Turn of the screw: India outplayed at own game

On most days, Nick Compton is among the dourest opening batsmen you will come across. On Monday, however, he came out to bat like a man possessed. He jumped out of his crease on the first ball he faced from Pragyan Ojha, was almost bowled. Undeterred, he stepped out of the crease again and smashed the left-arm spinner for a boundary through the covers two balls later.

Over the next 20 minutes, Compton played an array of shots that he wouldn't have imagined playing otherwise. That too against spin on a turning track a reverse-sweep and a mighty six over long-on included.

Compton's unbeaten 28-ball 30 ensured that England chased down their paltry target of 57 in a jiffy. This final passage of play in the second Test was also symbolic of the momentum shift at the halfway point of the four-match series. It showed the positive change in mind-set of the English batsmen. Kevin Pietersen had set the ball rolling with his destructive 186 in the first innings. And the jauntiness had rubbed off on the rest of his teammates too, including the junior-most.

The Indians had sauntered into Mumbai having crushed English hopes in Ahmedabad. Their eyes were set on furthering their quest of exacting revenge for 2011. With the pitch at the Wankhede turning from the very first day, the hosts looked well in contention.

But the Englishmen outgunned them at their own game in their own den. The 10-wicket win was as comprehensive as they come, especially in terms of overseas wins. It was also a disparaging loss for Team India one that will leave them dealing with immense self-doubt.

It will be Alastair Cook & Co now who will travel to Kolkata for the third Test with the mental upper hand.

Ironically, the visitors proved to be better equipped than the Indians to contend with the complex wicket at Wankhede. Over the three and a bit days, they also provided a pointer or two to Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Co both with the bat and the ball. During his brief stay at the crease on the fourth morning, Compton displayed the value of using your feet on a rank turner. Just like Pietersen had in the first innings.

Pietersen though had also proved that aggression was the best form of defence on such wickets. The Indians in contrast looked like novices against the wiles of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann. They remained stuck to the crease and quite clueless, even the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni.

While India's three spinners hardly managed to bother Pietersen during his brutal knock, Panesar looked unplayable at times. While returning match-figures of 11/210, he also provided a master-class on spin-bowling on a helpful track.

India's spin triumvirate tried aping the turbaned left-arm spinner's approach a paradox on its own but failed in their pursuit of dragging the English batsmen onto the front-foot like Panesar did so enchantingly.

At Mumbai, India played like a defeated lot. Not like a team that had dominated the same opposition a week ago. With the revenge theme now out of the picture, the series is also set up nicely for an intriguing climax in Kolkata and Nagpur.

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