Cricket: England face a long haul if they are to salvage a stalemate in the first Test, but remain confident they have the ability to do so.
The tourists replied badly to India’s 521 for eight declared today, losing three wickets in as many overs to the home spinners to close day two on a vulnerable 41 for three.
They may therefore need to bat for the vast majority of three days — eking all they can out of 17 wickets, unless they can take the follow-on out of the equation — to prevent India going 1-0 up with three to play.
Samit Patel will be one of those called upon to prove England’s mettle and after also bowling 31 overs on a pitch offering slow turn and low bounce, he sees no reason why the tourists cannot return in kind plenty of the runs scored by Cheteshwar Pujara (206no) and company at the Sardar Patel Stadium.
“We’ve got two world-class batsmen at the crease, Belly [Ian Bell] still to come, myself and Matty P [Matt Prior] — a lot of batting,” said Patel.
“There’s no question about how long we can bat. We’ve got the same potential of batting as India have — and we’ve got to keep believing that.”
He expects occupation to become easier against Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha once the ball in their hands takes some wear and tear.
“The ball’s harder, and I think it spins more when the ball’s harder,” he said.
“The telling time will be when the ball gets soft; then we can get in. Tomorrow, we hope we can show what we’re made out of.”
England have endured a chastening two days at the start of a tour they knew from the outset would be tough.
And India’s number three Pujara does not rate England’s chances of survival as highly as Patel.
“I think we can get them all out by tomorrow (evening) and obviously, we’d like to finish the match before five days if possible,” he said.