By BV Swagath
England look good at leveling the 5-match series 1-1 at Southampton on the final day with just another six wickets to take. India messed it up completely in the long evening session at The Rose Bowl losing its top four batsmen – three of them falling to part-time off-spinners and one of them getting run out!
India is now left with the pair of Ajinkya Rahane (18*) and the shaky Rohit Sharma (6*) with Dhoni, Jadeja and the bowlers to follow. The visitors got off to a fine start until Shikhar Dhawan’s wrong judgment of a single had Murali Vijay run out in the 12th over. Cheteshwar Pujara faced just the six balls before he nicked a straighter one from Moeen Ali to the diving Chris Jordan at slip.
Shikhar Dhawan has certainly played his last test for some time when he got out for 37, nicking a jumping off break from Joe Root. More disappointment was in store for the Indian fans as Virat Kohli too succumbed to Moeen Ali, tamely edging him to the keeper after scoring a promising 28.
Update at Tea on Day 4: England have declared their second innings without wasting much time. They consumed 40.4 overs to score 205 for 4 and declared their innings just before Tea. India have a daunting task of batting for 132 overs to save this match. Their target is quite unreachable at 445.
Alastair Cook helped himself to an unbeaten 70 from 114 balls while Joe Root smashed his way to 56 from just 41 balls. Ian Bell chipped in with 23 from 21 balls.
Update at Lunch on Day 4: England have decided not to enforce the follow on to give their fast bowlers enough rest on the penultimate day. The hosts are building towards a massive lead before they can declare their innings somewhere during the afternoon session.
At lunch on Day 4, England are 80 for 2 with Gary Ballance dismissed for 38 in the final over of the session. Alastair Cook is batting on 29 from 57 balls. The two wickets to go down was Sam Robson edging a bouncy outswinger from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ballance wrongly given caught bat pad off Jadeja. England going along at a run rate close to 4.00 have stretched their lead to 319.
Early on, it took just a little over 20 minutes for England to take the remaining two Indian wickets. MS Dhoni didn’t add a single run to his overnight score of 50 before he was caught behind gloving a pull off birthday boy James Anderson. The same bowler completed a 16th 5-wicket haul when he had Mohammed Shami fending off a bouncer to the keeper.
India were bowled out for 330 with their innings lasting 106.1 overs.