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Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

India v England: 2nd Test day one as it happened

SECOND TEST, Mohali (day one, close):
India 179-1 v England

Gautam Gambhir compiled his fourth Test century as he and Rahul Dravid put India in control of England on day one of the second Test in Mohali.

England, who lost the toss, began well when Stuart Broad had Virender Sehwag caught behind in the second over.

Gambhir and Dravid batted cautiously to put their side in a strong position, although the former was dropped on 70.

England were made to toil in the final session and India had reached 179-1 by the time bad light curtailed play.


By Ben Dirs

e-mail (with 'For Ben Dirs' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606. (Not all contributions can be used)



"Ian in Northwood and JP from Retford should consider seeking out Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses. The finest Christmas pop pulp this side of Slade. And a lot more exciting than the cricket."
Simon J. James, Sunbury, in the TMS inbox

1025: Another tough, grimy old day for the tourists. To be fair, England didn't bowl badly, but there wasn't much for them in the pitch. Swann was the pick, and he comprehensively outbowled Panesar, who was disappointing again. Fine knock from Gambhir, but it's Dravid's day - 'The Wall' was playing for his Test future, and he's passed with flying colours. Thanks for sticking with it and I'll see you again tomorrow... finished cleaning that oven yet Carole?

Bad light stops play
1019 - 179-1 Dravid just pulls his bat out of the way and the ball falls just short of first slip. Anderson gets one to duck back into Dravid and very nearly cleans him up. The umpires get together at the end of the over, have a chat, offer the light, and off they go. That's it for the day folks... we think, it doesn't look like they'll be coming back on.

1013 - 179-1 Sad to report that Monty hasn't been much cop again today, Swann has posed far more of a threat. I can't remember Monty beating the bat or forcing a false shot. A single apiece for Gambhir and Dravid and the umpires consult about the light... but we're ploughing on...

1008 - 177-1 Won't be long now until the umpires offer the light - whether the batsmen will accept it is another matter, they may well opt to bat on. Just one from Anderson's over, Panesar to continue.

"There is currently a more interesting contest going on in my living room, between my 18-month-old son and my wife. He is endeavouring to remove decorations from the tree and throw them, faster than she can put them back on. Veering between 'don't do that, put that down' and his wailing I can see it lasting a good five days."
Rob, Northants, in the TMS inbox

"Ian from Northwood, I totally sympathise. I currently have Reach for the Stars by the now defunct, treacly-sweet 90's teeny pop act S Club 7 ringing around my brain for no apparent reason at all. It's like a parasitic musical worm that crawls into your head and sings at you for days on end."
JP, Retford, Notts, in the TMS inbox

1001 - 176-1 Dravid moves to 64 with a single off Panesar before Monty drops short and Gambhir carves him through backward point for four. MONTY'S NUTTED UMPIRE RAUF! Not really, that was just for the benefit of Iain from Southampton (see below)... drinks... the Test over in Perth is proving to be as grimly inevitable as this one: just when the Saffers think they've got the Aussies on the rack, two tail-enders some in and start slapping it about. 162-7 at one point, they close on 228-7...

He's reached 100
0958 - 171-1 Another maiden from Monty, and KP turns to Jimmy Anderson... Gambhir turns Anderson away to square-leg, scampers two and that's his fourth Test ton. This lad is some player, and he'll fancy doubling that score.

"This game is so dull that I actually paid attention to the phone call I was on (something to do with pension projected benefits) instead of pressing F5. Make something up if you have to, just distract me from my work!"
Iain, Southampton, in the TMS inbox

0951 - 169-1 Gambhir reaches and drives Broad into the covers for a couple and picks up two more with another firm push to mid-off. Gambhir, looking to bring up his third ton in six Test innings, tries to smear Broad over the covers and slices to third-man for two more. More width from Broad, but Gambhir cuts straight to Collingwood at backward point. KP in serious pain out there - he shies at the stumps and lands on his damaged ribs before pulling his best whisky face.

0945 - 163-1Ian, Northwood (see below), Stay Another Day is one of the finest Christmas number ones of all time, and at least the equal of 2 Become 1 by the Spice Girls. Broad replaces Swann from the Pavilion End and he mines the corridor wide outside Gambhir's off-stump. Gambhir refuses to nibble. A maiden from Monty - plenty of animation from Panesar, no real threat.

"Whoever mentioned East 17, may you rot in hell for eternity with a kilo of itching powder in your underpants. I've got that horrible Stay Another Day song going round and round my head now. Unless something worse comes along I'll be stuck with it for the rest of the day."
Ian, Northwood, in the TMS inbox

0940 - 163-1 Monty back into the attack and his first ball slips out and is flayed into the covers for one. Gambhir clips Panesar to mid-wicket for a single and Dravid tickles him round the corner for a couple to move to 63.

0936 - 159-1 That's a maiden over from Broad, including a couple of probing deliveries. One just misses Dravid's off-peg, another, a yorker, is well dug out. Swann completes his 15th over, and it's another maiden. The Notts man has outbowled Panesar again. Swanny playing his way into the Ashes?

"Carole in Maidenhead, do people still clean their ovens out? Get yourself one of those self-cleaning ovens and watch England struggle in peace."
Andrew in the TMS inbox

0930 - 159-1 Gambhir moves to 91 and brings up the 150 partnership with a four through square-leg. Cook appeared to have clawed the ball back from the rope, but the Man Upstairs decides his foot was touching. The credit crunch hasn't quite snuffed out the Barmy Army yet, there's a few in today and they're starting to make a bit of a racket.

0925 - 155-1 Broad replaces Flintoff and that's an iffy shot from Gambhir, reaching and slicing over the man at gully. Just the one run. More width from Broad and Dravid piles into it, crashing the ball through the covers for four. Splendid news Grammy (see below), that's a very healthy 8.5lb if my maths is correct. I take it Grammy is some northern patois for 'nan'?

"Any reason why Pietersen doesn't have a bowl himself, or maybe even sling the ball to Collingwood to have a go? ANYTHING to break up the monotony, these two know what to expect from the current line-up. Oh, and baby Nathan was born on Tuesday evening, 3.84kg since you ask."
Carol (aka 'Grammy'), Portugal, in the TMS inbox

"I suppose cleaning the oven and this match have quite a lot in common. Start off all enthusiastically, clean up that first tricky bit of stubbornness, then spend the next few hours desperately struggling to remove the rest. Not that I've ever cleaned an oven, but I imagine that's what it's like..."
Steve, Manchester, in the TMS inbox

0920 - 150-1 Amjad Khan replaces Freddie, who's off for a blow. Gambhir stays back and turns Swann to mid-wicket for a quick single to move to 87. Dravid works Swann through the covers for a couple to move to 56, and that's the 150 partnership.

0916 - 146-1 New boots for Flintoff. Freddie digs one into Gambhir and the left-hander drops him into the leg-side for a single. Dravid risks a quick single against Flintoff, and just beats Freddie's swivel and shy. Who was the last England player to have a moustache, asks Simon Mann on TMS? Robin Smith? Jack Russell? Who the ruddy heck knows. They're talking about the definition of 'moustache' now on TMS... it's that kind of day...

0911 - 141-1 Swann tosses a few deliveries up against Dravid but the batsman is content to smother. Quite a Test match brewing in Perth - Australia 177-7 in their second innings, a lead of 250-odd.

0907 - 141-1 Flintoff drifts onto Dravid's leg-stump and is flicked away for one. Where were you when East 17 made number one with Stay Another Day? Weirdly, I was picking apples in Australia. Has there ever been a more thuggish-looking pop outfit than East 17? Looking back, they were proto-hoodies. Sorry, I'm boring myself...

0902 - 140-1 Rest assured Mrs Maidenhead, it was indeed a reflection on the cricket, although you really should switch to a gas oven, you'd get a lot more poke and your head would crisp up nicely. We're back out after tea and Gambhir's had enough of being handcuffed by Swann and slaps him over wide long-on for the first maximum of the match and the first boundary off Swann.

"Huh? I trust the 'head in the oven' comment was a reflection on the cricket, and not you telling me to sling my hook? It's an electric oven anyway."
Carole in Maidenhead in the TMS inbox

"Hi Ben. You old enough to remember the 1981-82 England tour of India? Gavaskar's men beat Fletcher's men in the first Test and then we had another five played on flat pitches with over-rates of eight an hour. I can see India batting to tea on day three here to make sure they win the series 1-0. Aren't you glad it's only a two-Test series? You could be commentating on four more like this."
P in the TMS inbox

"I think Carole from Maidenhead should clean out her oven. She'll only be kicking herself later. Just finished a conference call with work, which was slightly more interesting than this."
Rob, Northants, in the TMS inbox

"Ben, the last time East 17 were at Number one the song was, I think, 'Stay another day' . Tempting fate a little there mate."
Steve, Mirfield, in the TMS inbox

That's 50
0840 - 134-1 Gambhir glides Flintoff to third-man for one. Carole (see below), my advice would be to crank up the gas and leave your head in the oven after you've cleaned it out. Flintoff attempts the yorker but Dravid squeezes the ball to mid-wicket for his 54th Test fifty. Huge knock for 'The Wall', who had looked particularly rickety of late. That's tea...

"I took a day off work early for this. What a dilemma. Do I stay glued to TMS online/radio, or do I clean the oven out? Hmm, it's a toughie."
Carole in Maidenhead in the TMS inbox

0837 - 130-1 Eight innings since Dravid's last fifty, he's now 48. Swann serves up a lollipop and Dravid is frustrated not to have put him away. Just the two singles from the over and England have acquitted themselves well in this session - no wickets, but they're scrapping.

0833 - 128-1 Flintoff almost tempts Dravid into a drive, but the right-hander thinks better of it. That Sehwag wicket seems like a long, long time ago now, I think East 17 were at number one... Flintoff hurries Dravid and the batsman very nearly chops onto his stumps.

0828 - 126-1 Gambhir shows twinkle toes and works Swann to mid-on. Nice flight from Swann and that's a little uppish from Dravid. The crowd filling out now, there must be 80-odd in.

0823 - 125-1 Flintoff back into the attack and in he comes around the wicket to Gambhir. A bumper from Freddie, but Gambhir bends at the knees and sways back with the minimum of fuss. Gambhir picks up a single with a fend round the corner. Fifteen minutes until tea, and it can't come soon enough.

"I can't believe I nodded off shortly after 6-1 and wake up to this..."
Sarah, Bucks, in the TMS inbox

0818 - 124-1 The mountains coming into view for the first time today as Anderson zips through another maiden over. Dravid gets a big stride in and paddles Swann to fine-leg for two. Swann tries a quicker delivery and forces Dravid into a false shot. KP attempts an overarm throw before clutching his side - it has transpired he did himself a mischief playing squash the other day.

0812 - 120-1 Huge lbw shout from Swann against Gambhir, but Umpire Harper reckons, erm, I'm not sure what he reckons - that was ripping out middle stump. The only thing I can think is that Harper thought Gambhir had got a big enough stride in. Swann bowling very well here, he's asking a whole host of questions.

0809 - 119-1 Anderson has only two men on the leg-side for Gambhir and he strays onto the left-hander's pads with the first ball of his over. One run for Gambhir. They're talking about rickshaw crashes now on TMS, that's how riveting this cricket is...

0805 - 118-1 Things have ground to a bit of a halt, although Dravid does pick up one with a force into the off-side. Anderson keeping his discipline outside Gambhir's off-stump. Lovely stroke from Dravid, paddling Swann down to long-leg for two. Well fielded by Broad. Another probing over from Swann, who's conceded just eight runs from six overs.

0758 - 115-1 Swann getting some delightful loop into the left-handed Gambhir, and he finds the edge of Gambhir's bat with the final ball of the over - but Collingwood can't quite get his left hand to it. A very sharp chance indeed, Swann making things happen.

Simon Hughes
"Dravid is the sort of person who would wait for a bus for an hour without walking off..."
Simon Hughes on TMS

0756 - 114-1 Pietersen posts a man at third man for Gambhir's upper-cut, but I can't help feeling it's a little after the horse has bolted. Anderson ploughs a furrow wide outside Gambhir's off-stump but the batsman's having none of it. For now.

0751 - 114-1 At least Swann is making a few things happen - he has a confident lbw shout against Dravid turned down by Umpire Harper and completes a maiden. KP has some earnest words with Anderson, probably something along the lines of "do me a favour Jimmy, get me a *@*@* wicket".

0749 - 114-1 Anderson is back into the attack. He looks like he's going to need a water cannon to remove Gambhir from the crease... EDGE! But the ball flashes over gully and away for four. Another four, again with a flash outside off-stump, but this time slightly more convincing. This is looking grimmer than Chris Rea's Greatest Hits as far as England are concerned.

0741 - 106-1 Broad continues to wear a groove outside Dravid's off-peg but Dravid refusing to nibble. Swann gets one to arc across Gambhir and the left-hander tickles him round the corner for two runs. Swann, unlike Gambhir, is mixing things up and he gets one to hurry on to Gambhir. Gambhir just digs it out to mid-wicket, to Swann's frustration. Drinks... presented on a silver salver... by a man in a suit...

0735 - 103-1 Swann gives it some air and beats Gambhir in the flight - thick inside edge, but the left-hander gets away with it and picks up a couple of runs.

0733 - 101-1 Nice line from Broad, although Dravid doesn't have to play at much. Time for some Swanny, and it will be interesting to compare the Notts off-spinner to left-arm spinner Monty, who's looked pretty innocuous so far.

0727 - 101-1 Dravid somehow threads a drive between the two cover fieldsmen and the ball races away for four. There's the India ton. Dravid tucks Panesar round the corner for one to retain the strike.

0724 - 96-1 Monty has a bit of a chat with KP and that's his cheapest over so far, just one from it. We're not actually sure whether Broad has been warned or not now, TMS think it was merely a talking to. Over-pitched from Broad and Gambhir leans into the shot and the ball races through the covers for four. Broad drying the ball, which suggests it's a bit more than drizzle in Mohali at the moment. Just that one four from Broad's over.

"A lot of players were talking to Monty in Chennai, there were too many people in his ear. He only needs to talk to his captain - I just feel you need to let him bowl with a clear head..."
Former India spinner Ravi Shastri on TMS

0716 - 91-1 Broad strays onto Dravid's leg-stump and is whipped in front of square for three. "Very close," says Umpire Rauf to Stuart Broad, who was warned in his previous over for running on the pitch. Poor ball from Broad and Dravid clips him through mid-wicket for four. Sweet shot, but an easy shot. This is looking ominous for England.

Angus Fraser
"From an England perspective Dravid is looking worrying good at the moment..."
Gus Fraser on TMS

That's 50
0711 - 82-1 It's more like Old Trafford out there now, but it's no more than mizzle and play continues. Monty tosses one up and Dravid appears to be beaten, but he was actually hiding his bat. Gambhir moves to his ninth Test 50 with a clip to mid-wicket. The little left-hander looks like some player. His knock has taken 101 balls so far and included seven fours.

0709 - 80-1 Broad replaces Flintoff and he immediately finds the edge of Gambhir's bat, but the ball races through imaginary third slip and away for four. It's started raining now in Mohali... we could be off in a minute... Broad looks like he's been warned by Umpire Rauf for running on the pitch. The few fans there are run for shelter and the groundstaff head for the covers...

0702 - 76-1 Dravid looking pretty solid now, and looking pretty loose. He even shares a little joke with Flintoff at the end of Freddie's over, which suggests he's relaxed, and that could be bad news for the tourists. Gambhir turns Monty round the corner for a few and the Northants man proving to be no threat at all at the moment. Gambhir nicks the strike with a clip to square-leg. Five overs, no maidens, 0-22 from Panesar so far.

"I don't know about you English, but we Indians do find the name Sidebottom very amusing. He should be included in the Funny Names XI."
Vijay in the TMS inbox

0658 - Dravid eases Panesar into the covers for one and Gambhir picks up one to mid-wicket. Not much in the pitch for Monty thus far. Dravid drops his hands and angles Flintoff to the third-man boundary. That's his third four since lunch and he's now 25.

0654 - 64-1 Some ominous-looking walkie-talkie chat going on, it looks very gloomy out there. From what I'm hearing, unless you get wall-to-wall sun in Mohali at this time of the year, it's virtually impossible to get a full-day's play in. Flintoff bowls a maiden.

0651 - 64-1 Gambhir turns Panesar away for a sharp single to move to 40. Monty still spearing his deliveries in, not much turn for the Northants man.

0646 - 63-1 Gambhir steers Flintoff into the covers for two. Gambhir tucks Flintoff to leg for a single as a jumbo jet roars over the TMS commentary box. Dravid finding his feet, he on-drives Flintoff for four - the shot of a man in form.

"Gambhir will continue his onslaught. England and KP need to think outside the box because if these two stay in for another 50 odd runs, then there could be a couple of big 100s on the way."
Amir Mir in the TMS inbox

0642 - 56-1 Looks like we've got problems with the light already - there's no way we're going to get a full day in. Crackerjack stroke from Dravid, easing Monty through the covers for four. England could do without 'The Wall' cementing over his cracks and getting a score. The umpires already seem to be conferring over the light, things in the balance... and here's Flintoff...

0638: Just when I thought I couldn't feel any worse after 24 hours with no sleep, I pop down the corridor for a coffee and I've now got Chris Rea's Driving Home for Christmas stuck in my head. It makes Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmas Time seem like Prokofiev in comparison. Monty to continue after the break. Will Gambhir continue his onslaught?


0601 - 51-1 Swann to bowl the last over before lunch. Dravid's not joining in the fun, he blocks out Swann's six balls with the minimum of fuss before heading for the pavilion. A fairly glacial first session, with Broad coming up with a big gold star. See you in 40.

0558 - 51-1 Panesar starts off with a full-bunger, but Gambhir can't get him away. But Gambhir's not hanging about - he skips down the pitch and clubs Monty's third ball to the deep mid-wicket fence. And another! Wide long-on this time, and Gambhir really signalling his intent here. Eight from Monty's first over, let's see how he reacts.

0554 -43-1 Sleepless in South Lancashire (see below),I've never played first-class cricket, but I've got an amusing name - can I bat at six? Flintoff digs one into Gambhir's ribs and the left-hander angles the England all-rounder into the leg-side for a quick single. Freddie getting up towards 90mph, but Gambhir has never really been troubled. Monty's going to have a twirl. Wonder if he's been reading the papers? He's been getting a fair bit of flak.

"I see one of the West Indies' current openers delights in the name of Chattergoon. Why can't England produce players with names like that? It would keep the Test Match Special team in giggles for days on end. Any chance of a 'Faintly Amusing Names XI'? With perhaps a limit of three Sri Lankans?"
Sleepless in South Lancashire in the TMS inbox

0549 - 42-1 Anderson loses his line and Dravid falls on the loose delivery, yanking the Lancashire paceman away for four. Pressure released momentarily, Dravid moves into double figures.

0545 - 37-1 Gambhir works Anderson into the on side for two. Dravid has been at the crease for an hour now for five runs. Grim stuff from 'The Wall', he picks up one from Flintoff's over courtesy of a drop into the off-side.

0536 - 35-1 Just two singles from Flintoff's over and Anderson replaces Broad from the Pavilion End. Nathan, I should clear up that I wasn't calling Hayden a choker (see below), rather pointing out I was choked that he'd got out cheaply again. I'm sure all Englishmen will share my grief.

0532 - 33-1 Broad looking a little bit tired now and losing his length - Gambhir whips him through mid-wicket for four and follows up with a savage cut through the covers for four more. Two more for Gambhir courtesy of an off-drive and he's now on 23. That could be Broad's spell over, but it's been a very useful one. This Mitchell Johnson chap, I saw a picture of him the other day with his guns out. He looked like he should have been wearing a little bow-tie and a novelty crocodile pouch. He's quick, but where's his dignity?

0527 - 23-1 Flintoff's first ball to Dravid and the right-hander clips him away for a couple. Just one more no-ball from Freddie's over. Some Mohali stats for you to mull over with your Golden Grahams: nine Tests, Tendulkar has played in all nine. India have won three, there have been four draws and the Windies are the only touring side to win there (in 1994). The highest score by an Englishman was made by Nasser Hussain - 85 in 2001, when England lost by 10 wickets. In 2006, England lost by nine wickets.

0522 - 20-1 Players have had a drink and it's Broad to continue... Dravid tickles him round the corner to move to three. Loose shot from Gambhir, looking to cut, inside-edging and picking up a single. Broad drops short and Gambhir - who looks like a serious talent - pulls him away for the second four of the day.

"Watching Aus v SA in Brisbane whilst visiting for Xmas and feeling a little down in the dumps. They are going on and on about some bloke called Mitchell Johnson who apparently is going to single-handedly win the Ashes for Australia next year. Need a good show from England today otherwise I shall have to drown my sorrows in another cold beer."
Chris (normally from Lancashire) in the TMS inbox

0516 - 15-1 Looks seriously chilly out in Mohali - lots of locals draped in blankets or nestled under fleeces. Typical first over from Flintoff: bang on the money against Gambhir and it's a maiden. "Very hard to keep track of three Test matches at once whilst pretending to work on a slow Friday afternoon, but I'm trying!" says Ed "behind enemy lines" in Australia. Indeed Ed, looks like the Aussies v the Saffers is boiling up very nicely. Hayden's gone? What a choker, I ruddy love that guy...

0511 - 15-1 Footage of David Lloyd getting his backside inspected by a sniffer dog. Lovely stuff, he looked like he was enjoying that. A run apiece from Dravid and Gambhir, and it's time for Freddie...

"Just a Public Service Announcement for all the students up battering out essays or revising panickedly for exams in the New Year because you've been on the ale since September: the slowing rotation of the earth means that a second is being added to the clock at 1 January, so you've got a bit longer and can relax. If you've got to hand an essay in today, fix a sharp pin (taken, if you are male, from the tennis playing lady poster on your wall) to the F5 key with blue tack till you've done at least 30 pages or 30 quite hard equations."
Paul in Lancs in the TMS inbox

0505 - 13-1 Anderson brings a silly mid-off in for Dravid. Anderson digs one in, Dravid attempts to pull him away and spoons it to deep square-leg - but the ball lands safely. The Lancashire paceman has a little word, Dravid gives him a wry smile. KP underarming in the field - apparently he can't throw because of his squash-induced rib injury.

0501 - 12-1 The crowd really swelling now - there must be at least 40 people in now. I'm not being funny, but I thought Indians were supposed to be massively into cricket? I've played frisbee on the beach to bigger crowds than this. Just one from Broad's over, a leg-bye. Only the ninth Test match at the PCA Stadium, I'll endeavour to pull up some stats.

0457 - 11-1 A little too short from Anderson, but it's a maiden nonetheless. Whatever you think might work Greg, whatever you think might work. I touch wood all the time when I want something to happen. Only I don't actually touch wood, I touch my forehead, even if there's a big lump of wood to hand.

"I just changed my browser to Safari. Do you think we need to change browsers every wicket to keep it going? The logic is clearly there, I had the same browser throughout the fifth day last week."
Greg, CT USA, in the TMS inbox

0451 - 11-1 James (see below), I don't think he was determined, if he felt anything like I do at the moment he probably only had about 30 words left in his vocabulary. Dravid scratching about out there - Broad gets one to nip back and very nearly gets through Dravid's defences and Broad then gets one past a defensive lunge. Three overs, one maiden, 1-2 so far for the Notts seamer.

0447 - 10-1 A leg-bye brings Dravid on strike. Slight hesitation from the Indian batsmen - Dravid blocks into the off-side - a bit of stop-starting - but he manages to get off the mark. Gambhir is beaten outside the off-stump, and England's new-ball bowlers continue to turn the screw.

"Ben, good to see you back at the helm, presumably the Lyon sleeps tonight. He did leave a challenge for you though: try to beat his impressive hat-trick from the last Test - he managed to start three paragraphs with the word 'Right' in under half an hour. He sounded ever so determined."
James in the TMS inbox

0442 - 8-1 Dravid blocks his first ball from Broad. A very solid stroke. But that's a beauty from Broad, another full delivery that lures Dravid into the drive. Big lbw appeal from Broad, but Umpire Harper reckons that was just going over the top. Good shout that, and Hawk-Eye says so too. Good pace from Broad - high 80mph and Dravid jabs his bat down hurriedly. Cracking opening spell this from Broad.

0437 - 8-1 Sehwag's dismissal brings Dravid to the crease. 'The Wall' is having a rough time of it lately with the bat - indeed, he's more like a shower curtain than a wall at the moment. Gambhir clips Anderson off his hip for a couple. Gambhir is beaten outside the off-stump, Anderson getting one to angle away from the batsman. Good start this from England, Anderson and Broad using the conditions well.

Out for a duck
0432 - Sehwag c Prior b Broad 0 (Ind 6-0)
It's Broad to share the new ball with Anderson and Gambhir tucks him away for a single to long-leg, where Monty fields. Sehwag faces his first ball, fishes slightly and is beaten. Very loose from Sehwag, driving wildly at his second ball faced... AND HE'S GONE FOR A BIG FAT DUCK NEXT BALL! Full delivery from Broad, Sehwag drives again and feathers a catch to Prior behind the stumps. That's why Broad's in the team - a little bit of swing and wobble.

0428 - 5-0 Appeal from Anderson first up, but that was sliding down Gambhir's leg-side. That's a peach of a drive from Gambhir off Anderson's second ball, a cover-drive for four. Gambhir dead bats into the off-side and scampers one more. Five from the first over. Carl (see below), I once wore a pair of my brother's trousers over my own trousers to a youth club disco in the hope that his (more fashionable) trousers would help me attract women. They didn't. I just looked like I had elephantitis.

"I just changed from Internet Expoliter to Fire-dog, in the vain hope it may change all my/our fortunes. Have you ever done anything as drastic to change the outcome of your life/a Test match?"
Carl Evans, France, in the TMS inbox

0421: A little burst of Jerusalem from the Barmy Army goes ricocheting around the ground - the attendance appears to be about 19. Remarkable scenes - the ball is being changed before a ball has been bowled. Bore off lads and get on with it.

0420: We've got some umpires at last and David Lloyd giving us the lowdown on the pitch - some grass on a length, but otherwise it's very dry with crevices all over it. Here come India's openers, Sehwag and Gambhir... cricket coming up...

Angus Fraser
"If they don't get a couple of wickets in the first hour, it could be a long day for England... I just wonder if Monty Panesar doesn't enjoy that pressure of bowling to win a match on the final day..."
Gus Fraser on TMS

0409: Kevin Pietersen calls heads, it's tails, and India skipper MS Dhoni decides to have a bat... what do you infer from KP's comment that he likes the way Stuart Broad "carries himself"? A little dig at Steve Harmison maybe? Play due to start at 0420 GMT.

"I would have liked to have batted first. Reverse swing plays a huge role in the sub-continent, although I'm not sure how much we'll get in these overhead conditions. Stuart Broad brings in quite a bit in the way he bowls and carries himself and he adds a bit of batting down the order."
England captain Kevin Pietersen

0406: Play will start at 0430 GMT, skippers are on their way to the middle for the toss...

0400: Pungent words from Simon K first thing, and I have to agree. I just said pretty much exactly the same thing to the chap sat opposite me. Too much of that in the England team: half a season scratching about, one half-decent knock and a batsman's place is assured for another couple of series. I don't want to go back to the bad old Hick and Ramps days, but I can't help thinking this 'continuity' thing has gone too far. The toss may be happening in five minutes, says Jonathan Agnew on TMS... but that's unconfirmed...

"So, jobs for the boys yet again in the England upper order, with no place for Shah who is both in form and has a technique suited to the conditions. No doubt Bell will make an elegant 60 when the pressure is off and secure his place for another couple of years. I thought that Pietersen's appointment would end the culture of complacent mediocrity which has permeated the England dressing room, but perhaps not."
Simon K, Birmingham, in the TMS inbox

0355: Umpires Rauf and Harper tell us their light meters say 6, and they're not likely to start until they say 7. The problem is, will they ever say 7? It looks like Chelmsford in October out there at the moment.

0348: Apparently we've got a delayed start in Mohali - curiously, bad light has stopped play... at 9.15am. Where is Mohali, near Helsinki? I'll keep you posted, no chat yet as to when we'll be kicking off, or indeed when the toss will be. Just had a look at the pitch though - plenty of grass, looks like a bit of a seamers' paradise. India are unchanged from Chennai, which means Rahul Dravid has escaped the axe.

0343: Ian Bell retains his place in the England team. Not sure what Owais Shah has to do to get a run in the team, short of spiking Bell's pre-match vindaloo.

England: Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen (capt), Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Monty Panesar

0335: Morning duckies. Still waiting to hear whether Monty's been dropped or not, I'll just go and find out for you. Any Indians reading, thank your lucky stars you don't have to eat five Christmas dinners every December, I already smell of meat and stuffing and it's still six days until the big one. Hold the presses: Steve Harmison has been dropped for Stuart Broad. I have to say I agree with that decision wholeheartedly, it looked like Harmy wanted to be sipping hot Bovril back in Durham during the first Test.

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see also
Moores wants early India wickets
19 Dec 08 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
19 Dec 08 |  England
England crushed by Tendulkar ton
15 Dec 08 |  England
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket

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