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Mumbai Test Day-2: Cook, Pietersen guide England to comfortable position Last Updated : 24 Nov 2012 05:18:21 PM IST File Photo
Skipper Alastair Cook continued to torment India with yet another gritty batting display while Kevin Pietersen returned to form with an unbeaten half-century to give England a slight advantage in the second cricket Test here at Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
After dismissing India for 327 in the first innings, England moved to a comfortable 178 for two in 65 overs before the stumps were drawn on the second day, with the visitors trailing by 149 runs.
At close, the left-handed Cook, who had scored a big century in the first Test, was unbeaten on 87. The more aggressive Pietersen was batting on 62 after a stay of 127 minutes during which he faced 85 balls and hit nine fours.
Cook batted for 251 minutes and faced 209 balls, striking a six and ten fours in the process
The third wicket duo has so far put on 110 runs in 186 balls. For the record, Cook has batted for 960 minutes in all in the three innings he has batted during the series.
With three more days left in the second game of the four-match series in which India are 1-0 ahead, a result is on the cards on a track that is aiding the spin bowlers.
England, though, looked to have a slight advantage with a settled and experienced pair at the wicket and some more batting to follow.
On a wicket where the spin duo of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann ran through the star-studded Indian batting line-up in which Cheteshwar Pujara (135) and Ravichandra Ashwin (68) stood out, the trio of home team spinners looked largely clueless against the determined Cook and Pietersen.
Barring the twin strike by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in the space of 11 balls just before tea, the home side's spin attack looked far less menacing than both Panesar (five for 129) and Swann, who ran through the tail today to end up with figures of four for 70.
Earlier, England spinners claimed four wickets in the first session on day two to bundle out India for 327 in their first innings in the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium here in Mumbai on Saturday.
While Graeme Swann took three out of four remaining wickets after India resumed at the overnight total of 266 for six, Panesar chipped in with one to finish with impressive figures of five for 129, his first five-wicket haul against India anywhere and 11th overall.
India got out 22 minutes before lunch.
India added 61 runs today morning to their last night's total with off-spinner Swann (4/70) sending back Pujara, Harbhajan Singh (21) and Zaheer Khan in the space of 10 balls spread over three overs. Panesar dismissed Ravichandran Ashwin for a well-made 68.
The last four wickets of India added 158 runs and helped them bounce back from 169 for six yesterday with Cheteshwar Pujara scoring a superb 135.
England finally managed to dismiss Pujara for the first time in this series. He was the ninth batsman to get out at 316 after batting for almost the entire day yesterday and with just half an hour left for lunch today.
Pujara's seven-and-a-half hour vigil saw him facing 350 balls and laced with 12 boundaries.
The 24-year-old Pujara had scored an unbeaten 206 in India's first innings total of 521 for 7 declared in the first Test at Ahmedabad and then followed it up with 41 not out as the hosts chased 77-run target to win by 9 wickets.
India got off to a slow start on the second day today and added just 27 runs in 17 overs for the loss of overnight batsman Ashwin in the first hour of play.
Ashwin, resuming at 60, was troubled by Panesar, who was extracting sharp turn off the pitch. Beaten a few times, the Indian tried to use his feet but finally was trapped leg before by Panesar.
Ashwin, who batted for 147 minutes, facing 114 balls and striking nine fours, put on a 111-run stand for the seventh wicket with Pujara after joining the one-down batsman yesterday when India were in deep trouble at 169 for six. The duo's partnership had helped India cross the 250-run mark.
Panesar's previous best figures against India was four for 101 at Nottingham in 2008, while in India, it was three for 65 at Chennai on England's previous visit four years ago.
After Ashwin's dismissal, Harbhajan Singh joined Pujara. But he looked all at sea against the spinning ball and survived some anxious moments, including an edge to wicketkeeper Matt Prior off Panesar.
The ball struck the glove of Prior and flew past Jonathan Trott in the slip region for a four.
India's 300 came up in the 19th over of the day when Harbhajan edged Panesar for another four. He then slogged the bowler over the long on fence for the first six of the innings.
The eighth wicket stand between the off spinner, who hit two fours and a six during his 21-run knock off 35 balls, and Pujara yielded a valuable 35 runs in 78 balls.
Harbhajan became Swann's 200th Test victim in his 48th match. He is the 14th Englishman to achieve the feat.
Swann also ended Pujara's unconquered streak in the series, stretching to over 17 hours combined at Ahmedabad in the series opener and here, by drawing the batsman out of the crease and having him stumped by wicketkeeper Prior.
Swann then terminated the Indian innings with Zaheer Khan's wicket. Zaheer scored run-a-ball 11, studded with a four and a six.
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