Low after the high

Spirited resistance

If that is the case, then England must be happy with their effort, despite it coming at two an over in 97 overs. With Matt Prior and debutant Joe Root waging spirited resistance with an unbroken 60-run stand for the sixth wicket, England could push on to a more than decent first innings total. Still, India will be rather pleased with their returns on the opening day, which might have been even more plentiful if not for KP's stoic apprenticeship on the Jamtha wicket.

The masterclass, however, ran into teething trouble. Walking in at the fall of Cook's 'dismissal' struck outside the line, ball probably missing the stumps in the 11th over, Pietersen rocked on to his backfoot to face his first ball, a short ball from Ishant. Instantly, he must have known it was the wrong thing to do, but instinct had played its role. The ball stuttered to groin height, and only a last-minute improvisation kept it from squirting on to the woodwork. KP never triggered back again.

Ishant, having completed a six-over spell, exited the scene. From both ends appeared the spinners. And specially for KP, left-arm spinners. Just as there were no slips for the pacer, Pragyan Ojha & Troupe had to get used to bowling without a crowd around the batsman. With no bounce on offer and bat-pad ruled out, the conventional short leg was pushed back to a short-square-midwicket position. There he would wait all day.

Bat's arc flowing straight as an arrow, Pietersen half volleyed each ball right back to Ojha, for whom he took his stance well out of the crease. When Jadeja dropped his first delivery in Test cricket short during the following over, the England number four was quick to make the necessary adjustments. It made for fascinating cricket.

... contd.

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