Quick wickets but no miracle this time
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It was the strangest of sights. Alastair Cook, charging down the track, nostrils possibly flaring under his helmet, and aiming for the upper reaches of the 'K' stand at the Eden Gardens, located behind the deep midwicket fence. It was the first over of England's innings.
Cook missed, and was stumped yards down the pitch. Most uncharacteristically, he hadn't made the bowler earn his wicket. But Cook's error wouldn't cost England. A bigger target might have tested them, though. Jonathan Trott, who came in at the fall of Cook's wicket, lasted just six balls, and was out LBW to a ball from Pragyan Ojha that went with the angle from left-arm around. Kevin Pietersen was then out for a duck, caught behind off Ashwin. There was something on this fifth-day track.
But the events of the first four days had ensured that England would only have to chase 41. Going by the press conferences addressed by Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni on the fourth and fifth days, there seemed to be a consensus within the Indian team that this had been a very good wicket to bat on, and that the Indians hadn't batted well enough.
For most part, that was a fair assessment. Cook's dismissal apart, England had batted with discipline, and played to a plan. On Day 3, for instance, they had downed shutters for the first 15 overs and waited for India to take the second new ball.
The Indians, on the other hand, had gifted England wickets — Sehwag's run out and Yuvraj Singh's soft dismissal to Graeme Swann in the first innings; Cheteshwar Pujara's run out, and the loose drives played by Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli in the second. Dhoni's dismissal to James Anderson in the second innings could be blamed on lazy footwork.