Cook, Prior keep England afloat gritty batting displays



AGENCIES

Published — Monday 19 November 2012

Last update 19 November 2012 1:29 am

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AHMEDABAD: Alastair Cook produced a monumental innings of 168 not out, and Matt Prior (84 not out) supported his captain superbly as England wiped off their deficit to reach 340 for five at stumps on day four of the first Test at Motera after being asked to follow on.
Cook scored his 21st Test ton and played the role of an anchor to perfection while Prior did majority of the scoring in their 141-run stand. The wicketkeeper batsman scored 84 runs in the partnership.
Cook literally never broke a sweat as he batted through the day in Ahmedabad’s dry heat and drove England past their deficit. He has now batted for 75 overs over the course of the two innings and given England a snowflake’s chance in hell of saving this match. More importantly, he’s given his team the confidence to score runs against the Indian tweakers on slow turners. Even if England do go on to lose this match, they’ll go out with the belief that they can rectify things in this series if, perhaps, they get the chance to bat first and put the runs on the board.
International news organizations suspended text and photo coverage of England’s cricket tour of India because of new restrictions introduced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The Indian bowlers, who had picked up three wickets in the first session and two in the second, were unable to unsettle the English captain-keeper duo in the third. England, who were asked to follow on after succumbing to a 330-run deficit in the first innings, will go into the fifth day with their noses psychologically ahead after not many would’ve expected India to bat again in the match.
Earlier in the second session, Cook and Prior, who had the two highest scores for England in their first-innings collapse, came to the visitors’ rescue once more as their team took Tea at 264 for five, still trailing India by 66 runs.
Pacer Umesh Yadav, who had so far been a silent spectator as the spinners picked up the wickets, finally had his day as he scalped Ian Bell (22) and Samit Patel (0) in back-to-back deliveries. Both fell in similar fashion, leg-before to Yadav’s balls inching down leg-side, but good enough for umpire Tony Hill to think they would have clipped leg-stump.
Patel’s dismissal was even more doubtful; replays showed that it even nicked the bat’s edge before hitting the pad.
India would have felt they deserved their bit of luck, after a few decisions went against them on Day Three. The DRS debate was back on, as England lost half their side still trailing by 130 runs.
Brief Scores: India 521 for 8 decl. (Cheteshwar Pujara 206*, Virender Sehwag 117; Graeme Swann 5 for 144) trail England 191 (Matt Prior 48, Alastair Cook 41; Pragyan Ojha 5 for 45, R Ashwin 3 for 80) and 340 for 5 (Alastair Cook 168*, Matt Prior 84*; Umesh Yadav 2 for 60, Pragyan Ojha 2 for 102) by 10 runs.

International news organizations suspended text and photo coverage of England’s cricket tour of India because of new restrictions introduced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

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