2nd test: Pujara's century remains as the only saving grace for IndiaNovember 23, 2012 19:12
Indian crickets new poster boy, Chesteshwar Pujara, scored his third Test century as India, after being under tremendous pressure for the first two sessions, recovered well to finish the first day on 266 for 6 in the second Test at the spin-friendly Wankhede Stadium of Mumbai.
Pujara, who scored a double-century in the first Test at Ahmedabad, stood out as other Indian stars struggled against the England spin duo of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann. The 24-year-old added 97 runs with R Ashwin to put India in a much better position towards the end of the day. Pujara was unbeaten on 114 while Ashwin, who scored his second Test fifty to go with a hundred against West Indies last year, was on 60.
Panesar - who replaced Tim Bresnan - made waves with figures of 4 for 91. However, it was James Anderson who provided the visitors their first breakthrough off the second ball of the match by trapping Gautam Gambhir lbw. It was a long walk back for Gambhir who picked up a nice boundary off his pads off the very first ball.
Pujara then joined Virender Sehwag at the crease. Sehwag, who is playing his 100th Test, played some brilliant shots and looked good for a big score when Panesar cleaned him up. On 30, missed the line completely as the ball hit his stumps after ricocheting off his front pad. He and Pujara added 48 runs for the second wicket.
Mumbai's own son Sachin Tendulkar walked out to a big applause from the spectators but couldn't stay for long. He too was bowled Panesar with a peach of a delivery which angled in and then turned away to rattle off stump. Tendulkar scored 8 off 12 balls as the Indians were reduced to 60 for 3. Pujara, however, kept his cool and along with Kohli took India to 87 for 3 at lunch.
England continued to rule the roost in the second session with the wickets of Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh. Panesar added to his two wickets of the first session with the wicket of Kohli, who gave a simple catch to Nick Compton at the covers for 19, while Grame Swann cleaned up Yuvraj for a duck in the very next over to leave the hosts reeling at 119 for 5.
Pujara and MS Dhoni batted with great precaution thereafter, adding 48 runs to take India to 167 for 5 at tea. Dhoni's resolve ended early in the final session when Swann took a tough catch off the bowling of Panesar. It seemed as if the ball had bounced before Swann pouched it, but the third umpire gave the decision in the bowler's favour. The India captain made 29.
Earlier, Dhoni won the toss and decided to have a bat. Harbhajan Singh came in for the injured Umesh Yadav, while there were a couple of changes for England. Ian Bell, who has gone back to England for the birth of his first child, was replaced by Jonny Bairstow, while Panesar replaced Bresnan.