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England fall just short of victory over India

The England cricket team finished the first test match of the five match series against India with a draw.

Now Alastair Cook and his team have gone out to India hoping they can repeat that overall result. The match started on overall result. The match started on Wednesday 9th November in Rajkot and was a thriller from start to finish.

England batted first, with the flat pitch providing a tremendous opportunity for the players to rack up a huge score for India to answer to. This is exactly what happened. England batted at a steady rate throughout the first day.

Key batsman Joe Root once again scored a hundred, while Moeen Ali ended the day only one run away from his own. England could not have asked for a better start.

Day two started on an equally high note for the team, with Ali securing his ton followed by Ben Stokes achieving his own as well. This excellent batting carried on until England were eventually all out for an impressive 537, a score that almost certainly ensured that England would not lose the test – barring only a masterclass from India.

Batting conditions were still favourable by the time India took the crease though, so it wasn’t out of the question. India’s batting looked strong, with the two openers, Murali Vijay and Gautam Gambhir, remaining unbeaten throughout the rest of the day two, ending on 63-0.

India’s impressive batting display continued on day three, with the hosts slowly chasing down the English score.

By the close, they had whittled down England’s lead thanks to sublime centuries from Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, ending on 319 for a loss of only 4 wickets, 218 runs away from parity in the first innings.

If England were to win, they needed to knock India over twice in the next two days. Things looked promising for Cook’s side as the day went on, getting India all out for 488, a high score but one not as high as it initially looked like they would get.

In the third innings, Cook and debutant opener Haseeb Hameed stepped to the crease. Hameed proved to be the talent that many had claimed him to be in his second innings, racking up an impressive 62 by the end of play, leaving England on 114-0 and giving them an outside hope of victory.

The game plan for the final day was simple for England. Score enough runs to put the game out of India’s reach in the first session and then try and bowl India out in the same day.

Cook led the way by scoring an excellent century before declaring on 260-3, giving India the near impossible target of 310 in the final session and a half.

England’s task of getting ten wickets seemed beyond achievement. By tea, neither side were close to achieving their goals; India were on 49-2, and a draw looked likely.

The evening session gave England hope following two quick wickets shortly after the break and then another two fell later in the space of 15 minutes.

This last hurrah was not enough for England though, with the visitors failing to get the last four wickets and thus the game was drawn.

Both teams batted well throughout the five days making a win for either side difficult to accomplish.

Cook can be proud of his bowlers nearly clinching the win as well, something that would have given him confidence for the next test in the series.

27/11/2016

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