December 5, 2012
Sachin Tendulkar silenced his critics with a gritty rather than stylish 76 on day 1 of the third test at Kolkata. Still not in the best of form, Tendulkar’s innings was a triumph of character. He battled it out for more than three hours and, for the time being anyway, has staved off clamours for his retirement.
In a day of attritional cricket, England can claim to have gained a slight advantage. India closed on 273 – 7 after Alastair Cook has lost his fifth toss in five matches as England captain. The two teams had made the expected three changes between them – England replacing Stuart Broad and Jonny Bairstow with Steven Finn and Ian Bell, with India bringing in Ishant Sharma for Harbhajan Singh.
England’s bowlers stuck manfully to their task on a largely unresponsive wicket that lacked pace, bounce and, on day 1 anyway, spin. Cook handled his attack well, not over bowling his two seamers. Wickets were shared around with James Anderson (3 – 68) and Monty Panesar (2 – 74) the pick of the bowlers. Anderson, for the first time in the series, was able to reverse swing the ball and Panesar offered control in a marathon stint of 35 overs.
For India, Gautam Gambir (60) made a useful contribution, but wickets were lost with batsmen apparently set. MS Dhoni (22 not out overnight) will need to shepherd the tail carefully if India is to attain parity. The pitch shows few signs of misbehaving, so England’s batsmen will be looking to build up a first innings lead.
The Scoop 05/12/12