Stand-in opener Cheteshwar Pujara hit an unbeaten 41 off 51 balls to take India home © PTI
Ahmedabad: Nov 19, 2012
India openers Virender Sehwag (25) and Cheteshwar Pujara (41 not out) didn’t waste too much time chasing down the target of 77 runs set by England on Day Five. The hosts needed only 15.3 overs to get to their target, thereby winning the first Test of the four-match series by nine wickets.
Sehwag’s 25 came off 21 balls including one four and a six. The dashing opener, however, lost his wicket to Graeme Swann while trying to hit him over long-on, where Kevin Pietersen barely managed to latch on.
Pujara, meanwhile, took India home hitting eight boundaries on the way. The Saurashtra lad remained unconquered in the first Test, after his 206 not out in the first innings, and will was adjudged Man of the Match for his efforts. Virat Kohli also remained not out on 11 off 21 balls.
Earlier in the day, England were bowled out for 406 by India in their second innings, setting a paltry target of 77 runs for the hosts.
Pragyan Ojha took the prize wickets of Alastair Cook (178) and Matt Prior (91) in the morning, taking his match tally to nine wickets. Umesh Yadav got three wickets, while Zaheer Khan took two as India’s efforts in the first session read five for 66.
Only 10 runs were added in the first half an hour of the day as Cook and Prior began the unenviable task of saving the match for England.
Ojha was getting the odd one to nip sharply off the pitch, troubling the batsmen. Eventually, even the mighty Cook succumbed to the left-armer’s nipper that kept low.
At 365 for seven, with only the tail-enders left to bat and the lead just 35 runs, England were staring at an early defeat.
Yadav then joined the party and happily latched on to Stuart Broad’s (3) return catch.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who had been wicketless so far in the second innings, punished Graeme Swann’s (17) extravagance as the latter went for a reverse-sweep. Swann was just getting set with Tim Bresnan (20) to take England’s lead past the 100 mark and was left to rue his shot.
Brief Scores: India 521 for 8 dec. (Cheteshwar Pujara 206, Virender Sehwag 117; Graeme Swann 5 for 144) and 80 for 1 (Pujara 41*, Sehwag 25) bt England 191 (Matt Prior 48, Alastair Cook 41; Pragyan Ojha 5 for 45, R Ashwin 3 for 80) and 406 (Cook 176, Prior 91; Ojha 4 for 120) by 9 wickets.
Man of the Match: Cheteshwar Pujara