England in driver’s seat against India

Updated 07 December 2012
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England in driver’s seat against India

KOLKATA: Having dominated the third Test for the first two days, England further firmed their grip on day three, reaching 509 for 6 and taking a 193-runs lead, with Alastair Cook making yet another big century (190), while Jonathan Trott (87), Kevin Pietersen (54) and Matt Prior (40*) also playing their part.
The Indian bowling looked much better than what it was on day two, picking up five wickets in the day’s play, but it couldn’t stop the visitors from posting another huge total in this series. After getting the wickets of Ian Bell (5), Pietersen and Samit Patel (33) after tea, India thought of wrapping up tourists’ innings below 500, but an aggressive innings by Prior made sure the momentum stayed with England till the end of the day’s play.
India could not have found any other way to get Cook than by way of a run out.

The England captain was run out backing up when Pietersen (29*) whipped Zaheer Khan to square leg where Virat Kohli threw the ball at the non-striker’s end. Cook was about to ground his bat, but then got himself out of the way of the ball as it hit the stumps. The England captain fell ten short of his second double hundred of the series, but ensured his team take the lead, reaching 381 for 3 at tea.
Cook’s dismissal came after India got the wicket of Trott, who was caught behind off Pragyan Ojha. Sensing Pietersen vulnerability against left-arm spinners and his history against Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni brought him into the attack. And the ploy almost worked when Pietersen almost dragged a wide delivery onto his stumps. But the batsman, who is coming into this match after his match-winning 186 in the Mumbai Test, hit two boundaries off Yuvraj straight after.
If it was Cheteshwar Pujara who dropped a straight forward chance of Cook on Thursday, Ishant Sharma went a step ahead yesterday, dropping the simplest of catches of the England captain who seemed to be going on and on, bringing up yet another 150 plus score and taking his side to 296 for 1 at lunch, just 20 runs short of India’s first innings’ total of 316.
Trott, who had come into this game with consecutive ducks, continued to make the most of the start he had got on Thursday evening. The Warwickshire batsman, who had a lean series with the bat until this innings, played some exquisite drives on the front foot and was equally dismissive of anything bowled at his legs.
It seemed like India came out on day three with more profound thinking as their bowlers kept England in check in the first ten overs. But as he has shown often in this series, Cook waited to get his eye in before breaking the shackles with a drive through covers for a boundary off Ravichandran Ashwin.
Trott too picked Ashwin’s carrom ball with good effect and drove it through covers for his first four of the day. India took the new ball in the 89th over, but neither Khan nor Ishant Sharma could get the ball move in the air.
Cook brought up his 150 with a four punched on the back foot to the wide of mid-on off Zaheer. Trott was also gifted two half volleys at his pads by Zaheer and the batsman obliged by hitting two back-to-back boundaries to bring up his 50.
The wicket-taking opportunity of the morning came to India when Cook lobbed a return catch to Ishant who couldn’t hold onto the simplest of the chances.


LIVE: Spain 1-1 Morocco - Spain strike back after early Khalid Boutaïb goal

Updated 3 min 20 sec ago
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LIVE: Spain 1-1 Morocco - Spain strike back after early Khalid Boutaïb goal

10.03PM:  A good start to the second period for Morocco, once again Spain are half asleep in defence and the Atlas Lions are seeing a lot of the ball. That results in Pique handling the ball, for some reason the ref does not see the infringment and play continues. Good signs, though, for the North Africans. 

SECOND-HALF STARTS:  A key 45 minutes coming up here for Spain and Morocco. Spain know they have to win to get Russia in the next round, not an easy task but an easier one than Uruguay who they will face if they finish second. Morocco will want to finish the tournament with a result. They have played better thatn their results so far and will want to avoid three straight defeats. 

HALF-TIME: A mixed half for Morocco - they are creating chances and causing Spain problems in attack, But when without the ball they are under constant pressure, as the three yellow cards illustrate. Can they keep out Iniesta and Co. in the next 45 minutes? As it stands both Portugal and Spain are going thought, with Portugal beating Iran 1-0. A crucial next half coming up. 

SPAIN STRIKE: Iniesta and Isco celebrate the much-deserved equalizer. 

9.42PM: They may have been defending for long periods of this half, but they have always been comfortable on the ball and when they have got the chance to attack they have. A very well-worked move down the left ends with Ziyech having a decent shot from outside the box. They are doing themselves and their fans proud here. 

HISTORY MAKER: Take a bow Boutaib! 

 

 

9.33PM: Busquets has a great chance for Spain but heads wide from a corner. The Spainish are trying to turn the screw here, it's important Morocco get to half-time still level or you worry Spain may run away with it. Important nxt 10 minutes coming up. 

9.30PM: Spain, as expected, are seeing alot of the ball, while Morocco are seeing several yellow cards. The Morocco captain Moubarak Boussoufa rowing with the ref makes him the third Atlas Lion to go into the book — it's looking unlikely that Morocco will end this one with 11.

BRILLIANT BOUTAIB: The moment the Moroccan striker shocks Spain

9.23PM ANOTHER GREAT CHANCE FOR MOROCCO: Schoolboy defending by Spain gifts Boutaib another clear run-in on goal, De Gea does brilliantly to save and spare his side's blushes. Spain are being very adventurous here, there will be more chances you fancy for the Atlas Lions. 

9.17PM GOAL FOR SPAIN: That goal has given Spain a wake-up call. They come straight back. Iniesta atones for his mistake with a neat interchange with Diego Costa, before pulling back for Isco to finish from close range. Lovely goal.

9.12PM GOAL FOR MOROCCO!  Two of Spain's most experience players, Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta, both dithered on teh halfway line gifting the ball to Khalid Boutaïb who had a clean run in on goal. If he was nervous he didn't show it as he coolly slotted home past David de Gea. What a response! 

9.05PM: It has been a bright star for Spain, they are definitely not taking Morocco lightly. The Noerth Africans are chaing shadows at the moment. 

KICK-OFF: We're under way in Kaliningrad...

9.00PM: Should they lose this match, it will be only the second time Morocco have lost all of their World Cup group matches in a single campaign, having previously done so in 1994.

Whereas Spain have won their final group game in each of the last eight World Cup tournaments, a run stretching back to 1986.

8:50PM: Such is the support for the Atlas Lions in the stadium that is is almost like a home game. 

 

 

8:40PM: Morocco might be out, but that has not prevented plenty of their supporters showing up here in Kaliningrad. 

8:35PM: Starting line-ups...

Spain:
David De Gea; Dani Carvajal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; Isco, Thiago Alcantara, David Silva; Diego Costa
Coach: Fernando Hierro (ESP)

Morocco:
Monir El-Kajoui; Achraf Hakimi, Manuel Da Costa, Ghanem Saiss, Nabil Dirar; Noureddine Amrabat, Mbark Boussoufa, Karim El-Ahmadi, Younes Belhanda, Hakim Ziyach; Khalid Boutaib
Coach: Herve Renard (FRA)

Tonight's referee is Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan.

8.30PM: So, after the dramatic late winner for Saudi Arabia in Group A, we move our attention to Morocco's final game of the 2018 World Cup. The Atlas Lions cannot progress, but could make like difficult for the former world champions Spain. The Spanish know nothing but a win will guarantee their progress at this tournament, and have named a strong side in their quest to get through.

Kick off is 20:00 KSA time.