Nagpur, Dec 13 — Kevin Pietersen led the way for England, playing an anchor’s innings on a flat and dry wicket as the visitors were 199/5 in 97 overs at the close of the first day’s play in the fourth and final cricket Test match against India at the VCA Stadium here Thursday.
At stumps, Matt Prior and debutant Joe Root were batting on 34 and 31, respectively, on a very slow day where England scored runs at a rate of 2.05 runs per over on a turning pitch.
Earlier, disaster struck England, who elected to bat, as pacer Ishant Sharma clicked for India in the morning session clinching both the openers.
Playing in his fourth Test, Nick Compton (3) poked a good length ball by Sharma that rose and the delivery went to wicketkeeper and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had to stoop low to take the catch on the second ball of the fifth over, giving the hosts their first success of the day.
In-form batsman and England skipper Alastair Cook (1) was rather unlucky to get out leg before wicket. On a delivery, angling away from the off-stump, the ball struck Cook’s pads to which Indians appealed and the finger was raised by Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharamsena.
Replays, however, showed that the ball was hitting him outside the line of the stumps.
From 16/2, Jonathan Trott (44) and Pietersen (73) struck a 86-run partnership to take England out from a spot of bother. Trott and Pietersen hit seven and 10 boundaries, respectively, in their innings before the former was bowled by another debutant Ravindra Jadeja in the 50th over.
Ian Bell (1) also fell soon after as he was lured into a drive by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and was caught at short cover by Virat Kohli.
Pietersen was the last wicket of the day after which Root and Prior held the innings together for the next 30 overs and scored another 60 runs.