Sreesanth and Pathan peg back Englishmen

Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Nagpur:Debutant seamer S Sreesanth did most of the damage to England innings as Indian bowlers kept up the pressure to put the visitors in a bit of bother at 157 for four at tea on the first day of the first Test at VCA stadium here today.

At tea-break, Paul Collingwood on 22 and skipper Andrew Flintoff on 11 were at the crease.

Sreesanth impressed everyone taking two wickets, while keeping a good line and length to choke the England batsmen, as the visitors could add just 68 runs in 30 overs in the post lunch session.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, England had a decent start with the openers putting on 56 runs. However, except for debutant Alastair Cook (60) all other the batsmen could not convert the starts into big scores on a wicket which is suited to batting on the first day.

Resuming at lunch on 89 for two, Kevin Pietersen was in an attacking mood and hit two powerful flicks to the mid-wicket boundary.

The only England batsman who could cope with the Indian bowling was opener Alastair Cook, who become the 68th Englishman to score a half century on Test debut, with a glide to fine leg off Harbhajan Singh.

However, Rahul Dravid made a wise bowling change replacing Kumble with Sreesanth from the press box end and the youngster from Kerala produced results immediately.

Pietersen edged Sreesanth's first delivery of the second over of his third spell, but a diving V V S Laxman spilled an easy catch. Pietersen was then on 15 in the team total of 110 for two.

Sreesanth, however, bailed Laxman out as in his fifth delivery of the same over. Pietersen tried to pull a delivery from outside the off stump, but only managed to edge it onto his leg stump without any addition to his personal score and team total.

After holding the English innings together, Cook also fell for 60 to another inspired bowling change as Dravid brought on Irfan Pathan for Sreesnath.

Pathan got through the defence of Cook beating him neck and crop to peg back his off stump. His 60 came from 160 balls hitting seven boundaries and spending 206 minutes at the crease. England were 136 for four when Cook was out.

Flintoff then joined Paul Collingwood and the two took their team to tea without any further loss, with the English captain showing his range of shots hitting two fours in his unbeaten 11.

Collingwood was unbeaten at the other end on 22 with the help of four boundaries.

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