Two day before the 2nd test.
Mohali is one of the most beautiful grounds in India and being a home ground for the Punjabi's, it has the reputation of the fastest among all the other grounds in India..
The pitch at Mohali ground seems to help the fast bowlers for the first two days and then becomes a batting paradise. The best things about the Mohali pitch is its bounce. The ball carry well to the keeper, which means a good chance for the fast bowlers and also batsmen can play their stroke. The thing Indians will be interested in the amount of bounce that Anil Kumble can get of the Mohali Pitch. The pitch at Nagpur has the spin, but it was slow and the batsmen had the time to adjust to the spin, but at Mohali, we can expect some better competetion between the bat and the ball..
Read what Curator has to say about the pitch he has made at Mohali, for the 2nd test between India and England, starting 9th of March.
Here are the records of the previous matches that were played at Mohali ground.
One day before the 2nd test.
On 17th February, Pakistani Coach, and former England batsman had given some tips to target indian top order to the England team and win a test series in India. Woolmer, in his suggetions to his country said that if they England can manage to draw the first test at Nagpur and go to Mohali with the series score level - Mohali will provide them the best chance for winning. He also had some tips for Mumbai, which he said will be the toughest for the English team to avoid a loose.
Well, England did managed to draw the test at Nagpur and tomorrow the Mohali test starts. Indians are in some happy problem on whom to drop in order to include the inform batsmen - Yuvraj Singh. Some say it should be VVS Laxman, some want Mohammad Kiaf to go, but if you ask me, I'll say let Yuvraj wait for his turn.... don't make any changes from the Nagpur team. In 14 hours from now, we shall find out what the Captain decides!!
India made three changes in their team - Munaf Patel, Piyush Chawla and Yuvraj Singh came in place of Sreesanth, Mohammad Kaif and VVS Laxman.
The Mohali pitch is something unique as it had quite a bit of grass on one end and a typical Indian wicket look on the other. Seems like the Mohali curator has made something for both the teams...
England won the toss and obviously elected to bat first. But they made a over confident start. Both the openers - Strauss and Cook looked to take quick singles and also for boundaries, which ultimately costed them their wickets... Strauss got out trying to hit a wide ball from Pathan and Dhoni took a good low catch, and then Cook, who was so consious in his first test match at Nagpur - mainly because of his ability to leave the balls out side off stump.
But today he was looking to play everything with his bat, and Pathan foxed him by bowling five wide balls and then last one coming sharply end. Result - A plump LBW. At Lunch, England 52 for 2 wickets.
You watch closely when Kevin Pietersen is batting to find out that he talks a lot to himself. And most of the times, its not good words if you can interprete, but whatever, it works for him, and after a bad shot at Nagpur in the first innings, Pietersen seems a determined to make big score. He made 64 hard runs at Mohali today - trying to play everything on the mid wicket...
And then it was Munaf Patel. Lets get this straight - Munaf Patel is not as quick as VRV Singh, but seems a much better prospect than him in many ways. Between VRV Singh and Munaf Patel, I'll say the faster one is VRV but he lacks experience. He is a young man and pitches the ball very short while trying to get the batsmen on the back foot, but Munaf Patel, with a regular/average speed of 135 km/hr, has very good control over the ball. Its not like he can't bowl faster then that (Fastest ball today was 144.7 Km/hr by him), but its not his speciality. His Speciality is Yorkers. If you somehow can get the hightlights of Day 1 at Mohali, see how Munaf Patel nearly got through Paul Collingwood two times and once through Kevin Pietersen before Pietersen hit one back to him. Munaf was in great rhythm and had the bad light not come, we could have seen what Munaf is capable of. Fast bowling is not about speed, its about knowing what you can do with the ball and having the necessary assets for that. Munaf is capable of bowling great yorkers, and he is having enough pace to get through the defence of the batsmen. I good find for India.
With 50.3 overs bowled, the Mohali day 1 ended with England on 163 for four. And According to commentator - Javagal Srinath, India were ahead as 163 is just not enough on such a good batting track of Mohali. I'll say he is more or less right... whats your call..??
What is the weather forecast for Mohali, Chandigrah on 10th and 11th March?? Well, this question will be haunting every cricket fan right now, and let me tell you that it may not be good. India is experiencing some strange weather these days and Chandigrah and Pune seems the same. There was hardly any sunshine throughout the day, and forecast is very same for the next two days of the Mohali test.
But it may not be as bad as it sounds - weather may be gloomy but there's not much rain around. And after day 3, we can hope for some good cricket and possibly a result.. anything is possible in cricket!!
Day 3, day 4 and 5.
After loosing one whole day because of rain and bad light, England were in a confortable situation.. They had lost 4 wickets with 164 on board but then they started playing bad cricket.. or at least played the game into the hands of Indians as they made only 300 runs. See the score card of England's first innings.
Then when Indians came, they lost the early wicket of Sehwag and that made captain Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer play like they had in the Nagpur test. They blocked vertually everything and at that position, the test looked going no where but a draw. It was again left to Indian tail enders, who are batting like all rounders these days, to give India a lead of 38 runs in the end..See the Indian score card.
England started in a painful fashion. For the first time, they were looking like loosing the test and in the end, thats what happened. They lost their 10 wickets for just 181 runs, and thus gave an easy target of 144 for the Indians to chase... which the easily did. See the complete score card.