IND v ENG, 4th Test, Day 4 Review: India stand close to a win
Published - Dec 11, 2016 6:34 am | Updated - Dec 11, 2016 12:00 pm
So far in the series, England had not come across a track which behaved absolutely in favour of spinners or say more in support of the Indian spinners. The wickets at Rajkot, Vizag and Mohali vastly differed from the Day four Wankhede wicket where England team lost 6 wickets in the last session.
Three match into the series and the tourists were yet to get a taste of a rank turner. But, now at the end of the Day four, they perhaps will have an idea of what it feels to bat on such wickets. The Indian spin trio fo Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav, as expected troubled England and made them struggle for survival, putting India just 4 wickets away from wrapping up the visitors.
At one stage, it seemed that India would perhaps win the match today itself, but Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow played solid knocks to help England stretch the till the last day. The match as well in favour of the home side. It would just a matter of time before the Indian spinner would restrict the opposite in the dusty track. A slight hope still remains for England as their best batsmen this year, Jonny Bairstow returned to the pavilion unbeaten. If he comes up with another rescuing knock, the Brits might fancy a chance of finishing the match as a draw.
England found no reprieve from Virat Kohli and his Wankhede master class continued to take the centre stage in the morning session on day four. The first session was all about Kohli. The Indian skipper utilised the first session to not only swell India’s lead to a commanding 179 runs but also reached his third double century this year.
All-rounder Jayant Yadav also cemented his reputation of being a reliable lower order batsman and added 62 runs to his overnight score of 30 to end just eight-run short of his maiden Test century. He also reaped praises for his stubbornly batting display which has resulted in a massive unbeaten 215 runs stand for the 8th wicket, the highest for India and the second highest in an India-England Test.
Kohli wasn’t done after becoming the first Indian captain in 35 years to make 500 runs or more in a series. He came in during a challenging situation with India, at that point, were 307 for 6 and 93 runs behind. But, Kohli loves challenges and what transpired next, we have been enjoying since day three. England bowlers kept trying but they were visibly battered. Cook’s bowlers looked tired and frustration was not hard to spot.
Fast bowlers James Anderson, Chris Woakes and Jake Ball stuck to their normal lines and often tried half tracker. Rashid tried changing the side going around the wicket to bowl on the rough but it was of no use. But, Kohli razor sharp focus was tough to break and in the 164th over, he flicked one on the leg side to midwicket to reach his milestone. Yadav was also fairly comfortable and took a cue from his skipper to continue bat with command showing no weakness.
England’s only chance perhaps came a couple of overs before Kohli’ double century off Andersons’ bowling. But, it was a fairly impossible opportunity to grab. Kohli pushed a fuller delivery from Anderson which almost carried to the bowler. But, the bowler was in no position despite trying to use his legs as the last resort.
Other than that, the session solely belonged to India. In the upcoming session, it remains to be seen if Kohli chases MS Dhoni’s record 227, the highest Test score by an Indian skipper or declares straightaway after Jayant Yadav reaches his well-deserved century keeping in mind to get a result.
India looks firmly in control of the match after they reduced England to 49/3 in the second innings. After putting up a massive 631 and gaining a potentially match winning 231 runs lead, fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja grabbed the key top-order wicket of opener Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings and Moeen Ali.
The entire day has so far completely belonged to India. After a sizzling opening session where skipper Kohli completed a double ton, Jayant Yadav walked in again and completed his much deserved century.
Yadav, who was eight runs short of the century at the time of lunch break, quickly reached his milestones before falling shortly thereafter. After the departure of hi most trusted partner in this match, Kohli switched to attack and overhauled MS Dhoni’s 224, the highest by any Indian Test skipper.
Kohli, unfortunately, also could not save his wicket for long and few over later was undone by Chris Woakes and walked back amid loud applaud and standing ovation from his team.
England openers Keaton Jennings, the centurion in the last innings, and Alastair Cook now had a stiff task at hands of kick-starting the process of leaping over India’s lead and set a competitive target. The challenge in front of them was the spin attack which was ready to make an impact.
Unfortunately, England could not start well and lost both their openers and No. three Moeen Ali in short succession to give away the edge to India before the final session. Jennings lost his wicket to Bhuvneshwar for a golden duck and Jadeja later took India closer to a winning the match on day four itself when he got rid of Cook and Ali in back to back overs from the pavilion end.
India yet again dominated England and inched closer to a win and taking an incontestable lead in the five-match series. After getting better of the top order in the previous session, India faced a bit of resilience from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.
The quick departures of Cook, Jennings and Ali saw England reeling at 49/3 at Tea. India fancied a chance to end the match right away in the last session which could have happened had Root and Bairstow not put up a counter-attacking stand of 92 runs for the fourth wicket.
The Indian bowling attack was made to work hard for a while as the duo denied them any success. Thanks to Root and Bairstow, England were able to narrow the deficit and stay in the contest. But after waiting for about 21 overs, India broke through with the wicket of Joe Root and gained a strong grip over the proceedings.
Root, after all the hard work, misjudged a turning delivery from Jayant Yadav and was trapped LBW. later, it seemed that England would escape without any more damage. But, Ravichandran Ashwin snapped two more crucial wickets of that of Ben Stokes and Jake Ball to put England back in trouble.
Stokes was once getting into the rhythm and was sitting comfortably on 18 before his attempt to sweep the ball in the 44th over went awry and end up as a catch to Murali Vijay. later, he added Ball to his tally in the last over of the day to force the umpire call stumps.
England: 385/8 ( Keaton Jennings 117; R Ashwin 6/112) & 182/6 (Joe Root 77, Jonny Bairstow 50*; R Ashwin 2/49)
India: 631 all out (Virat Kohli 235; Joe Root 2/31)