Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Indians Take Charge as England Stutter Again

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Indians Take Charge as England Stutter Again

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID LLOYD

Caption Kicker This is caption copy an amount of dummy copy that will be filled by the subs This is caption copy an amount of dummy copy that will be filled by the subs Hits and misses: Rahul Dravid hits out on the way to his half century while Gautam Gambhir (above left) launches into Monty Panesar, causing captain Kevin Pietersen to have a consoling word with his underfire spinner. It had all started brightly when Stuart Broad (left) dismissed Virender Sehwag for nought

KEVIN PIETERSEN'S bowlers were facing another long stint of hard labour as India threatened to take firm control of the Second Test here today.

After losing the first match by six wickets on Monday, England badly needed to bat. But Pietersen called incorrectly at the toss and his team soon found themselves trying to hang on to India's coat-tails despite an early strike from recalled seamer Stuart Broad.

Fit again after a hamstring injury, Broad replaced Steve Harmison after the man who should have spearheaded the visitors' pace attack in Chennai had taken only one wicket. And the switch worked, with Broad dismissing Virender Sehwag with his sixth delivery.

England could have had more joy with the new ball. Once Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid negotiated a few testing overs, though, runs came far too comfortably to raise hopes of a seriessquaring victory for Pietersen's men.

Opener Gambhir moved purposefully past 50, and Dravid who might have been axed here after scoring only two half-centuries in his previous 18 Test innings grew in confidence after a shaky start. Between them they added 128 to take India to 134 for one at tea.

Having said yesterday he was looking at "a few things", Pietersen announced only the one change this morning, with Owais Shah again unable to dislodge Ian Bell and any thoughts of turning to uncapped pair Amjad Khan and Adil Rashid being shelved.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to see where the desperately unlucky

Shah will win a third cap. If a fine player of spin, who was in prime form during the one-day series, cannot get a game in India then what chance does he have in the Caribbean after Christmas? No doubt Harmison will make the trip to West Indies in January. But the great comeback, so vigorously applauded by Pietersen at The Brit Oval four months ago, has well and truly stalled after a couple of Tests and a few one-dayers.

Despite assurances about his fitness, the infuriatingly inconsistent paceman bowled just six overs in Chennai on Monday when England needed inspiration.

Now wonder the selectors opted to give Broad a go here.

No-one was able to get going, mind you, until 20 minutes after the scheduled start of play because of bad light.

And even then we had another delay and perhaps a cricketing first with England having the ball changed before a ball was bowled. …

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