India on top after late strikes

Having dismissed the England openers before stumps, India will seek to drive home the advantage of bowling on a last day pitch with more than 300 runs to defend.


India celebrates after getting rid of England skipper Alastair Cook on the day's final ball.   -  AP

On a day when England showed fight and character, India inched closer to victory. Cricket on view was of the blood and guts variety. Paceman Stuart Broad took painkillers to bowl with a strained tendon on his right foot. In a brave display, he sent down eight incisive overs in succession.


Even as close catchers loomed, skipper Alastair Cook batted with fortitude and responsibility before falling in the last over on a gripping Sunday.

And young opener Haseeb Hameed, belying his 19 years of age, took a painful blow on his gloves from a Mohammed Shami lifter, received medical attention, and continued batting till the final phase of the day.

> Slideshow: Day Four in pictures

Chasing 405 for an unlikely win on a surface where low bounce was the biggest threat, England was 87 for two after batting resolutely for 59.2 overs on the fourth day of the second Test at the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Stadium.

> Read: Pujara warns tough final day for England

Earlier, India was dismissed for 204 in its second innings. Broad and leg-spinner Adil Rashid scalped four each. It remains to be seen whether a few cracks on the surface, with the sun beating down, open up on the final day. There is a rough, too, near the good length area outside the right-hander’s leg-stump.

Patient opening stand

India will seek to drive home the advantage of bowling on a last day pitch with more than 300 runs to defend but England has put itself in a situation from where a draw is not an impossible result.

> Stats from Day Four

The host was frustrated by the dogged 75-run stand for the opening wicket in 50.2 overs between Cook and Hameed.

After surviving pacey bursts from Shami and Umesh Yadav, the two batted with a mix of technical expertise and belief.

Cook (54, 188b, 4x4) was solid with his forward defensive stroke, went back if the length warranted, and played both Ashwin and Jadeja with conviction. He also shortened his back-lift, used both his feet and the crease, and kept his bat close to the pitch on this surface of uneven bounce.

Cook’s duel against Jadeja, when the left-arm spinner targeted the rough outside the southpaw’s off-stump, was largely won by the English captain. But then, the English captain erred in playing across to a Jadeja delivery that kept low in the final over of the day.

Hameed, who appears technically sound with a matching temperament, often stretched fully in defence. But then, he had little chance against a shooter from Ashwin.

Tensions ran high in the last half an hour of the day’s play and there was some chatter between the Indian close-in fielders and Joe Root. Kohli too got involved but an ugly situation was averted.

Extraordinary catch denies Kohli

In the morning, Kohli, missing a century-in-each-innings feat in his 50th Test, fell to an incredible catch from Ben Stokes. It was a pulsating moment when the Indian captain went hard at a leg-spinner from Rashid. And Stokes, diving full stretch and defying gravity, picked a sensational catch at slip.

> Broad: 'Learned bowling tricks from Zaheer'

It was an unforgettable vignette of anticipation, athleticism and safe hands from the flying Englishman.

Nevertheless, Kohli’s 81 (109b, 9x4) was an outstanding innings of both determination and sparkle on this track. England was sharp on the field and Broad impressed with his spell of 8-0-27-2. The lanky seamer’s high-arm action and flick of the wrist enabled him to extract surprising bounce.

Broad largely operated back-of-a-length and got the ball to seam around. Both Ajinkya Rahane and Ashwin were taken out by mean leg-cutters. Bowling cutters on a wearing pitch was a smart ploy. Broad also stuck to an off-stump line, which meant he was making the batsmen play.

The quicker-through-the-air Rashid, who trapped Wriddhiman Saha leg-before with a googly, operated with greater control in the second innings. India could have been dismissed earlier but for the 42-run last-wicket partnership between Jayant Yadav (27 not out) and Shami that took the total past 200. Jayant once again batted with maturity and correctness of methods while Shami produced some lusty blows.

After the drama of day four, an intriguing final day beckons.

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