Sruart Broad, very much England's boy, but now sporting an incompatible crop on his cheeks and chin, was powerfully affected by the prevailing morning mood among the head shaking Englishmen on the field, and, for a large part of the remaining Indian innings since this point, admirably impersonated a launching rocket every time the ball scored a pad. Even if the ball was slinking down a leg side lane, as it appeared to do so on most occasions, but that didn't daunt young Broad from providing us with replays of his impersonation ability on the cricketing stage. Papa Broad would have been proud of the boy's performance; so opined the commentators at some point of time during his theatrical routine. Perhaps one of them even vouched for the likely quality of Papa Broad's pleasure based upon his knowledge of Chris.
But the spirit was undeniably there - England had returned to win back ground lost on another day - the singham Prince with the languid silken touch and his newbie mate suffering from an unforgiving appetite for batsmanship and scoring runs took up the challenge, earnestly, to deny the Englishmen their reclamation process. Swann relentlessly tantalized, pulled, pushed and prodded the batsmen to err early, before they woke up from their overnight slumber, and Broad kept on appealing like a television preacher of faith. It was compelling to watch.
England summoned different bowlers. England's bullworker is a lad called Bressie. Besides Swann. Bressielad chuffed in, pumping his pistons and banged the ball furiously into the pitch's face. The unruffled Motera simply blew the aggression up like a soap bubble. The batsmen pulled, cut and hooked at the ball, like spoilsports bursting floating soap bubbles. By Lunch, England's wilting was deeper than just a layer of skin.
After Lunch, Cook lobbed the cherry to the well-fed looking, and definitely well-rested, Samit Patel. Patel served up a pie with it - overly tossed and completely half-baked - the revolted Indian Singham threw it away, unfortunately not all the way, and a minion in the deep quietly pouched it to deliver some unjust dessert for England. Yuvraj stood shaken, more by his own flippant termination of his new-found hunger. A pie is a pie even if it was half-baked and over tossed. It's meant to be eaten and not gifted away. Moreover, Diwali was long done and dusted. But Pujara had no such weaknesses and continued his lunching on the field to finish with an unbeaten 206, at which point, Captain Dhoni decided that nutrition was sufficiently had, and time was for some juice to wash it all down - squeeze out the Englishmen further by grinding them between two spinning stones at his command.
Ashwin opened the attack. Yes, a spinner. An off-spinner with the new ball. No, I didn't say the mystery ball. Quite the fad these days in all cricket. Bangladesh does it as a habit in Tests, very much like India would do in the 70s of the last millennium. And Bangladesh was bowling on television on another channel having gone a few runs up on West Indies visiting them in their first innings. Ashwin slid through once, all the way for four, a couple of long hops. Zak doing the obligatory stint at the other end before conceding to Ojha. Between these two turning granites, the English grain began to turn into flour. Not Flower but f.l.o.u.r. Debutant Compton did not remember to close the gate and Ashwin's unmysterious off spin simply scooted in to thrash the wickets. As beautifully as Swann had messed up the Indians.
The optimistic Englishmen, perhaps believing the assessment of its media brigade, sent in a nightwatchman. To stay on an apparently docile pitch with nothing more than a stick of willow. But never believe the media, lads..especially the Brit cricket media...they report as per convenience, and Anderson was poorly equipped on this spitting snake pit.
Jonathan did not exactly trot out eagerly. J.Trott looked somber, almost reluctant as he walked in, very much like a guilty walking up to receive his verdict, His comeuppance, however, was of his own making and not one handed down by judgment - he pushed hard, perhaps getting in a final argument in favour of his absolution, but he was caught. Not after some long-winded harangue deep in the field, but very short and close at forward short-leg itself. His case lacked even a viable introduction. A big zero came up against his name on the scoreboard.
Cook meanwhile was rather comfortable and so was Kevin Pietersen. The pitch resembling now the mythical docility punted by British hacks. But hang in there...Ashwin and Ojha have a few regular mysteries up their half-sleeved millstones, and will be looking forward to extract out the fibre from the starchy depths of the English grain.
Highlights: Pujara's first double, Swann's fifer and Ashwin's fastest-Indian bowler-to-fifty stunt.
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