Monday, 10 December 2012

England beat India by 7 wkts, lead Test series 2-1

A listless India succumbed to their second successive humiliating defeat on home soil has England overcame a few hiccups to clinch the third cricket Test with an emphatic seven-wicket victory and take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four match series in Kolkata on
Needing 41 runs to win the match after dismissing India for 247 in the second innings, the visitors lost three quick wickets to add a tinge of excitement to an otherwise lop-sided contest before cruising home with more than two sessions to spare.

Captain Alastair Cook (1), Jonathan Trott (3) and Kevin Pietersen (0) were out cheaply but Ian Bell (28 not out) held his nerve to take the team to the victory target at the Eden Gardens.

Bell took a single off R Ashwin to bring about England's moment of triumph, triggering of scenes of celebrations in the dressing room as the players hugged each other and took a round of the stadium.
With another resounding victory, England kept themselves on course for their first series win on Indian soil in 28 years since David Gower-led team won a series 2-1 in the 1984-85 series.
Though the Indian bowlers took three wickets in the second innings, they looked completely ineffective in the first innings unlike the English bowlers who exploited the conditions far better.
After the humiliating 10-wicket defeat in Mumbai, the hosts once again seemed clueless in their own den with neither batting nor bowling clicking, raising questions on whether some players need to be changed.
The two teams will now travel to Nagpur for the fourth and final cricket Test beginning December 13. England just need a draw to record a historic series triumph while India have no option but to win to level the series and save the blushes of a seires defeat in their own den.
After the defeat at Eden Gardens on Sunday, India’s score against respectable opposition in Tests — starting with the series against England in England last year — is 1-10.
Even as Indian batsmen were struggling against English bowlers at Eden Gardens on Saturday, 15 km away at the Salt Lake Stadium, former Columbian goalie Rene Higuita showed Dhoni’s boys how to middle the ball.
This is the first time since 1999-2000 that we have lost two consecutive Tests at home.
Before the glorious period of 2000-2010 — when India won more Tests away from home than in any other decade — we were trounced overseas, but used to be heroes at home.
This begs the question: Will our selectors and cricket board ask the hard questions and find the right answers? Here are two samples: What is India’s record in Tests since Duncan Fletcher took over as coach? How long can iconic players remain in the team purely on the basis of past achievements?
Virender Sehwag’s dismissal — castled by offie Graeme Swann — opened the floodgates. India lost six wickets between lunch and tea on the penultimate day, and it was left to the tailenders to avoid an innings defeat.

The darkest side of the humiliation would be a fight to sudden death, between India's middle-order and the bowling attack to prove which is worse. Fielding will come, a very close third. (Agencies)

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