India dismiss England openers

Friday, 19 August 2011

London - India bowled with improved discipline and determination to pick up the wickets of England openers Andrew Strauss (40) and Alastair Cook (34) on the second morning of the fourth Test at the Oval on Friday.
At lunch England, who resumed on 75 for no wicket after rain washed out the final two sessions on Thursday, were 126 for two on a fine morning before a capacity crowd of 23,500.
England are seeking a 4-0 whitewash over the side they replaced at the top of the world rankings after winning the third Test at Edgbaston by an innings.
Cook, whose test average had briefly crept over 50, fenced at the fourth ball of Ishant Sharma's opening over from the Vauxhall end and was beaten outside the off stump. The next ball, a fuller delivery, drew Cook forward in an attempted drive which flew off the edge to Virender Sehwag at first slip.
RP Singh was equally accurate at the other end and England did not add to their overnight account until 20 minutes had elapsed when Strauss pushed a single to leg.
Ian Bell pushed Singh for two to leg then played a delightful late cut to the third man boundary. He followed up with a back-foot drive through the covers for three.
Nine runs came off the over and Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned to Shanthakumaran Sreesanth. Sreesanth, who possesses the mannerisms of a demon fast bowler while bowling at a modest medium pace, held no terrors and Bell drove him sweetly through the covers for another boundary.
Sreesanth did pick up the wicket of Strauss although the dismissal was the result of a false shot rather than a particularly threatening delivery.
Strauss had added only two to his overnight total in an hour at the crease when he chased a wide delivery and edged a simple catch to Dhoni behind the stumps.
Kevin Pietersen edged his second ball from Sreesanth to third man for four to bring up the England 100. He picked up a second boundary with an identical shot off the same bowler.
Dhoni introduced Amit Mishra into the attack for the first time in the match and Pietersen drove the first ball off the back foot through the covers to the boundary and took another boundary off the leg-spinner's second over with a drive to long-on.
Pietersen flicked the final ball before lunch off Sharma to Suresh Raina at leg-slip who dived forward but then indicated the ball had not carried. At the interval Bell was on 29 and Pietersen had scored 18.


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