Munaf burst sets up Indian win

A three-wicket burst from debutant Munaf Patel was the trigger for a hugely professional Indian clean-up job on the final day of the Second Test against India at Mohali.

England, resuming overnight on 112-5, needed their last two recognised batsmen – Andrew Flintoff and Geraint Jones – to stand firm for the best part of the morning session, if not into the afternoon. What they didn’t need was for Jones to chop his fourth ball of the day, rising from a length from Patel, down into his off stump and turn five wickets into six.

Liam Plunkett and Matthew Hoggard followed the England wicketkeeper back to the pavilion in quick succession, both perishing to Patel’s reverse swing. Plunkett was struck on the boot, fractionally outside the line of off stump, but was nevertheless given out by Darrell Hair – whilst Hoggard saw his off stump knocked back via the toes of his left foot.

With eight men down, England’s lead only stood at 101 – and it needed a dogged 42-run stand between Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff to dredge their side’s second innings towards a semblance of respectability. Flintoff had reached his second half-century of the Test by the time Harmison fell, Anil Kumble sliding the ball down his legside and past his sweep for Mahendra Dhoni to complete a smart stumping.

With only Monty Panesar remaining, Flintoff had little option but to chance his arm and open his shoulders. However, his first big shot only found Patel at deep backward square leg, Piyush Chawla had his first Test wicket, England were all out for 181, and India needed 144 to win.

It was a total that looked barely threatening, and despite Matthew Hoggard’s early strike – trapping Wasim Jaffer LBW – Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid proceeded to turn their target from a possible banana skin into cruise control. Dravid was spilled by Andrew Strauss at slip from Panesar, and Sehwag was fortunate to be reprieved when struck in front by Paul Collingwood. The opener then thumped a four and a six from successive balls, and the game was as good as done.

The Third Test of the series begins on Saturday in Mumbai, and with the track expected to suit spinners, England are once more facing an uphill struggle to claim anything from the series. For India, Piyush Chawla, who barely featured at Mohali, may stand aside for fit-again Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, whilst England are likely to jettison the disappointing Liam Plunkett for either Shaun Udal or Ian Blackwell.

England 300
Andrew Flintoff 70, Kevin Pietersen 64
Anil Kumble 5-76, Munaf Patel 3-72

India 338
Rahul Dravid 95, Irfan Pathan 52
Andrew Flintoff 4-96, Matthew Hoggard 2-55

England 181
Ian Bell 57, Andrew Flintoff 51
Munaf Patel 4-25, Anil Kumble 4-70

India 144-1
Virender Sehwag 76*, Rahul Dravid 42*
Matthew Hoggard 1-24

India won by 9 wickets

Cricket Web Player of the Match
Anil Kumble (India) – 9-146 and 32

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Neil Pickup