England Win The Second Test And Level The Series In India

England Win The Second Test And Level The Series In India

Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann shared the last three India second-innings wickets in 45 minutes this morning to bowl the hosts out for 142.

 

England openers Alastair Cook and Nick Compton then knocked off a target of 57 with ease before lunch. This victory was only England's second Test win in India in 14 matches since 1985.

 

England's spectacular all-round performance was the perfect turnaround from the well below-par showing in the first Test in Ahmedabad. With two matches left in the series, the impossible really could happen for this England side.

 

The recalled Panesar showed the selectors what they had been missing in the first Test loss with a career-best 11 wickets in the match as 19 of the 20 India wickets fell to spin. Cook and Kevin Pietersen scored brilliant hundreds to secure a crucial first-innings lead of 86.

 

Man of the match Pietersen’s innings was one of the best you are likely to see, with scintillating shots all around the wicket as he showed the class, and at times the disdain, that has made him one of the most feared batsmen in world cricket.

 

Panesar and Swann, who outbowled India's three spinners throughout, followed up with seven wickets on yesterday evening to ensure it was always likely to be a matter of when, rather than if, England would finish the job today. 

 

Leading by 31 with only three wickets in hand, India took 10 off the first over of the day but Harbhajan Singh fell in the next when he gloved a delivery from Swann to Jonathan Trott at slip that turned and bounced fiercely. Zaheer Khan top-edged a slog-sweep and was easily taken by Matt Prior to give Panesar figures of 6-81, before opener Gautam Gambhir was trapped lbw for 65 by Swann, who finished with 4-43 - and 8-113 in the match.

 

Fears of a scenario reminiscent of Abu Dhabi in January when England collapsed to 72 all out chasing a modest 145 to beat Pakistan were quickly dispelled as Cook and Compton set about their task with relish.

 

Compton, playing his second Test, cracked four fours and a six in making 30 not out from 28 balls and Cook posted an unbeaten 18 as the tourists cantered home. This was the type of innings Compton needed as his Test career has seen him play almost too watchfully and this morning the shackles were well and truly off and he is sure to take confidence into the next Test.

 

England's first win in six Tests leaves the series superbly poised going into the third match in Kolkata starting on 5 December, with the finale in Nagpur to follow.

 

England are looking for their first series win in India since David Gower's side came from behind to seal a 2-1 triumph in 1985.