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Broad makes mockery of Dhoni's decision

By Rob Barnett

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was made to regret opting to bat first as Stuart Broad's 6-25 skittled India for 152, which England replied to with 113 for three on day one at Emirates Old Trafford.

Although Alastair Cook said he would also have batted first, Dhoni's decision was soon questionable when his side slumped to eight for four.

Broad and James Anderson did the early damage via catches behind the wicket as the experienced pair exploited perfect conditions for swing bowling on a pitch offering pleasing pace and carry.

Dhoni attempted to rectify the situation, sharing fifty partnerships with Ajinkya Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin to avoid complete embarrassment.

However, Broad returned to wrap up the innings, making Dhoni his fifth wicket for 71 en route to figures of 13.4-6-25-6 - the Nottinghamshire paceman's third-best Test return.

Early in England's reply Sam Robson paid for shouldering arms to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who rattled the left-hander's off stump.

Cook looked comfortable for his 17 but top-edged a pull off Varun Aaron straight to deep backward square-leg.

Stuart Broad makes Cheteshwar Pujara his second victim as India slid to eight for four. They recovered to 152 all out thanks to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 71, but lead by just 39

Now glorious sunshine meant the best batting conditions of the day, which Gary Ballance and Ian Bell cashed in on.

They batted with typical resourcefulness and elegance respectively, sharing an alliance of 77 that ended in the day's last over when Aaron had Ballance lbw for 37.

Bell, who had greeted Ashwin with a glorious straight six, was unbeaten on 45 with nightwatchman Chris Jordan for company.

England were unchanged from their series-levelling win at the Ageas Bowl last week while India made three alterations. Top-order batsman Gautam Gambhir came in for Shikar Dhawan, spinner Ashwin replaced Rohit Sharma and Aaron took over from fellow seamer Mohammed Shami.

Following a start delayed by 30 minutes due to showers, Gambhir edged Broad to gully before Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli nicked Anderson to Cook at first slip.

When Cheteshwar Pujara found third slip off Broad India were four down in the sixth over with two expert bowlers in control, Anderson moving it both ways.

Although Anderson and Broad continued to threaten, Rahane and Dhoni resisted with a dogged stand of 54 until Jordan had the latter held at second slip on the brink of lunch.

Just after the interval Anderson produced an inswinger to trap Ravindra Jadeja in front, much to the delight of his home crowd relishing the rivalry of the duo in this series.

With batting conditions easing somewhat, Dhoni and Ashwin combined for a smooth alliance worth 66, the latter surviving on 25 when wicketkeeper Jos Buttler spilled a right-handed chance off Anderson.

That did not prove too costly as Broad had Aswhin caught on the hook for 40 from only 42 balls, just before Dhoni raised his fifty with an elegant cover-driven four off Chris Woakes.

Bhuveneashwar soon paid for leaving a Broad ball that came in to hit the top of off stump in the bowler's fourth wicket-maiden.

Broad's last two strikes came in four runless balls that ended the innings. Dhoni somehow toe-ended a pull to deep backward square-leg. Pankaj Singh then swung and missed to be the sixth duck of the innings and herald tea.

Match scorecard / Live ball-by-ball commentary

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Evening Session

7pm – STUMPS! Eng 113/3; Bell 45, Jordan 0 – Aaron completes a wicket-maiden but it has been England's day as they trail by just 39.

6.56pm - WICKET! Ballance lbw Aaron 37; Eng 113/3 - The seamer, coming round the wicket, traps the left-hander in front with a ball that would have hit off stump. That ends a stand of 77 and brings nightwatchman Chris Jordan to the middle.

6.52pm – Ashwin claims a return catch from Ballance's drive. The umpires refer but the ball clearly bounced in front of the sprawling spinner.

6.45pm – Ballance and Bell show caution in the closing overs with Aaron and Ashwin still bowling in tandem. Stumps should be at 7pm given the 30-minute delay at the start of the day.

6.23pm – Pankaj, without a wicket in his short Test career that started last week, has a close lbw shout against Bell turned down before the batsman sweetly straight-drives him for four. Bell soon cuts a loose Pankaj delivery for his seventh four.

6.16pm – Ballance finds consecutive fours off Pankaj, the latter an exquisite cover drive to herald a fifty partnership.

6.02pm – Ballance takes Pankaj for two more boundaries and Bell greets spinner Ravichandran Ashwin with a straight six, the first maximum of the innings.

5.54pm – Pankaj returns and Bell denies him a maiden over by cutting a loose ball to the boundary before twice pulling Aaron to make it three fours in as many personal deliveries.

5.39pm – Bell, who is finding his feet after a slightly shaky start, confidently pulls Bhuvneshwar, still bowling from the Pavilion End, for four. Ballance then drives Aaron past mid-on, moving England to 50 at drinks.

5.19pm – WICKET! Cook c Pankaj b Aaron 17; Eng 36/2 - Cook top-edges a pull off Varun Aaron, in his second over having replaced Pankaj who does not need to move at deep backward square-leg to hold on. Later in the over Ian Bell gets off the mark with a clipped four off his toes.

4.58pm – WICKET! Robson b Bhuvneshwar 6; Eng 21/1 - Robson pays for shouldering arms as Bhuvneshwar moves one back in to clip the top of off stump.

4.42pm – Robson is twice fortunate to survive in the same over when he edges Bhuvneshwar between the slips and gully for four before nicking just short of first slip. Pankaj then concedes four more down the ground to Cook.

4.22pm – We're back under way with Bhuvneshwar Kumar starting from the Pavilion End. He bowls a snorter to Sam Robson that the batsman has no chance of hitting. Alastair Cook then punches Pankaj Singh down the ground for four.

Afternoon Session

4.01pm – INDIA 152 ALL OUT & TEA!! WICKET! Pankaj b Broad 0 – Pankaj Singh swings and misses to record the sixth duck of the innings. Broad returns sublime figures of 13.4-6-25-6 to give England an ideal start to the game. How must Dhoni be feeling after winning the toss?

3.57pm – WICKET! Dhoni c Jordan b Broad 71; Ind 152/9 - Broad has a five-for but in unusual fashion as Dhoni toe-ends an attempted pull and the ball somehow flies to Jordan at deep backward square-leg. Broad has 5-25.

3.53pm – Dhoni gets three quick fours, hurrying India past 150. Two were from safe shots but the second was streakily edged over first slip off Jordan.

3.36pm – WICKET! Bhuvneshwar b Broad 0; Ind 137/8 - Bhuvneshwar Kumar pays for leaving a ball that comes in to hit the top of middle stump. That's the fifth duck of the innings, leaving Broad with fine figures of 4-19. Later in the over, Broad's fourth wicket-maiden, he has a confident lbw appeal against Varun Aaron turned down.

3.32pm – FIFTY! Dhoni (115b 11x4 0x6) – The right-hander elegantly cover-drives Woakes for four, taking him to a restorative half-century. He was on 49 for 28 minutes. Dhoni then smacks the same bowler past gully for four more.

3.26pm – WICKET! Aswhin c Robson b Broad 40; Ind 129/7 - During a quiet period of play Dhoni is stuck on 49 while Ashwin caresses Woakes for four through point only to then fall to Broad on the hook, Sam Robson coming in from deep square-leg to hold a smart chance. Ashwin's runs came smoothly, from just 42 balls, and dominated a stand of 66. Broad completes his third wicket-maiden of the day.

2.59pm – CHANCE! Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler cannot hold a right-handed chance off Anderson as Aswhin survives on 25. Dhoni then off-drives the returning Chris Woakes to the boundary, moving him to 47 and raising a valuable fifty partnership.

2.52pm – Stuart Broad replaces Jordan before Anderson squares Aswhin up and the batsman is lucky to get a four. Dhoni needs no luck as he powerfully pulls Broad to the rope and Ashwin's flick to leg for three takes India to three figures.

2.40pm – Ashwin enjoys some fortune as he top-edges Anderson for six without much control. The bowler then has a loud lbw shout turned down.

2.29pm – There is a flurry of fours as Dhoni punches and cuts Jordan through the gully region before Ravichandran Aswhin leg-glances Anderson.

2.17pm – WICKET! Jadeja lbw Anderson 0; Ind 63/6 - James Anderson partners Jordan and soon traps Ravindra Jadeja in front with an inswinger, prompting huge cheers from his home crowd given the rivalry between the two players in this series.

2.10pm – Play resumes with Chris Jordan bowling a maiden to Mahendra Singh Dhoni from the Pavilion End. During the interval Sky were showing highlights of the 1992 World Cup, including Wasim Akram's heroics against England in the final. Wasim, who is commentating on this series, enjoyed reliving that in the Emirates Old Trafford media dining area.

Morning Session

1.33pm – LUNCH! Ind 63/5; Dhoni 25, Jadeja 0 – Woakes ends a brilliant morning session for England with tight over, although India have done well to recover from eight for four.

1.24pm – WICKET! Rahane c Bell b Jordan 24; Ind 62/5 – Jordan breaks a stand worth 54 with lunch approaching as Rahane edges a regulation catch to Ian Bell at second slip during a wicket-maiden.

1.17pm – Rahane streakily edges Jordan past gully for four. Jordan and Woakes have had no luck with the ball today. In the next over the fifty partnership arrives.

1.04pm – Woakes replaces Anderson, whose spell yielded figures of 9-3-21-2, and Rahane off drives for his second four to move India past 50. That's an impressive recovery from these two batsmen.

12.55pm – The sun is shining bright, although the floodlights are still on, as Jordan takes over from Woakes. Lunch will be at 1.30pm given the delayed start.

12.41pm – Chris Woakes replaces Broad, who has figures of 6-4-8-2, and Dhoni flashes an edge over the slips for four. At the end of the over India are 14 for four from 14.

12.25pm – Anderson and Broad continue to cause havoc with the ball, with a couple of strong lbw shouts turned down.

12.12pm - The India skipper isn't looking entirely comfortable at the crease, wearing one on the arm already. Ajinkya Rahane is already looking in good touch however, with a drive down the ground which leaves the crowd purring.

11.56am – WICKET! Pujara c Jordan b Broad 0; Ind 8/4 - It's almost a mirror-image of what's gone before. Pujara pushes forward and the ball catches the outside edge, going through quickly to Chris Jordan at third slip. Jordan has good hands and despite a bit of a fumble he takes a tumbling catch. It's been a sensational start by the England duo, and it brings Mahendra Singh Dhoni to the crease.

11.52am – WICKET! Kohli c Cook b Anderson 0; Ind 8/3 - Anderson gets an identical wicket with another excellent delivery that Virat Kohli can only edge. Anderson and Broad are maximising perfect conditions for seam bowling and the three wickets have come in 10 balls for no runs. Anderson completes a double-wicket-maiden.

11.49am – WICKET! Vijay c Cook b Anderson 0; Ind 8/2 - After Broad completes a wicket-maiden to Chesteshwar Pujara, including a beauty that beat the right-hander and just went over middle stump, Vijay nicks a regulation chance to first slip that Alastair Cook gobbles up.

11.43am – WICKET! Gambhir c Root b Broad 4; Ind 8/1 - Following another threatening Anderson maiden to Vijay, Gambhir edges Broad to gully as England make an important early breakthrough.

11.39am – Gautam Gambhir gets two leg-side twos off Stuart Broad, who then has a four against his name when wicketkeeper Jos Buttler cannot hold what should have been a head-high take.

11.30am – ‘Jerusalem’ rings out as the players enter the fray. James Anderson, playing on his home ground, opens the bowling from the Media Centre End with a maiden to Murali Vijay.

Pre-Play News

11.20am – If you’re not familiar with all of India’s players, why not check out our profiles?

11.10am – Cook has just said he would have batted first, but he was not too disappointed that England will be bowling given the overcast conditions now featuring no sunshine.

11.02am – INDIA WIN THE TOSS AND BAT FIRST! England are unchanged from last week’s win at the Ageas Bowl. India make three alterations: top-order batsman Gautam Gambhir comes in for Shikhar Dhawan, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin replaces Rohit Sharma and Varun Aaron takes over from fellow seamer Mohammed Shami.

10.51am – The hover cover has just been removed from the wicket, meaning all the covers are off, and the inspection is taking place. What is more, sunshine has broken through the grey cloud.

10.40am – The covers on the square are coming off and both sets of players are about to start warming up on the outfield. The prospects of play are looking better.

10.20am – The rain has stopped and it’s looking brighter at Old Trafford but the toss has been delayed. To keep you entertained, here’s our latest podcast featuring Ian Bell and Cook.

10.05am – Unfortunately it is raining again, delaying the warm-ups and possibly the scheduled 11am start. While waiting for further news, why not see and read what Alastair Cook had to say yesterday?

9.50am – The netting barriers that the teams use for warm-ups are going up, suggesting that the players will soon limber up. The covers remain on the pitch, although seemingly as a precaution with no rain falling. 

9.45am – Hello and welcome to our live updates from Emirates Old Trafford on the opening day of the fourth Investec Test between England and India. The covers are on after a light shower but the forecast for today is generally fine.

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