the morning session with no major alarms where as India needed quick wickets.
Day five and the wicket just hadn't done anything all match and wasn't about to, a poor surface for test cricket. Bell and Trott continued as they left off and bagged a century each. Neither had scored a hundred in the calendar year and so Bell's 116* extremely welcome, as was Trott's 143, putting on 208 for the 4th wicket. Hands were shook at 4pm at 352-4 dec and England had become the first test team to win a series in India since the all-conquering Aussie side back in 2004.
India drew with England
England 1st Innings: 330 all out (145.5 over's)
England 2nd Innings: 352 for 4 (154.0 over's)
India 1st Innings: 326 for 9 (143.0 over's)
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Sports Event / Tournament
Sports: Football / Sports Event / Tournament / Sport Topic: Football Leagues - Barclays Premier League for sponsorship reasons. Premier League is the world's most watched sporting league, and the most lucrative football league. The Premier League is unofficially ranked second behind Spain's La Liga, but ahead of Ital...
Sports Event / Tournament / The 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
Sports Event / Tournament / The Grand National is the most valuable National Hunt handicap horse race in the United Kingdom. It is the biggest betting race in the United Kingdom, and is popular amongst many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year. It is also one of the most ...
Sports Event / Tournament / Walk, jog or run 5K to beat cancer.
Sports Event / Tournament / Rugby Tournament
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Sports Event / Tournament / The Dancing On Ice Tour is set to bring its magic and sparkle across the country. Over 4 weeks the famous faces associated with ITV's Dancing On Ice will take to the ice floor once more and battle it out to become the Dancing on Ice Champion.
Sports Event / Tournament / The opening ceremony for the next ICC Cricket World Cup will be on 11 March 2007.
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