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Nagpur: Dec 14, 2012
India grabbed two wickets before debutant Joe Root‘s resolute, unbeaten half-century lifted England to 277 for seven at lunch on the second day of the fourth and final cricket Test on Friday.
Ravichandran Ashwin bowled overnight unbeaten batsman and stumper Matt Prior for 57 soon after the first drinks session and then Ishant Sharma, replacing the off-spinner, trapped Tim Bresnan with the second new spell to help India wrest the initiative at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha.
The two wickets fell in the space of nine balls.
England had lost both the wickets at the same score of 242, after adding 43 runs to their overnight total of 199/5, but Root and Graeme Swann prevented further damage in the first session.
At the break, Root was not out on 65 off 200 balls, after starting the day at 31, while Swann was unbeaten on 19 with the help of four fours.
The duo has so far added 35 runs in 13.2 overs for the eighth wicket while the tourists scored 78 in 32 overs in the pre-lunch session.
Sharma had figures of three for 47 at lunch while Ashwin, after a fruitless day yesterday, had one for 46.
England slowly and steadily built up their innings after resuming the innings this morning.
The initial few overs by Sharma and Jadeja, India’s most successful bowlers with two wickets apiece yesterday, were played watchfully by the two overnight batsmen Prior and Root.
Run-making became a bit easier when Sharma went off the attack after a spell of three overs.
Jadeja bowled a bit short at times allowing the batsmen to cut, while leggie Piyush Chawla was also not accurate enough for a packed off-side field.
The first boundary of the day came via an edge by Root.
He then square cut Chawla’s short ball for his second four.
Prior square cut Jadeja for his first boundary of the day to reach his 24th half-century, in 125 balls. He was followed soon by Root, who swept Ashwin from wide of the off stump for a single, to complete his maiden 50, in 154 balls.
The 100-run partnership was raised when Prior drove Ashwin to the deep extra cover region for three runs in the 46th over.
The first hour of play ended with the visitors having added 42 runs in 17 overs.
A dramatic turnaround came soon after play resumed when Ashwin, driven a few times by Prior to the cover region, went round the wicket and tossed up a ball.
The batsman pushed forward expecting it to turn, but it went straight through the gap.
The wicketkeeper’s dismissal ended a sixth-wicket partnership of 103 runs, which rescued England from a precarious 139 for five.
Dhoni then came up with a well-planned move, recalling Sharma into the attack, and it paid dividend as the bowler had Bresnan trapped in front with the second ball of his new spell.
Root, who has hit just three fours during his determined knock, and Swann held firm after that.
Brief Scores: England 277 for 7 (Kevin Pietersen 73, Joe Root 65*, Matt Prior 57; Ishant Sharma 3 for 47) vs India
Also on cricketcountry.com