England lifted by double strike

Steven Finn's accuracy from the boundary broke India's opening partnership

Monty Panesar continued his good form with a wicket on the opening morning

First published in National Sport News © by

England have picked up two precious wickets on the first morning of the third Test against India at Eden Gardens.

Their successes came in contrasting circumstances, Virender Sehwag's departure courtesy chiefly of boundary fielder Steven Finn and Cheteshwar Pujara then out-thought by Monty Panesar.

Gautam Gambhir (50no) made his second successive half-century, however, in a lunchtime total of 90 for two.

It was not as an 'x-factor' bowler, as had been hoped by England's management, that fit-again seamer Finn first intervened after replacing out-of-form vice-captain Stuart Broad for this match. Instead, his accurate throw saw off Sehwag after a mix-up over a third run with Gambhir.

The signs were soon ominous for England, after Alastair Cook lost his third successive toss of the series at a ground where India have declared with more than 600 on the board in the first innings of their last three Tests.

Cook's opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni had predicted a modicum of help for the pace bowlers in the first hour, and so it proved as James Anderson and Finn both found a little swing and acceptable carry. It came to nothing, though, as Gambhir and Sehwag approached a half-century stand - until their running between the wickets failed them.

Sehwag clipped the first ball of the 11th over to midwicket. But Samit Patel saved the boundary, and Finn's race from mid-on paid off handsomely when he threw in over the stumps to comfortably run out Sehwag. It was hardly the way England might have envisaged taking the first wicket, but proved the value of all their attention to detail and painstaking training.

Panesar's second breakthrough came in more conventional, indeed classical, fashion. He had worked hard to draw Pujara forward several times, and then surprised him on the back foot with an arm ball which snaked through the defence to hit middle-stump.

Gambhir, joined by Sachin Tendulkar to the obligatory raucous crowd reception at this cavernous stadium, appeared unperturbed by a failure from India's prolific new number three.

The left-handed opener had hit 10 fours and duly completed his 81-ball half-century with a scampered single.

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