Dec 172012

Nagpur: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed the team’s batting performance for the series loss against England. The fourth and the final Test at Nagpur ended in a draw and England won the series 2-1.

India won the first Test at Ahmedabad, but then lost two consecutive Tests at Mumbai and Kolkata to take the winning lead.

“England were the better team and deserved to win the series. We struggled in the batting department but their spinners were right on the mark. I think James Anderson was the main difference between the two teams,” Dhoni said.

On the Nagpur pitch he said, “If you got your head down it was hard to take wickets. I think it got better, coming on to the bat and easier to play strokes. It was hard to bat on in the final session of day three and early in day four but got better after that.”

On the positives that the team can take out from the series, Dhoni said, “We tried a few combinations that didn’t really work, we had some part-timers but we needed someone like Jadeja to keep the lid on the batsmen. Pujara’s batting was a positive and Gambhir got back in the runs. We can take a lot of positives from the series.” 

James Anderson who was adjudged the man of the match for his tremendous spell of bowling said, “People come over here and think the spinners are going to get all the wickets but I wanted to show seamers have a job to do as well.”

“Reverse swing played a key part and we executed our plans well. The beauty of bowling short spells means you can give it your all and then get a rest. It’s been amazing,” Anderson added.

Alastair Cook who was brilliant throughout the series and won the man of the series award said that it was a special day and a special tour for the team.

“After Ahmedabad, the heavy defeat, it’s been a fantastic response. In my first series as captain, I couldn’t have asked for more, it’s a very proud moment. Our bowlers have been brilliant and all the batsmen contributed. It’s always nice when it goes well, can’t praise the team and the squad enough,” Cook said.


By Indian Sports News Network

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Dec 132012

Toss England chose to bat v IndiaLive scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Alastair Cook won his first toss of the series and gave his batsmen first use of a heavily cracked, dry pitch that is expected to turn increasingly from the first day. India decided to play effectively four spinners on this surface, with Ishant Sharma being MS Dhoni’s lone seam option.

After losing the Kolkata Test to go 1-2 down in the series, India had made three changes to their squad for the deciding game in Nagpur. Two of the players they called up were named in the XI – legspinner Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja, a left-arm spinning allrounder who scored two triple-centuries in the Ranji Trophy this season, replaced Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh. Chawla was playing his first Test since April 2008, while Jadeja was making his debut.

England also made two changes to the XI that won at Eden Gardens. Steven Finn was unfit so Tim Bresnan, who was dropped after a disappointing Test in Ahmedabad, made a comeback. They also gave the batsman Joe Root a debut and left out allrounder Samit Patel.

India: 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Ishant Sharma.

England: 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Nick Compton, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Joe Root, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Monty Panesar.

Dec 122012

India will lock horns against England in the final match of the Test series at Nagpur tomorrow. The match holds lot of importance for the teams. For India they will be looking to salvage some pride after going 1-2 down, whereas for England they will be aiming for their first series victory on Indian soil after 27 years.

India have lost two consecutive Tests, the first time since 1999. England are leading 2-1 and can’t lose the series. India on the other hand are on the brink of a series loss. No matter what happens in Nagpur, this series will have a serious impact on the future of Test cricket in India.

Coming to the Nagpur Test, it will only be fair to say that England are favorites to win this match. It is quite unbelievable to see India enter a match as under-dogs in home conditions. India have always been dominating on home soil, they have tormented some of the best captains and the best teams of recent era, but not this time.

There will be tremendous pressure on India when they walk out for the match tomorrow.. It is going to be a very big challenge for Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this man. Reports have suggested that the Nagpur pitch is not a rank-turner and the Indian team will have to go past that fact and play well.

Both teams have some of the world’s best players and it is expected to be a cracker of a contest.

Let’s have a look at some of the players who will be in thick of action in the final Test:


Cheteshwar Pujara: He has been the highest run scorer for India in the series and has already two centuries. Both his centuries have come during the hour of need and it showed that he has the temperament to play big innings. He failed in the last match and will be willing make his mark in tomorrow’s match. Indian batting line-up is horribly out of form and a lot will depend on this talented youngster.

Virender Sehwag: After a century in the first century Sehwag has not been able to play a long innings for India in the series. The Indian team in under-fire and he will know the importance of a good knock at the top of the innings. He has got starts in the series after his 100 in the first match, but never could convert them into big score. He will have to bat as long as possible and give India a good start.

Pragyan Ojha: Ojha has been the best bowler for India and has looked the most threatening and has been consistently among wickets. The Nagpur Test might not offer assistance to the spinners and it will be a challenge for him to deliver in the match.

Parvinder Awana: Awana, the Delhi lad will most probably be making his debut tomorrow. He has been doing very well for Delhi in the domestic circuit and earned a call-up as a replacement for out of form Zaheer Khan. Pitch should offer assistance to him and if he can continue his good run then things can get difficult for England.


Alastair Cook: He has been the best batsman for England and has already played some phenomenal innings. Cook has scored centuries in all the matches and will be a huge threat to the hosts. India will have to come up with a strategy if they want to draw level in the series.

Kevin Pietersen: He played a superb innings in Mumbai and a good hand in the last match as well. Pietersen took the attack to the Indian bowlers and scored freely against them. He has been very effective against the Indians spinners and played an important role in his team’s success. All the focus will once again on him and India just can’t afford him any leniency.

Monty Panesar: He has been the hero for England with the ball. Monty has played a huge role for their success in the series Indian batsmen have struggled against him and failed to pick his pace.It will be good to see how bowls on the Nagpur pitch.

Graeme Swann: Surprisingly in this series, it was Swann who played the role of second fiddle to Panersar. But that did not keep him from contributing in the success. It is always a treat watching him bowl and Indians will have to play him well if they want to put a good total on the board.

By Indian Sports News Network

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Dec 122012

Match Facts

December 13-17, NagpurStart time 9.30am (0400GMT)

Tim Bresnan celebrates an early wicket, Haryana v England XI, tour match, Ahmedabad, 2nd day, November 9, 2012Tim Bresnan could be recalled by England if Steven Finn is ruled out of the final Test © AFP

Related Links

News : BCCI deadbats Amarnath’s comments
News : Finn in doubt for Nagpur Test
News : India have the character to bounce back – Dhoni
Players/Officials: Piyush Chawla | Alastair Cook | MS Dhoni | Ashok Dinda | Ravindra Jadeja | Ajinkya Rahane | Sachin Tendulkar
Matches: India v England at Nagpur
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India

The Big Picture

This could be a momentous Test match. From England’s point of view, a win or a draw would secure a series victory in India for the first time since 1984-85. For a new captain, Alastair Cook, that would be a herculean achievement, especially given the various issues he has had to deal with in the early months of his leadership.

Then there is India. It would be foolish to write them off despite the margins of defeat in the last two matches, but there is a feeling of significant change being on the horizon. Although a series-levelling win could buy key figures some time, (despite papering over cracks being dangerous) it is not inconceivable that a series loss will see the end of MS Dhoni as captain, the end of Sachin Tendulkar and the end of Duncan Fletcher as coach. That ‘perfect storm’ scenario is unlikely, but even the fact it warrants discussion highlights India’s predicament.

As has been the case ahead of each Test in this series, the pitch has been the focus of much attention although, sadly for comedic effect, there hasn’t been the sight of a groundsman being in the middle of a row. What do India think is best? England have shown over the last two matches that they are comfortable on a variety of surfaces. It was the slowest, lowest, pitch of series, in Ahmedabad, that caused them most problems.

It’s a sign of the problems England have had in 2012 that defeat in this Test would make it the most losses they have suffered in a calendar year. However, some big lessons have been learned and there is a sense that the team is back on track. Finishing with a series win in India would be substantial proof of that.

Form guide

(Last five matches, most recent first)

India LLWWWEngland WWLLD

Watch out for…

Test match No. 194 for Sachin Tendulkar. Could it be his last? Nobody knows what he is thinking about the future, but his powers are waning. There is a series against Australia next year, so maybe that will be time when he goes, but sooner rather than later the day will come for India. Does it need to be dragged out to a bitter end? This is not to say he can’t score runs – he fought doggedly for his 76 in Kolkata – but this is not the Sachin Tendulkar who has entertained the world for more than two decades.

James Anderson produced one his finest overseas performances in Kolkata and even three wickets in each innings did not do justice to the skill he showed. He may well need a similar return in Nagpur and it is looking as though he’ll have an even greater burden on his shoulders after the emergence of Steven Finn’s injury. There is also the opportunity for one last duel with Tendulkar. The pair will not meet again at Test level.

Team news

There will be at least two changes for India after Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh were dropped, but such is the state of chaos around the team it is not clear which way they’ll go. It might be back to three frontline spinners, meaning a recall for Piyush Chawla, and Ajinkya Rahane, who averages 63.35 in first-class cricket, could debut at No. 6. The other options include Ravindra Jadeja as an allrounder at No. 6 with a balanced attack. Ashok Dinda and Parvinder Awana were both playing Ranji Trophy until yesterday so have not had much time with the squad.

India (possible) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Ajinkya Rahane, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Pragyan Ojha

England have been hit by a significant blow with Finn suffering a back injury, which makes him very doubtful. Stuart Broad is ruled out, so Tim Bresnan appears favourite to replace him, despite a poor year in Test cricket, although Graham Onions would also have a strong case. There are suggestions that Samit Patel’s spot at No. 6 could go to Jonny Bairstow. Patel has not looked out of his depth, despite not converting starts into a substantial score, and it would be a harsh omission.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Nick Compton, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Samit Patel, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Monty Panesar

Pitch and conditions

“White and dry,” was the basic description of the pitch on the eve of the Test. It had not been watered for two days so it will spin, the question is how much and how soon. The weather won’t be an issue with daytime temperatures in the low 30s.

Stats and trivia

If Alastair Cook has another successful Test he could rise to the No. 1 batsman in Test cricket. England have not had the top-ranked batsman since Michael Vaughan in 2003.

Only three England batsmen have scored four hundreds in a series – Herbert Sutcliffe (twice), Wally Hammond and Denis Compton

Jason Krejza, the Australia offspinner, made his memorable (for right and wrong reasons) debut on this ground in 2008 ending with match figures of 12 for 358. Two years later, Dale Steyn took 7 for 51 after finding considerable reverse swing.


“We have kept it really close, and the good thing is we are enjoying cricket, which at times you don’t tend to do when you go through a rough patch. When it comes to dressing-room atmosphere, it’s looking great.”MS Dhoni insists everything is fine off the field

“Everyone knows how important this game is, but as a player you’ve got to take that emotion out of it. We’ve got to continue on the same path. We know how hard we’ve worked over these last couple of games, and we’ve got to do it again.”Alastair Cook does what he does best. Keeps it simple