MS Dhoni scored an unbeaten 50 © Getty Images
MS Dhoni scored an unbeaten 50 © Getty Images

By Shiamak Unwalla

Jul 29, 2014

India resumed the day at 25 for one. James Anderson kept asking questions of the batsmen, but Chris Woakes looked largely nonthreatening. The introduction of Broad proved incisive, as he came in hard and sharp, and eventually got rid of both overnight batsmen.

On a flat deck where very little help was on offer for the England pacers, Stuart Broad had steamed in in the morning session, and got rid of both overnight batsmen, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay. Pujara got a snorter from Broad, attempting to leave a short and wide ball only for it to follow the batsman and take his glove through to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. Vijay too was dismissed trying to leave; he left his leave too late and got an inside edge onto the stumps.

New men Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were looking secure against the probing English bowling, till Kohli once again poked at one to slip. He suffered another failure — his fifth of the series — when he poked at an innocuous delivery from James Anderson to Alastair Cook at slip. His knock of 39 was his highest of the series, and he looked very secure in the middle. His dismissal came against the run of play, once again exposing a perceived weakness with the ball seaming outside his off-stump.

It was then down to the Mumbai duo of Rahane and Rohit Sharma to bail the team out of trouble. The pair batted with confidence and positivity, scoring runs regularly and not getting bogged down by the position they found themselves in. But then Rohit committed his old sin: tried to play an expansive — and entirely unnecessary — shot only to find the fielder at mid-off.

At Tea, India were in trouble. At Stumps, they were on the verge of a follow-on. Their one ray of hope was Rahane, batting on an unbeaten 50. The ray of hope soon went the Rohit way; a top-edged pull found the fielder at square leg mere moments after resumption. Ravindra Jadeja then smashed a typically chance-filled 30 only to be dismissed LBW by — who else? — Anderson.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar came in and batted better than most of India’s top order. However, he too was dismissed, an inside edge carrying to Gary Ballance at slip. With just under 50 needed to avoid the follow-on, Dhoni — batting on an unbeaten 50 — will hold the key on Day Four.

Brief scores:

England 569 for 7 decl. (Alastair Cook 95, Gary Ballance 156, Ian Bell 167; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3 for 101, Ravindra Jadeja 2 for 153) lead India 323 for 8 (Ajinkya Rahane 54, MS Dhoni 50*; Stuart Broad 3 for 61, James Anderson 3 for 52, Moeen Ali 2 for 62) by 246 runs.

Full scorecard

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Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)