Cheteshwar Pujara dampens England hopes after Monty Panesar piles pressure on India

India 266-6 England: It’s just like the good not-so-old days, with all going well for England – then enter Pujara

Sometimes, in their dreams maybe perpetually, England must think back to what it used to be like. In the days of wine and roses everything seemed to work out eventually. The wickets fell, the runs were scored, the catches were taken, the Tests were won.

If only they could have bottled the essence of whatever it was they had then barely a year ago, when skill, strategy, talent and luck combined thrillingly, and carried it here. If India were not quite on the rack today, the first day of the Second Test, they were stretched pretty thinly.

It did not go horribly wrong for England as so much has so often this year but it stopped going right either. From 119 for five with all their top men gone – or all but one and an extremely important one he was – and the recalled Monty Panesar plundering wickets India recovered to 266 for 6 by the close.

They were heading not for a gigantic total but one beyond the restrictions imposed by the pitch. England were still in it but they could have been ahead. They could have been setting themselves for an improbable series levelling victory and they were not doing that. Panesar, who took 4-91, could have bowled out India and he did not.

The substantial difference was another resplendent innings from Chetashwar Pujara, a man who until a week ago was Rahul Dravid’s replacement, but is now simply Chetashwar Pujara, or that man again. He added to his 206no and 41no in the First Test at Ahmedabad with an unbeaten 114.

If Dravid was The Wall this chap is The Stockade. It was slightly more sedate than his innings in Ahmedabad, taking 279 balls, and slightly less pristine because he offered England two opportunities to catch him.

On 17 he cut Jimmy Anderson in the air to point. The ball dropped agonisingly short of Nick Compton. It would have taken a springheeled fielder blessed with a sense of anticipation to match but that is what it takes. Half chances have to be snaffled.

On 60, Pujara was put down off Panesar at slip by Anderson, diving to his left. It was unquestionably a tough chance, it probably would not gave reached Jonathan Trott at first slip, but it was another chance and it had gone.

It allowed Pujara to ensure he was still there at the close. He did not make another mistake. He was helped there, most effectively, first by his captain, MS Dhoni, and then by R Ashwin, who must have spent much of his occupation assessing the pitch for his off spin.

The sixth wicket partnership was worth 50, the seventh was still going on 97 at the end of proceedings, precious runs all on a surface where the ball was turning, bouncing and occasionally going through the top. It was not a minefield but batsmen will not be asking the groundsman for replicas as Christmas presents.

Pujara played the percentages, defending with utmost skill in conditions he will have seen several hundred times but playing measured attacking strokes. In a week when the Indian Premier League sponsorship rights have been sold for £45m in a five year deal it was perversely old-fashioned.

Everyone suspected what was likely to happen as soon as India announced that they were fielding three spinners. In the old days, that would not have been news unless somebody wanted to make an issue of why they were not playing four.

But it was six years and 36 Tests since India last had three spinners in their Test XI. That was at Mohali in 2006. They beat England by nine wickets (and nine of the wickets, wouldn’t you know it, fell to pace).

England bowled six overs with the new ball before Panesar was summoned from the deep. Given Stuart Broad’s lack of penetration and accuracy, he might as well open the bowling in the second innings.

Poor Broad is going through a lean patch. He probably is not fully fit for the rigours of fast bowling and he probably does not want to admit it. In the UAE earlier this year when England’s bowlers were up to it and England’s batsmen were not, Broad played a prominent part in restricting Pakistan with some cunning fast bowling.

It seems to be beyond him for the moment and his 40 wickets in Tests this year, to which he had not added last night in the first two matches of this series, cannot sustain him for much longer.

Panesar took a while to find his rhythm. English spinners are not often reqired in the first half hour of play. But pretty soon he pushed one through Virender Sehwag’s defences in the batsman’s 100 Test. Pretty soon after he produced a peach of a ball to bowl Sachin Tendulkar on his home ground.

It pitched on leg and turned sharply across a groping Tendulkar to hit his leg stump. A ball in a million to a batsman in a million but it also asked the question about how long Tendulkar can continue an illustrious career that is not quite as illustrious as it once was.

He averages 24 in Test matches this year. Of course, he is undroppable, of course only he can decide when the time has come. But even here the whispers will soon grow into noisy gossip.

Soon after lunch a threatening Virat Kohli was undone by the pitch, Yuvraj Singh lasted two balls. Just for a moment it was like the old days of not so long ago for England.

Timeline: How The first day unfolded in Mumbai

4am GMT

Wicket, Ghambir lbw b Anderson 4

What a start for England. Gautam Gambhir flicks Jimmy Anderson for a four off a very straight opening ball; the paceman's next is a delicious inswinger that hits Ghambir's pads.

5:15am

Wicket, Sehwag b Panesar 30

Monty has come on before Graeme Swann and it has worked a treat. Sehwag goes to smack away a full toss but misses and the stumps are hit.

5:25am

Wicket, Tendulkar b Panesar 8

Panesar gets the home favourite with a fine turning ball that levels his off-stump. The locals are a bit quiet now, with India struggling on 60 for 3.

7:15am

Wkt, Kohli c Compton b Panesar 19

Monty is England's main man this morning and a Kohli drive into extra cover finds the diving Compton, who snaps up the ball. Three wickets and counting for the spinner.

7:20am

Wicket, Yuvraj b Swann 0

The wickets are tumbling and Swann gets Yuvraj for a duck. Apt, given the time in Blighty, that England are having India for breakfast.

7:50am

Anderson dropped catch

Pujara should be on his way as Anderson dives from second slip, but he only succeeds in stopping Trott from taking a simple catch.

9:05am

Wicket, Dhoni c Swann b Panesar 29

England's "second" spinner is having a blinder as the India captain edges to second slip. It takes ages for the umpires to give it, but the tail is finally exposed. India are 169 for 6.

10:30am

Pujara Century

The man nicknamed "The Rock" pulls Anderson for a boundary to reach his third ton this year. He's been mighty calm all morning.

11:05am

Stumps, India 266-6

Ashwin reaches his fifty before the end on a mixed day for England; they couldn't push on after a fine start and may pay for it.

Joshua Millar

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices