2nd Test: Pujara saving grace for India
Cheteshwar Pujara struck back to back Test century as India faltered on a spin friendly track to the left-arm spin of Monty Panesar on the first day of the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday.
India were 266 for six in the first innings at stumps with Pujara (114) and Ravichandran Ashwin (60) holding fort with their unbeaten 97-run stand for the seventh wicket.
Pujara is now the third Indian to score hundreds in first two Tests vs England, after Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly.
It was a landmark Test for India's two veterans, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. But Panesar (4/91) spoiled the party for what was Sehwag's 100th Test and is almost likely to be Tendulkar's last Test at home ground.
Opting to bat first, India lost opening batsman Gautam Gambhir (4) early in the second ball of the day with England's pace spearhead James Anderson (1/49) trapping the southpaw leg-before.
Sehwag and Pujara then got the innings on track with their 48-run stand. But the innings was again derailed as Panesar struck in his consecutive overs, first to get rid of Sehwag (30) in the 17th over and then Tendulkar (8) in the 19th.
Sehwag started off well but in his attempt to work in on the side gifted away his wicket to Panesar. Panesar fired into the pads and Sehwag looking to work through on missed it completely. The ball hit the pad before taking off the stumps.
Lot was expected from Tendulkar as well. But the batting maestro failed to fire to leave his fans disappointed.
Tendulkar leaned forward to play Panesar off the front foot but the ball spun right across him to knock back his off-stump.
Tendulkar's poor run in Test continued. His last Test century came 22 months ago, 146 against South Africa in Cape Town in January 2011. His highest this year was 80 against Australia in Sydney in January. Since then he has scored 15, 8, 25, 13, 19, 17, 27, 13 and 8.
The two quick strikes left India struggling at 87 for three after a poor first session's play.
In the post lunch session, Pujara and Virat Kohli (19) tried to take the attack to the opposition with their 58-run stand for the fourth wicket.
But Panesar bowled cleverly to break the partnership. A hint of width, induced Kohli into a drive and but fails to keep the shot down and Nick Compton took a good catch diving to his right at cover.
Yuvraj Singh failed to open his account, getting castled by Grame Swann (1/59) while India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (29) became Panesar's fourth victim.
Dhoni's 29-ball 64 was cut short by Panesar with Swann taking a good catch at gully. Dhoni was trouubled with the turn and bounce and since Swann took a low catch the decision was referred to the third umpire, who ruled in favour of England.