Bowlers give England upper hand, India reeling at 273/7
England bowlers gave the visiting team an upper hand by reducing India to 273/7 even as batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar returned to form with a compose half century on the opening day of the third Test at the Eden Garden here today.
When the little master walked into the crease, amidst huge cheer and standing ovation from around 25000 spectators, stage was set for him to play a special knock as India were in slight spot of bother at 117/3.
The legend was circumspect in the beginning, but soon was in his element and started playing his shot with complete ease.
Just when it seemed like Sourav Ganguly's prediction of Sachin hitting a ton at Eden was on course to become a reality, the maestro thick-edged James Anderson in the wicket-keeper gloves.
His fighting effort of 76 from 155 balls was decorated with 13 sweetly timed boundaries.
Even as Sachin was looking in his elements, England bowlers struck stifled most of the Home batsmen and struck intermittently.
Yuvraj Singh (32) was providing an able support to the little genius, forging a 79-run stand for the fifth wicket, before gifting away his wicket.
The southpaw clumsily punched one straight towards the short-cover where Alaister Cook, leaning forward, grasped the ball to his chest.
Gautam Gambhir, who has not scored a three figure mark for almost three years now, once again failed to convert a good start into a big knock.
The left-hander after a well-made 60 (124 balls, 12x4) was caught at slip by Jonathan Trot of Monty Panessar.
Earlier in the morning session in the day, Sehwag became victim of a communication gap with his partner and fell short of his crease while attempting a near impossible third run. When he departed the home team were 47/1.
Monty Panesar gave England vital breakthrough after claiming the vital wicket of Pujara.
Panesar drew the Saurashtra batsman forward with an arm ball which Pujara inside edged to the stumps.
Virat Kohli's (6) poor run in this series continued as the stylish right hander had another disappointing outing. He edged Anderson and handed a low catch to Graeme Swan.
Despite Sachin and Gambhir's half centuries, the first day honours were shared by touring bowlers, who stifled the home batsmen with the incisive bowling and did not allow them to settle by striking at regular intervals.
Despite all controversy surrounding the pitch, Eden track, true to its nature, was flat and English bowlers exploited the condition by bowling in the right areas.
The major chunk of workload was shouldered by Monty Panesar, bowling 35 overs and ending the day with a figure of two for 73.
Anderson, who was ineffective in the Indian condition until now, was pick of the English bowlers and was rewarded with three wickets for some accurate and disciplined bowling.
Even though the match started at 0900 hrs, about one hour of day's proceeding was completed under flood light.
When stumps were drawn for the day skipper M S Dhoni(22) was accompanied by Zaheer Khan (0).