Captain cooks up heroic innings
11:38am Sunday 18th November 2012 in © Press Association 2014
Alastair Cook's historic tour de force century took England's brave struggle to save the first Test into an unexpected final day.
Cook (168 not out) became the only batsman to make a hundred in his first three Tests as captain, his previous successes as Andrew Strauss' deputy in Bangladesh two-and-a-half years ago before his permanent appointment for this four-match series.
England on Saturday conceded a first-innings deficit of 330 but Cook chipped away with an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 141 with Matt Prior (84no). Despite Cook's heroics, wickets began to fall at the other end on day four - twice in pairs, first for the addition of only four runs and then none when Umesh Yadav put himself on a hat-trick.
But in Prior, the captain finally found the lasting support he so badly needed and deserved as his near eight-and-a-half-hour triumph of technique and determination on a surface increasingly favouring spin underpinned a stumps total of 340 for five which sneaked England into a lead of 10.
Cook and Nick Compton's century opening stand continued on Sunday morning, until the debutant faltered for 37, he toppled over in defence against Zaheer Khan's left-arm inswing, and fell lbw.
Jonathan Trott then appeared to be getting himself in, after his first-innings duck, and could hardly be criticised for edging behind on the forward-defence when Pragyan Ojha turned one sharply from a perfect line and length.
Pietersen has long disputed he has a weakness to left-arm spin, but fell to that variety for the 25th time in his career when Ojha followed up Saturday's success against him. Pietersen got so far across to sweep that he was bowled round his legs by a delivery that took the off bail.
Ian Bell was under extreme pressure after his golden duck on day three but he confidently drove his second ball for four, and soon afterwards Cook completed his 181-ball century in more prosaic fashion with a push for two into the leg side off Yadav.
Bell went in early afternoon, the first of two lbws in two deliveries for Yadav - thanks to reverse swing, with a ball almost 80 overs old. Both Bell and then Samit Patel could have just as easily survived, each time the ball shaping in towards the outer limit of leg stump, with a suspicion of inside edge on the second occasion.
Cook and Prior's combined efforts may yet prove in vain, but acknowledgment is due already for taking this previously one-sided match much deeper than so many so knowingly predicted after England's initial haplessness.