England's Matt Prior plays a shot during Day 3 of the 3rd cricket Test Match against India at Eden Garden in Kolkata. PTI
Captain MS Dhoni celebrate after he caught behind England batsman Jonathan Trott (scored 87) on 3rd day of 3rd Test cricket Match between India Vs ...
Virat Kohli, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh celebrate England captain Alastair Cook's run out at EdenGardens, Kolkata. HT Photo/Subhankar Chakraborty
England batsman Kevin Pietersen acknowledges after scoring half century during his innings of 54 runs on 3rd day of 3rd Test cricket Match between India ...
British spectators enjoy England's batting on 3rd day of 3rd Test Cricket Match between India vs England at Eden Gardens, in Kolkata. HT Photo/Subhendu Ghosh
Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha in action during third day's play of third crikcet test against England at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. UNI
Captain MS Dhoni and Zaheer Khan during Day 3 of the 3rd Cricket Test Match against England at Eden Garden in Kolkata. PTI
Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin coming out during the lunch break on 3rd Day of 3rd Test cricket Match at Eden Gardens, in ...
England batsman Jonathan Trott in action during his innings of 87 runs on 3rd day of 3rd Test match between India and England at Eden Gardens ...
England captain Alastair Cook acknowledges the crowd after making 150 against India during the 3rd day's play of third Test match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. ...
England have put themselves in the driver’s seat. I am sure Alastair Cook would love to extend the 193-run lead on the fourth day morning so that his team doesn’t have to come out in the fourth innings on a roughed up Eden wicket, trying to save a Test on which they have stamped their authority so far.
Indians surely did have the better of the exchange in the last two sessions of the third day. Both the spinners bowled with more purpose on the third day though I believe Zaheer and Ishant didn’t reverse swing the ball as much as they could have.
Backs to the wall
India though still find themselves under the hammer. The batters will surely have to come out with guns blazing in the second knock.
England batting has to be lauded for the way they have gone about the job but first the credit must go to Anderson and company. They surely had a plan up their sleeve for the Indian batting on a fantastic batting surface.
Monty Panesar bowled huge number of overs from one end to keep the batters quiet, drying up the run-flow while Anderson bowled one of his best spells of reverse swing in sub-continent conditions to make a dent in the Indian middle-order.
Duration is key
One needs to bat long on good batting surfaces to take the game away from the opposition, which was portrayed at Ahmedabad. Once India got 500 on the board, England were always trying to catch up and even after their fightback in the second essay, they lost the game.
Failing to utilise
Both in Mumbai and Kolkata, Indians failed to capitalise on the advantage which their captain provided by winning the toss. On the other hand English batters have gone from strength to strength since Motera.
Their success has been made possible by Cook. He is on a dream run. The rest of his colleagues have just rallied around him. I would not hesitate to say that it is Alistair Cook who has really defined this series.
Indians on the other hand can draw inspiration from their record at Eden Gardens and they will need to just recall that this historic ground has witnessed one of the greatest fightbacks in world cricket and that too by India.
The writer is former India captain
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