Cook fails as India take charge

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iol spt july10 Cook walking AP England captain Alastair Cook's poor run of scores continued as India seized control of the first Test at Trent Bridge. Photo by: Rui Vieira/AP

India number 11 Mohammed Shami embarrassed England with the bat and then ensured home captain Alastair Cook's poor run of scores continued as the tourists seized control of the first Test at Trent Bridge.

India piled up 457 on Thursday's second day on the back of a record last-wicket stand against England of 111 between Bhuvneshwar Kumar (58) and last man Shami (51 not out).

Both batsmen scored maiden fifties at this level as they exceeded their previous Test-best innings of 39 (Kumar) and 11 (Shami) respectively.

Shami then made it 25 innings for Cook since the last of his England record 25 Test hundreds when he bowled him round his legs for five after the ball deflected off the left-handed opener's thigh pad.

Cook's exit left England nine for one, with both Kumar and Shami, who took one for 15 in five overs, finding a degree of swing with the new ball that largely eluded the home pacemen.

However, Sam Robson (20 not out) and Gary Ballance (15 not out) saw England to 43 for one at stumps.

England had looked like dismissing India for under 400, which would have been a decent effort on such a sluggish surface when the tourists slumped to 346 for nine after several self-inflicted wounds.

But for the second time in as many Tests at Trent Bridge, England found themselves on the receiving end of a huge last-wicket stand after Australia's Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar put on a world record 163 last year, in a match Cook's side won nonetheless.

England might have been expecting some runs from Kumar, who has a first-class hundred behind him.

But the batting of Shami, who prior to this match had a Test average of 3.33, was something else.

Their stand comfortably surpassed India's previous highest tenth-wicket partnership against England of 73 shared by Anil Kumble and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth at The Oval in 2007.

It also emphasised what a good toss it had been for India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to win and how tired England's seamers had become after charging in on a 'shirt-front' pitch.

In the circumstances, Stuart Broad's economical return of two for 53 in 33 overs on his Nottinghamshire home ground was especially creditable.

Meanwhile new-ball partner James Anderson extended his own record for most Test wickets at Trent Bridge to 52 with three for 123 in 38 overs.

But England's lack of a specialist spinner, and the workload problems this could lead to in a five-match series crammed into six weeks, was emphasised by part-time off-break bowler Moeen Ali's expensive return of one for 97 in 18 overs.

India resumed Thursday on 259 for four with opener Murali Vijay 122 not out and Dhoni unbeaten on 50.

Given the conditions on another sunny day, England could ill-afford to spurn chances.

But when Dhoni, still on his overnight score, edged a full-length Broad delivery, wicketkeeper Matt Prior, diving to his right, dropped the one-handed catch.

Vijay's near eight-hour innings eventually ended when he was lbw to Anderson, having faced 361 balls, including 25 fours and a six.

He also put on 126 for the fifth wicket with Dhoni.

India were well-placed at 342 for five at lunch.

But shortly afterwards they lost four wickets for two runs in 21 balls thanks to a mixture of poor shots allied to Dhoni's needless run out for 82.

But England, without a win in eight Tests, then ran into Kumar and Shami.

Cook's unusual field settings and the seamers' efforts to 'rough up' the last-wicket pair came to nothing.

Kumar completed a 133-ball fifty with a single off Anderson.

And the very next ball saw Shami reach the landmark in style with a straight six off the England spearhead, having faced just 73 balls including six fours.

Shami eventually chipped Ali to mid-on but the damage to England had long since been done.– AFP


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