Alastair Cook’s batting woes deepened when he was bowled for five as England closed day two on 43 for one in reply to India’s mammoth 457 in the first Test at Trent Bridge yesterday.
Cook, who has averaged 25 since his last century 14 months ago, could not take advantage of a batting paradise as he shuffled too far across and exposed his leg stump to fast bowler Mohammed Shami in the fourth over of England’s first innings.
To underline what a missed opportunity it was for the captain, he had just witnessed India tailenders Bhuvneshwar Kumar (58) and Shami (51 not out) post career-best scores in a last-wicket partnership worth an invaluable 111 runs.
They frustrated England, which expected to be batting much sooner after taking four wickets for two runs swiftly after lunch to leave India on 346 for nine.
“We tried pretty much everything with the ball, but it wasn’t really doing a huge amount,” Stuart Broad, the England bowler, said of Kumar’s and Shami’s partnership. “You were hoping for a batsman error, and credit, they didn’t give us that error.”
Kumar brought up his half century with a single off James Anderson and, on the next ball, Shami hit him up and over for six to bring up his milestone.
“We walked off at tea a little bit frustrated,” Broad said. “But we stuck to our guns fantastically well – 457 could have been 600, no question about that. The bouncer was pretty much out of the game.”
India, resuming the day on 259 for four, lost only Murali Vijay for 146 in the opening session, as an Anderson delivery nipped inwards and hit him high on the leg.
Umpire Bruce Oxendale gave him out but replays revealed the ball would have cleared the stumps. Replay reviews are not being used in this series, consistent with India’s long-standing policy.
The opener’s fourth Test century and first outside of India included 25 boundaries and a six from 361 balls. He and captain MS Dhoni compiled 126 for the fifth wicket.
After lunch, England seized the initiative. Ben Stokes took the first wicket and his first of the match when Ravindra Jadeja edged behind to Matt Prior on 25.
Anderson then ran out Dhoni for 82 from mid-off, when Dhoni attempted an ambitious single.
Dhoni was dropped on 50 in the morning session by Matt Prior off Broad and capitalised by adding 32 more to his total. Dhoni has not scored a century for 17 months, but this was his second successive half century.
Stokes then struck again, removing debutant Stuart Binny when he hit to Joe Root at backward point on one.
Broad then bowled Ishant Sharma for one to give England an expectation that they would have the tourists all out for well under 400, but the attack faltered as Kumar and Shami dug in.
“The problem with wickets this slow is that the slips have to stand close for it to carry, but if it does carry it flies almost too quick to catch,” Broad said. “I tried to put it out of my mind but I’ve never seen a wicket like this to be honest.”
Shami’s day got better when he removed Cook, but Sam Robson (20) and Gary Ballance (15) negotiated the remaining 13.3 overs, and will look to enjoy the pitch for themselves today.
Published: July 10, 2014 04:00 AM