England registered an emphatic 10-wicket victory over India in the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium here on Monday and brought the four-Test series level at 1-1.
Not for a moment did the England openers Alastair Cook and Nick Compton give the slightest impression of delaying the inevitable in the fourth innings chase of 58; instead they attacked the spinners and completed the formality in 9.4 overs with R. Ashwin’s wayward leg-side delivery racing to the fence announcing a superb win for the visitor 35 minutes before the lunch interval.
Cook and Compton celebrated the victory in a restrained manner and the captain made it a point to pick up a stump from each end to take home as a souvenir. It was England’s third Test win in India in 27 years; so assiduously worked out by the two batsmen — Cook and Kevin Pietersen, who was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match — and spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, who shared 19 wickets in the match.
The fourth day began with Harbhajan Singh thumping Panesar for a boundary, but he could not deal effectively with a Swann off-break that gained height and the right-hander’s attempted cut shot landed in the hands of Jonathan Trott at slip.
Then Zaheer Khan could not resist the temptation of launching into a big slog-sweep and the resultant top-edge off Panesar gave enough time for Matt Prior to move to his left and complete the catch; it was Panesar’s 11th wicket that placed him on par with Hedley Verity’s 11 wickets, the best by an England spinner in India.
Verity’s figures in the 1934 Test match at Madras were 11 for 153 and it will have the exalted place as it is better than Panesar’s match figures of 11 for 210 by a big margin of runs conceded.
Tough for umpires
It had not been an easy match for the umpires, Tony Hill and Aleem Dar, at Motera and here, as they had to adjudicate several bat-pad decisions. Hill upheld an appeal from Swann against Gautam Gambhir, the last Indian wicket to fall, in the second innings; but apparently Hill did not notice the inside-edge.
Swann’s four wickets gave him match figures of eight for 113. But apart from the number of wickets that boosted his tally beyond the 200 Test-wicket mark in this Test, what caught the attention was his ability to impart adequate spin to obtain a lovely flight path that curled away from the right-hander and cut in off the wicket.
Four extras (byes) may have brought an end to the match, but Compton’s charge against Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha provided the fireworks and a quick finish well inside lunch on the fourth day. The right-hander even stepped out and struck the left-arm spinner for a straight six.
Now it’s almost sure that Compton will be Cook’s opening partner for the remaining two Tests.
India — 1st innings 327
England — 1st innings 413
India — 2nd innings
G. Gambhir lbw b Swann (109b, 5x4) 65
V. Sehwag c Swann b Panesar(14b, 1x4) 9
C. Pujara c Bairstow b Swann (5b, 1x4) 6
S. Tendulkar lbw b Panesar (19b, 2x4) 8
V. Kohli c sub (Root) b Swann (13b, 1x4)7
Yuvraj c Bairstow b Panesar (10b, 1x4) 8
M.S. Dhoni c Trott b Panesar (17b) 6
R. Ashwin c Patel b Panesar (10b,1x6)11
Harbhajan c Trott b Swann (5b, 1x4) 6
Zaheer c Prior b Panesar (11b) 1
P. Ojha (not out)(19b, 1x4) 6
Extras (b-6, lb-3) 9
Total (in 44.1 overs) 142
Fall of wickets: 1-30 (Sehwag), 2-37 (Pujara), 3-52 (Tendulkar), 4-65 (Kohli), 5-78 (Yuvraj), 6-92 (Dhoni), 7-110
(Ashwin), 8-128 (Harbhajan), 9-131 (Zaheer).
England — 2nd innings
A. Cook (not out) (30b, 1x4) 18
N. Compton (not out) (28b, 4x4, 1x6) 30
Extras (b-8, lb-2) 10
Total (for no loss in 9.4 overs) 58