Alastair Cook compiles 30th Test ton, Amit Mishra strikes twin blows


Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra struck twice in the space of 11 balls after being brought on late into the attack but England swelled the overall lead to 260 at lunch on the fifth and final day of the opening Test at the SCA stadium here today.

Mishra, who took just one wicket and looked unimpressive in the England first innings, took wickets in his first two overs to remove debutant opener Haseeb Hameed (82) and then pack off top batsman Joe Root (4) cheaply to bring some interest into the match.

England captain Alastair Cook was, however, holding fort at one end after compiling his 30th century of his 136-Test-old career which was also his sixth against India and fifth in this country to show his liking of Indian conditions.

The left-handed opener, who became the sixth century maker in the Test and fourth from his side, was 106 not out from 208 balls from which he struck 10 fours in a lunchtime team score of 211 for two, that translated to an overall lead of 260 with two sessions left in the match.

The not out batsman at the other end was Ben Stokes on 6, even as Test looked headed for a draw. The tourists added 97 runs in 29 overs during the first session.

The visitors, appearing to play for a draw on the last morning of the game, all of a sudden changed their approach and started to go after the Indian bowling, losing two wickets too in the process.

Mishra first caught and bowled Hameed, denying the talented Indian-origin youngster his day in the sun with a century on debut, for 82. The 235-minute stay of the 19-year-old batsman, who struck a six and seven fours in his 177-ball innings, ended when he knocked back a slog-sweep off a leg break bowled wide of off stump.

Replays were called for as Mishra was thought to have over-stepped but he had landed his front foot inside the crease by the barest margin and Hameed, who played spin and pace with equal felicity, departed after having added 180 runs with his captain for the first wicket.

This was followed by the quick dismissal of Root who tried an almighty heave off Mishra’s leg break and top-edged to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha who took a comfortable catch.

In the first hour of play, England showed little intent on getting quick runs. With the wicket playing easy, Cook and Hameed had no trouble in facing the pace-cum-spin attack employed by the hosts.

India, too, employed a semi defensive field and kept Ravichandran Ashwin operating from one end for the first hour and he kept things in check although hardly causing any discomfort to the two batsmen.

India alternated between Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav at the other end and the first hour’s play saw Cook reach 50 in 122 balls. It contained just three hits to the fence.

Barring an edged shot by debutant Hameed off Shami and a top-edged sweep by Cook off Ashwin, who employed a leg stump attack with a packed on-side field to the left-handed opener, there was hardly anything to test the Indian fielders.

Ashwin was replaced after an economical 9-over spell for 17 runs by Ravindra Jadeja while Mishra replaced Yadav after the pacer had conceded 23 runs in six overs.

The move paid off immediately as Mishra caught and bowled Hameed. Root followed Hameed into the pavilion before England adjourned for lunch without losing another wicket.

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