Ian Bell and Gary Ballance took England to a dominating position at stumps on Day One © Getty Images
By Abhijit Banare
Aug 7, 2014
England continued to dominate India after bowling them out for 152. The hosts are on 113 for three trailing by just 39 runs at stumps on Day One of the first Test at Old Trafford, Manchester on Thursday. India looked down and out right in the first session when they lost four wickets for eight runs. Stuart Broad and James Anderson shared nine wickets for 71 runs in between them to run through the Indian batting.
It was forgettable day for India as they lost everything except the toss. At the end of the first 47 overs of the Test on Day One, India had six ducks in the scorecard — a world record and MS Dhoni had scored 71 of which 60 were from boundaries. That pretty much summed up the Indian innings. England too weren’t impressive but the score India have posted means that, they are very much on the way to pile on a huge lead.
The day started on a bright note for India as Dhoni became the first captain since 1946 to win a toss at Old Trafford. The intent to put behind the Southampton defeat and move on was evident as India made three changes to the side. The key change was the inclusion of Gautam Gambhir while Ravichandran Ashwin and Varun Aaron too made the cut. Both captains had accepted that it was a ‘win toss-bat first’ wicket. What unfolded 20 minutes in to the first session will remain an indication of how poorly India have fared since the Southampton Test. Four batsmen, all caught in the slip cordon in similar fashion. Murali Vijay got it closer to the off-stump, while others were forced to chase it outside off. Gambhir’s dismissal was a reminiscent of Shikhar Dhawan nicking to slips. Virat Kohli continues to be out of sorts with Jammes Anderson dismissing him for the third time in 23 balls this series. And then Cheteshwar Pujara brilliantly caught by Chris Jordan.
India’s paltry total was based on two 50+ partnerships, first of which was between Ajinkya Rahane and Dhoni. They came together at eight for four and crawled ahead while the lowest Test scores were still doing the rounds on social media and in the commentary box. The 54-run stand had helped them salvage some pride going in to lunch but even that went down the drain when Rahane was dismissed edging to the slip cordon for 24. The other partnership was between Ravichandran Ashwin and Dhoni of 63 runs.
The post lunch session was no different as Anderson added one more to his kitty removing his nemesis Ravindra Jadeja for duck making it fourth duck of the innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar added one more to it and Pankaj Singh completed the horror display making it a world record six ducks in the innings. The only valiant effort was by Dhoni scoring 71 despite an unimpressive technique for English conditions.
In reply, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was on target removing an inexperienced Sam Robson while Alastair Cook gifted his wicket away to Varun Aaron. Since then, Bell and Ballance showed how good this wicket has been to bat. Towards the end of the day, Pankaj Singh bowled an impressive spell yet the pacer was left pleading for his maiden Test wicket. Meanwhile, Ashwin continued to be ineffective as Bell hopped down the pitch to take him on.
Ballance and Bell added 77 for the third wicket to bring the team in touching distance of 152. Aaron struck late in the day removing Ballance leg-before for 37. Though he wasn’t accurate, the pace did make a difference in both the dismissals.
Perhaps, India’s worries don’t end after the shambolic performance on the first day. The wicket looks excellent one to bat on Day Two and Day Three and India are expected to be bowling for a significant part of the mentioned duration. Perhaps, this is one of those Tests where the match was lost on the first day itself and in this case even first session.
India 152 (MS Dhoni 71, Ravichandran Ashwin 40; Stuart Broad 6 for 25, James Anderson 3 for 46) lead England 113 for 3 (Ian Bell 45, Gary Ballance 37; Varun Aaron 2 for 26) by 39 runs.
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(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)