India wrest initiative as England flounder

Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Nagpur:Irfan Pathan struck twice in the final session to help India wrest initiative as England lost seven wickets for 246 runs at close of play on the first day of the first Test at the VCA stadium here today.

At draw of stumps, Paul Collingwood with a gritty 53 and Mathew Hoggard without opening his account were at the crease.

For England, it was a case of their batsmen throwing their wickets away after getting starts before a disciplined bowling effort by the Indians and inspired captaincy by Rahul Dravid who made the right bowling changes and was spot on with his field positionings.

The only bright spot for the visitors was 21-year-old opener Alastair Cook who became the 68th Englishman to score a half century on debut.

It was not as much as the runs that he scored but the hunger of wanting to be there in the middle and fight it out which conveyed a lot.

Cook took his time to settle down preferring to read the pitch against the spinners in the beginning and after growing in confidence played a neat innings.

He started off with a hooked four of the debutant seamer Sreesanth and then went on to play some beautiful shots, none the better than the straight drive also off Sreesanth which scorched the turf.

Cook's impregnable defence was finally broken when Pathan got one to reverse-swing and it went between his bat and pad to disturb his furniture behind for 60 which came in 160 balls with the help of seven fours.

Scorecard of Day 1

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