Honours even on Day 1 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 14, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 14, 2012

Honours even on Day 1

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England superstar Kevin Pietersen pulls one on way to scoring 73 on the opening day of the fourth and final Test against India in Nagpur yesterday. PHOTO: CRICINFO

India bowlers let England off the hook and allowed the visitors to recover from a difficult position as they reached 199 for five at stumps on the opening day to leave the crucial fourth and final cricket Test evenly poised here on Thursday.
The home team had England in a real spot at 139 for five soon after tea but failed to seize the initiative as debutant Joe Root and the experienced Matt Prior batted for nearly 30 overs to add 60 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket stand.
The new-look Indian bowling attack had kept the high-flying England batsmen under tight leash and made them struggle for every run in the first two sessions before Prior, batting on 34, and Root, undefeated on 31, added valuable runs in the final hour.
Kevin Pietersen was the top-scorer for England with an innings of 73 while debutant Ravindra Jadeja got two wickets for 34 runs having bowled 25 overs.
England captain Alastair Cook won the toss for the first time and the visitors were rocked back by twin strikes within the first hour by Ishant Sharma, but recovered briefly to get past the 100-run mark.
However, they got bogged down by the loss of three more wickets -- two of which were claimed by 24-year-old debutant Jadeja and the other by comeback man Piyush Chawla, before staging their second recovery of the day through Root and Prior.
The sixth wicket pair, whose unfinished partnership has lasted five minutes under two hours, came together when Pietersen was dismissed by Jadeja trying to play towards mid-wicket as Pragyan Ojha took a low catch diving forward.
By close of play on the first day, the sixth wicket pair had ensured England ended the day on even keel. England scored 61, 72 and 66 runs in the three sessions. In the morning, Sharma packed off England's leading run-getter Cook and his opening parner Nick Compton cheaply to leave them gasping at 16 for 2 before Pietersen along with Jonathan Trott staged a recovery.
Compton nicked a slow rising delivery from Ishant to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps as England were reduced to three for one. It soon supplemented by Shane Watson's swing and spinner Nathan Lyon.
Recalled Phil Hughes will bat at number three with Watson at four while skipper Michael Clarke
and veteran Mike Hussey stay at five and six in
the first Test match since the retirement of Ricky Ponting.
Sri Lanka have played 10 Tests in Australia but have never won.
"We'll bank on our experience with our batting. To win a Test match it's important to put runs on the board, we just need
to score runs and give
our bowlers a chance to get 20 wickets," Jayawardene said.
TEAMS
SRI LANKA:
Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga, Chanaka Welegedara.
AUSTRALIA: David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (captain), Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, Mitchell
Starc, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon.

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