India v England: Sehwag and Pujara Batter Visitors, Swann Fights Back
By Chandrashekar Srinivasan | November 15, 2012 10:47 PM EST
India finished the first day of the first Test against England very much in command of the match, after opener Virender Sehwag and 24 year old Cheteshwar Pujara led the hosts to an impressive 323/4.
England struggled to make inroads all day long, with only the off-breaks of Graeme Swann (4/85) making a dent in the Indian batting line-up.
MS Dhoni won the toss for India and chose to bat first, a decision which was subsequently well rewarded. Openers Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag put on 134 for the opening wicket; with the stand lasting all the way through the first session. The partnership was eventually broken by Swann, who managed to sneak a ball past Gambhir and rattle his off-stump. The left-hander dismissed for 45, just short of his 20th test half century.
At the other end, Sehwag was in fiery form. The veteran batsman had not scored a Test century for two years before this game and with all the talk about the Indian old guard of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar and co. retiring to allow young blood to come through, Sehwag needed a big score.
The right-hander raced to his 50 off just 45 balls, before scoring 15 of Tim Bresnan just one over after reaching the milestone. He reached his century off 90 balls - the exact same scoring rate as his 50 - smashing 15 fours and a six in the process.
India followed the 134-run opening partnership with a stand of 90 for the second wicket. Pujara gave Sehwag excellent support in the middle, recording his second Test 50 off 67 balls. The youngster now has one fifty and one century in eight Test innings and is likely to make it two centuries when play resumes on Friday as he is unbeaten on 98.
India's second wicket, Sehwag, fell to Swann again, with the spinner beating a mistimed sweep with a ball which gripped and turned from outside off stump.
England enjoyed better fortune after Sehwag's dismissal, striking to remove Tendulkar for 13 and the in-form Virat Kohli for 19, with Swann accounting for both men.
All-rounder Yuvraj Singh continued his remarkable comeback from cancer to close out the day's play with Pujara, finishing with 24 to his name.
England's bowlers will be glad of the respite, fully aware that could be another day of toil on a falt pitch in Ahmadabad. Swann will once again be critical to the visitors' chances and he will need to strike fast and early to stop India from piling on the runs. The Indians do have a fair amount of batting yet to come, with the ever-dangerous captain, Dhoni, and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who boasts a test best of 103, still waiting to come in.
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