Birmingham: England once again stamped their authority over the Indians, keeping them virtually out of the Birmingham Test by piling on 456 runs for the loss of just three wickets, thus taking 232 runs lead by the end of second day's play on Thursday.
|Alastair Cook was the man-of-day for the home side as the 26-year-old not only completed his 19th Test century but also approached yet another double ton when the stumps.|
Alastair Cook was the man-of-day for the home side as the 26-year-old not only completed his 19th Test century but also approached yet another double ton when the stumps were drawn on day two.
Eoin Morgan, who was dropped twice in his unbeaten innings of 44, was helping Cook to take England to a commanding total.
Almost every Indian bowler was clueless against the formidable England batting, thus leaking runs throughout the day. Praveen Kumar could be the pick of them, who at least had better number of wickets (two) to show than the rest.
Earlier, the combination of Cook and Kevin Pietersen took the game away from the Indians before the latter was trapped leg before wicket by Praveen Kumar in the last session of the day.
Pietersen (63) played an innings just opposite to Cook. The tallest of England players, like always, used his height to good effect. He drove, cut and pulled all the Indian bowlers, both on the front and back foot.
The ultra-attacking style of the 31–year-old tore the Indian bowlers apart and unlike Cook, who grafted his innings to reach his 19th Test century, Pietersen took the attack to the Indians from the word go.
Cook, too, went from strength to strength, scoring runs quicker than what he had been earlier in his innings. The southpaw took 268 balls to reach to his 150.
The afternoon session of the second day of the Birmingham Test completely belonged to England as they piled on the runs, scoring 162 runs in 35 overs despite losing two wickets to reach 319/2 in an extended session.
Cook was the man-of-the-moment as the 26-year-old brought up his fourth this year. England were 95 runs ahead of the Indian total with Cook and Kevin Pietersen standing tall at the wicket at tea.
Cook, first played under the shadow of captain Andrew Strauss and later took his innings forward in the company of aggressive Pietersen.
Things started as bad as they finished before lunch for India with Amit Mishra bowling all over the place, delivering three no-balls in one over in the third over after the break.
Andrew Strauss and Cook, who were 84 and 51 not out respectively before going for lunch, nullified whatever spin Mishra was getting from the pitch.
Both the batsmen played the leg-spinner with the turn, slog swept him and also reverse swept him on every given opportunity.
But Mishra finally got his man when Strauss fell, thirteen short of his hundred, sweeping a turning ball.
Though India got the much-needed breakthrough, the TV replays later showed that the wicket-taking delivery was a no-ball as well, not noticed by umpire Simon Taufel.
Ian Bell (34) joined Cook in the middle and began his innings from where he left at Trent Bridge. He was helped by a wayward Ishant Sharma, who pitched the ball short most of the times, thus giving Bell easy scoring options.
Bell survived a scare when Rahul Dravid, the man who has taken the most catches in Test cricket, dropped a sitter in the second slip off S Sreesanth.
Praveen replaced Sreesanth and did what he has been doing throughout this trip: giving his team a breakthrough. He pitched one up to Bell who missed the line altogether, thus losing his off-stump in the process.
Cook, slowly but gradually, put his foot forward for yet another three-figure mark.
Earlier, Indian seamers bowled a good line and length in the first hour of second day's play but England took charge in the next half an hour that followed on the second day of the Birmingham Test on Thursday. The home side reached 157 without losing any wicket at lunch, with Strauss and Cook batting comfortably.
Morning drizzle in and around Edgbaston delayed the start of the first session on Thursday as Indian bowlers did not offer any freebies to the English openers.
The visitors started the bowling with Sreesanth and Praveen and both seemed a lot better than what they were in the last session on day one.
But after being quiet for the initial hour, both the openers got going with boundaries off Sharma.
The home side finished the day with 84 for no loss after skittling India for 224 in the first innings on Wednesday.(courtesy cricketnext.com)