India take 1-0 lead against England
India comfortably chased a target of 77 to win the first Test against England at Ahmedabad by 9 wickets on Monday, going 1-0 up in the 4 match series.
England began the final day on 340/5, a lead of just 8 in their follow on but with Alastair Cook and Matt Prior well entrenched. India had already spent a frustrating day on the field, only 5 wickets fell through the day 4 with England moving from 111/0 to 340/5 at Stumps.
Dhoni wasted no time looking for wickets, beginning the day with Pragyan Ojha partnering Zaheer Khan. The breakthrough which arrived in the 10th over of the day however was mostly Prior’s fault as he spooned a simple return catch to Ojha to depart for 91. Alastair Cook was done in by low bounce from an Ojha delivery and was bowled just four overs later, bringing his 9 hour vigil at the crease to an end at 176.
Umesh Yadav immediately replaced Zaheer Khan and held onto a return catch offered by Stuart Broad to push England to 378/8, the lead at 38. Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann added 28 for the ninth wicket but an overconfident Swann was bowled when he tried one switch hit too many in a single over from Ashwin. Zaheer Khan had Bresnan caught in the covers in the next over, his second wicket of the innings and third in the match. Ojha finished with figures of 4/120, bringing his match tally to a tidy 9/165.
England’s innings ended at 406, setting India a target of 77 to win.
Gautam Gambhir had missed Day 4 due to personal reasons and could only bat at no.7 when he rejoined the team so Pujara opened the batting with Sehwag. Cook began the defense with Anderson and Swann at different ends.
The attack Swann by Pujara did not however deter him from bringing Samit Patel into the attack. Pujara was all class in his punishment, displaying wonderful footwork to drive Swann through the covers, scoring at well over run a ball. Sehwag was disdainful at the other end, dispatching Patel for a six as India raced to 48 in six overs.
A couple of quiet overs followed and when Sehwag (25) tried to hit out, he was caught right at the long on ropes by Kevin Pietersen, leaving India 57/1.
Virat Kohli immediately took a four off Patel but sized up Swann cautiously, playing out the only maiden over of the innings against Swann. With boundaries coming regularly, the two scored the remaining runs required in quick time. An on-drive from Kohli (14*) off Swann went down the ground to bring up the winning runs, sealing a 9 wicket win for India.
Pujara was on 41* at the other end, bringing his match tally to 247*. His performance in the Test bumped his overall average to 71.25 and his average at home to an incredible 107.80, also fetching him the Man of the Match award.
The second Test will be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai from 23rd November.