x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

England wrap-up ten wicket victory over India in second Test

Monty Panesar claimed a career-best 11 for 210 as England strolled to a series-levelling win in Mumbai.

Monty Panesar is congratulated by England teammates
Monty Panesar is congratulated by England teammates

England raced to a famous 10-wicket win over India in the second Test this morning, after Monty Panesar finished with a career-best match haul of 11 for 210.

The tourists' series-levelling victory was achieved principally on the back of Kevin Pietersen and captain Alastair Cook's wonderful first-innings centuries yesterday.

Today, they merely had to complete an apparently straightforward task - and duly did so with the minimum of fuss at the Wankhede Stadium.

Panesar recorded innings figures of six for 81 as he and Graeme Swann accounted for 19 of the 20 home wickets to fall and India mustered just 142 all out on this spinners' pitch.

Beginning 31 runs in front and with just three wickets remaining on day four, India had to believe opener Gautam Gambhir (65) could somehow inspire enough resistance to set England an awkward total.

It was an unlikely scenario, and one which proved beyond him.

Harbhajan Singh made his intentions clear from the first ball of the morning, clubbing Panesar for four high over mid-off in an over which cost 10 runs.

But Swann (four for 43) made short work of the tail-ender at the other end, finding extra bounce with an off-break to take the glove for a neat catch by Jonathan Trott away to his left at slip after Harbhajan shaped to cut.

Zaheer Khan also tried to slog India into more credit, but managed only a single before his sweep at Panesar resulted in a gentle skier safely held by wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Number 11 Pragyan Ojha then appeared to have made contact with his bat, for a catch at short-leg, off Panesar.

But umpire Aleem Dar's agreement about that was required to close the India innings, and it was not forthcoming.

It was not a decision which looked likely to be significant, and so it proved as India could add only another six runs before Gambhir fell to another dubious call - this time from Tony Hill - when there was a suspicion of inside-edge about his lbw dismissal.

There were no complaints from England, of course, and fewer still after Cook and Nick Compton passed their target of just 57 well before lunch in under 10 overs.

The tourists therefore surpassed India's nine-wicket margin of victory from the first Test, and will head for the third in Kolkata with renewed confidence that they can after all become the first Englishmen to win a series here since 1984/85.

Afterwards, Cook was quick to praise the contribution of Pietersen to the win.

"There are not many people in the world who could do what Kev did," Cook said.  "It was the difference between the two teams. He took the game away from India.

"It's been an incredible three and a half days from the lads - with the character we have shown from last week.

"We could have let our heads drop down but we came here, worked as hard as we could in the nets and we took that belief and form we needed into the game.

"That is as good a game as I have been involved in for England."

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni faced an unenviable task trying to stop Pietersen, but a significantly easier one identifying the scourges of India here.

"Pietersen and Cook batted really well. But apart from that, both the scorecards resembled the same - two big innings and the rest were phone numbers.

"In this Test match, Monty was different to all the other bowlers.

"All the other bowlers were getting enough bounce and turn, but Monty was bowling at pace - close to 90/95kmh - and was still able to get some turn.

"If you compare all the other bowlers, most of them they got wickets but they never looked to bother the batsmen as much as Monty did."



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