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India vs England: Pujara, Spinners Turn Game in Hosts' Favour

International Business Times UK

India's spinners came to the party after Cheteshwar Pujara had ensured a big score for the hosts, with England reeling on 41 for three after the second day of the first Test in Ahmedabad.

India dominated the second day from the beginning until the end, even if their batting might have been a little slow. Pujara scored an unbeaten 205, with Indian declaring their first innings on 521 for eight.

The Indian spinners then quickly took three English batsmen's wickets for 41 runs, with Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen at the crease - R Ashwin picking up two of those wickets to Pragyan Ojha's one.

In the England innings, newcomer Nick Compton was the first to go, his stubborn 53-ball stay coming to an end, when Ashwin found his way through the opener's defense. England chose to send in night-watchman James Anderson and the plan immediately backfired, with the bowler lasting only six deliveries.

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Gautam Gambhir at short leg snapped up a brilliant catch after Ojha found Anderson's inside edge, which then went off the left-hander's pad.

Trott did not trouble the scorers, again falling victim to a short-leg fielder, this time off Ashwin's bowling.

India began the day well, with Pujara and Yuvraj Singh circumspect but solid as the duo built their overnight partnership into three figures.

Yuvraj, making a comeback into the Test side after fighting cancer, justified his selection, making a well-timed half-century as the Indians slowly but surely made their way towards a big total.

Pujara, who was on 98 at the end of the first day's play, however, was the first to get to his landmark, completing his second century in just his sixth Test, taking a single off the last ball in the second day's fourth over - his century coming off 190 balls.

The duo took India to lunch without the loss of a single wicket, adding 87 runs to the overnight score of 323, with the score reading 410 for four.

Yuvraj, when he looked nailed on for a hundred, gave his wicket away early in the post-lunch session. The left-hander hit the easiest of full-tosses from Samit Patel straight to Graeme Swann at long-on, who gleefully accepted the gift, much to the despair of the Indian batsman.

India captain Dhoni came in to bat, but like Virat Kohli on the first day, got stuck, struggling to move the scoreboard along and eventually becoming Swann's fifth victim - playing on while attempting a sweep.

R Ashwin played another useful innings down the order, giving Pujara good company, as the No. 3 batsman reached ever closer to a deserved double hundred. Ashwin hardly looked troubled, proving once again what a useful player he can be for India in Test cricket.

Pujara, meanwhile, as he edged towards the 200, was creating a buzz around the ground, the fans cheering every run scored by their fellow Gujarati. A dab through backward point, with Pujara on 196, looked like it would carry all the way through to the boundary, with the crowd making their pleasure known in full measure; however the ball was cut off just inside the boundary line, meaning Pujara needed another two runs for the magical mark.

A single followed, before the 24-year-old, off James Anderson's bowling, found the gap past a packed offside field, getting him to a brilliantly manufactured 200. Ashwin got out in the next over for 22, Kevin Pietersen picking up his first wicket in the innings.

Zaheer Khan followed Ashwin soon after, with the India fast bowler's wicket creating quite a stir as the dismissal went Anderson's way, the first wicket for a fast bowler in the Test match, taking all of 157.1 overs.

India batted for a couple more overs before declaring their innings on 521 for eight.

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