England's lack of spin twin fully exploited by Sehwag

India 323-4 v England: Swann wickets bring late cheer but India take control as tourists regret not picking Panesar

Ahmedabad

By the time the first drinks were taken on the first morning of the first Test yesterday, England had made their first dreadful mistake. There was nothing they could do about it because that particular tuk-tuk had already chugged off into the distance.

Monty Panesar may as well have been on board it, rather than in the dressing room watching the scintillating events unfold. The tourists knew that they could and should have played two spinners against India on a flat, dry pitch.

It might not have curbed the brilliance of Virender Sehwag who scored the most delightful of hundreds, his 23rd in Tests and his first for two years and 31 innings. But it would have given England an extra dimension, perhaps a slender chance to impede India's exuberant early charge.

Sehwag, circumspect at the start by his own extrovert standards, gave his side control with a breathtaking display. He opened the face of the bat late and at will, he whipped the ball through the leg side, he inevitably beat the field.

He was going merrily along at greater than a run a ball and this, it had to be remembered, in the opening session of a series. England had little response. They gave Sehwag too much width but he epitomises the eternal truth: give him an inch and he will take a yard.

How different it was from the last time he had confronted England in Tests away from home. In 2011, recovering belatedly from injury, Sehwag was thrust into a struggling team on his arrival in the country. At Edgbaston he scored a king pair, both times driving and edging behind. Different conditions, different country

Graeme Swann rescued England from the mire, if there is such a geographical entity in Ahmedabad, by taking their only four wickets of the day, bowling compactly, turning it, waiting for and inviting mistakes. But there was no Panesar to help him.

After an apprehensive start when he might have been either toyed with or overwhelmed, Samit Patel, who is actually in the role of second spinner, did well in the final session when England restricted India to 73 runs. But Patel is a batsman who bowls and India know it.

It would be wrong to assume that Panesar is the answer to England's chances in this series with one day down out of 20. But the seamers were impotent as well as wicketless yesterday, the reverse swing they briefly managed bringing no reward. Tim Bresnan, the third seamer, was allowed only 10 overs. He was denied a wicket by one of England's four significant fielding lapses but conceding 56 runs felt like he had gone round the park in a one-day match. It was off Bresnan's bowling that Jimmy Anderson missed an opportunity to catch Cheteshwar Pujara, who was still there at the end, when he misjudged the flight at mid–off.

Of the two other fast men, Stuart Broad, who started the match as the leading wicket taker in Tests this year, bowled like a man short of match practice, which he is. Anderson improved as the day wore on and he had Sehwag dropped on 80 down the leg side by Matt Prior.

It was the first of Prior's two lapses in successive overs, a stumping eluding him when a ball from Swann turned and lifted past Gautam Gambhir's bat. Late in the day, Jonathan Trott should have caught Virat Kohli at slip. His error, forgivable for a man who has just taken up the position, was compounded by his claim not to know whether he had grounded the ball after a failed juggle. No harm done perhaps since the umpires checked the replay but it did not look altogether judicious behaviour.

That England were not wholly out of the match was thanks to Swann, who bowled precisely and patiently, and overtook the great Jim Laker as England's leading off-spinner to boot. He earned the breakthrough for which his side and his new captain, Alastair Cook, were desperate, in the 30th over.

India, by then were rattling along at four an over and Sehwag was doing much as he pleased which for most of the time in this mood was extracting the Michael out of Jimmy, Stuart and Tim. His long-term opening partner had been on sentry duty by comparison, putting Sehwag's nonchalant aggression into perspective.

But the pair had shared their 11th Test century opening partnership when Gambhir stayed back to Swann and saw the ball turn past his bat and hit off stump. Another 97 runs had been added when Swann turned one through Sehwag's expansive slog sweep.

These were both precious wickets but that of Sachin Tendulkar never palls and Swann claimed him for the third time. Tendulkar, essaying an aerial shot to leg, failed to make the pitch and holed out. Finally, Swann had the boy genius, Kohli, pushing one through a farmyard gate. These were all grand wickets, three of them, unusually, clean bowled.

The least illustrious (for now) of India's top quintet was still there at the close. Pujara has taken over from Rahul Dravid at No 3, a task that may (but may not) be only slightly less difficult than taking over from Tendulkar at No 4.

It would be disrespectful to Dravid to suggest that it was not possible to see the join but it was a shapely, proper Test innings of 98 not out. Pujara finished proceedings with a rasping four to remind everyone whose day it had been.

Timeline: How the opening day unfolded in Ahmedabad

3:45am GMT: Early start for Sky team

Viewers turn on to hear Bumble et al commentating from Isleworth not India due to the contract dispute. An early start, then, for the Sky team so used to being on tour with the boys.

4am: England get things rolling

Insomniacs and early birds tune in to see Gautam Gambhir hit the first ball of the series for a single off Jimmy Anderson.

6am: Openers stroll to lunch, 120-0

Virender Sehwag and Gambhir have had an easy time of it during the morning session, Sehwag reaching his fifty off only 45 balls.

6:45am: Catch me if you can

Matt Prior is having a bit of a stinker with the gloves here, dropping Sehwag and Gambhir in the first two overs after lunch off Anderson and Graeme Swann...

6:45am: Wicket, Gambhir b Swann 45

... before Swann breaches Gambhir's defences and clatters his off-stump, becoming England's most prolific ever off-spinner.

7:30am: Sehwag century

The opener gets his ton off just 90 balls by hitting Swann to the boundary, moving him to fourth on the list of Indian centurions.

8:10am: Wicket, Sehwag b Swann 117

Swann is enjoying an impressive spell and tricks Sehwag into missing completely to end the opener's superb innings. Sachin Tendulkar is about to come in...

8:30am: Wicket, Tendulkar c Patel b Swann 13

...and is caught out fairly promptly with a slog sweep that goes straight down Samit Patel's throat).

11am: Close of Play - India 323-4

Swann bowls Virat Kohli but India hold out until the end with Cheteshwar Pajura cracking a four off the last ball of the day.

Joshua Millar

Stat's magic

117 Virender Sehwag's ton came off 117 balls

23 Years to the day since Sachin Tendulkar's Test debut

196 Test wickets for Swann, the most by an England off-spinner

44 Overs without a wicket by England's seamers

20 India's first century opening stand in 20 innings

6 Graeme Swann took the wicket of Gautam Gambhir for the sixth time in six Tests

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
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

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little