Duo boost England's chances

Alastair Cook was amongst the runs again for England

Alastair Cook was amongst the runs again for England

First published in National Sport © by

Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen's unbroken century partnership put England in a position of great promise on day two of the second Test against India at the Wankhede Stadium.

Cook (87no) and Pietersen (62no) joined forces at a critical point in an intriguing contest, on this spinners' pitch, after England had lost two wickets for as many runs to Pragyan Ojha.

From 68 for two shortly before tea, in reply to 327 all out, they then saw out the day to the tune of 178 without further loss - and England's prospects of battling back here after their nine-wicket defeat in the first Test of four were significantly bolstered.

After Monty Panesar completed his five-wicket haul, and Graeme Swann finally shifted Cheteshwar Pujara (135), openers Cook and Nick Compton shared an encouraging stand of 66.

Cook was less crease-bound than in his heroic but vain 176 in Ahmedabad - and after the captain had twice hit Ojha over the top, once for six over long-on, Compton too was emboldened to use his feet against India's three-strong specialist spin attack.

It was only when slow left-armer Ojha returned for his second spell that Compton was undone, caught at slip off a full ball which turned enough to take the edge of his forward-defence.

Then Jonathan Trott went fatally back, as he has tended to on this tour, and was stone-dead lbw for his second duck in three Test innings in India.

Panesar and Swann had combined well in the morning, to take India's last four wickets for 61 runs.

By the time Swann had Pujara stumped half an hour before lunch, the near immovable India number three had batted for almost 18 hours without being dismissed in the series since first taking guard at the Sardar Patel Stadium last week.

He underpinned a total which had appeared highly unlikely when the hosts stumbled to 119 for five on Friday, and his stand of 111 with Ashwin (68) was a source of particular frustration for England.

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