England crumble after Cook heroics

Alastair Cook was finally out for 176 on the final morning of the first Test

Alastair Cook was finally out for 176 on the final morning of the first Test

First published in National Sport News © by

Alastair Cook's heroic resistance ended at last as England's brave bid to save the first Test against India appeared over on the final morning at the Sardar Patel Stadium.

Cook (176) and Matt Prior (91) had given England hope where none previously existed after following on 330 runs behind two days ago.

But both were gone in the first hour, as Pragyan Ojha (four for 120) took his match haul to nine wickets in a lunchtime 406 all out, leaving India needing 77 for victory.

England's hugely-admirable sixth-wicket stand ended, after exactly four hours, in anti-climax when Prior laid back to hit a short ball but was undone by a lack of pace and looped a simple catch back to Ojha.

He had occupied 225 balls and given Cook priceless support, but still England needed more to prevent India completing a victory which most have thought surely theirs since the tourists were bowled out for just 191 on Saturday afternoon.

Even Cook could not quite provide it. It was fitting too that it should be Ojha who finally got him. After almost nine-and-a-half hours, India found a way past Cook when he went fatally back to his 374th ball - which turned and kept low to beat the left-hander's hurried defence and bowl him off his pad.

Stuart Broad poked back the second caught-and-bowled of the day, also off the back foot, to Umesh Yadav (three for 70).

But Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann ensured England were not quite done with yet, keeping India at bay for 35 more minutes. There was double disappointment for the tourists just before lunch, though.

First, Swann aimed a reverse-sweep at R Ashwin - who had replaced Ojha - and was bowled middle-stump; then Bresnan was last out, caught at cover off Zaheer Khan.

England had lost their last five wickets for only 66 runs today, and India's target of 77 ought not to extend the match into the last session.

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