Murali Vijay is unbeaten on 19 © Getty Images
By Abhijit Banare
Jul 12, 2014
India went in to tea at 57 for one with a lead of 18 runs on Day Four of the first Test against England on Saturday. India finally managed to get the last England wicket dismissing James Anderson for 81. The last pair added 198 and took the team to 496 with a lead of 39. In response India started off fluently until Shikhar Dhawan threw his wicket away against Moeen Ali.
After being frustrated and humiliated by the 10th-wicket partnership, India had the tricky task to not let the long duration in the field affect their batting. Given the nature of the wicket, the task was much easier.
India would be least interested to look back and see what happened on the fourth morning. With a lead of 105 and ending the innings conceding a 39-run lead is the last thing they would’ve dreamed of. James Anderson and Joe Root pummeled the Indian bowling as runs kept leaking on both sides of the wicket. The flat deck coupled with the application shown by Anderson ensured that India had to fight it out for the last wicket.
With all kinds of records broken in the first session with the most noticeable being the highest 10th-wicket stand, England piled on a few more before Anderson fell for 81. The Indians looked so jaded and frustrated on the field that a regular caught-behind appeal turned in to an outlet for Ishant Sharma’s anger. Root tried to cut at a wide delivery and the ball beat his outside edge. Replays showed there was a yawning gap between bat and ball but Indians wanted to somehow finish this off and walk away.
England looked all set to pile on more misery but the most awaited landmark was a triple-figure for Anderson. Given a long practice session against short balls earlier in the day, Anderson looked in fluent touch. The elusive wicket finally arrived when Anderson went for a drive and the outside edge flew to Dhawan at slip. The partnership finally ended at 198 and they had pocketed a slender lead of 39.
There were some nervous moments for the openers against new ball but once hey settled in, it was business as usual. England could’ve have had an early breakthrough had Matt Prior had held on to a low regulation catch off Broad’s bowling. Dhawan looked in sublime touch standing firm and piercing the off-side at ease. Vijay on the other end to hit some booming cover drives from the middle of the bat. Dhawan threw away his wicket in the greed for quick runs just before tea. Trying to hammer Moeen Ali, Dhawan ended hitting a juicy full-toss straight back at the bowler after scoring 29.
It was a short second session as the lunch was delayed by 30 minutes as the last pair of batsmen were batting for England. If there’s anyone who can win this match, it has to be England. This looks more or less heading towards a draw unless India concede their wickets in the last session. Dhawan has already committed one error and if there aren’t anymore errors to come, Vijay can aim for another ton at least.
India 457 (Murali Vijay 146, MS Dhoni 82, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 58, Mohammed Shami 51*; James Anderson 3 for 123, Stuart Broad 2 for 53) & 57 for 1 (Shikhar Dhawan 29; Moeen Ali 1 for 12) lead England 496 for 9 (Sam Robson 59, Gary Ballance 71, Joe Root 154*, James Anderson 81; Ishant Sharma 3 for 150, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 5 for 82) by 18 runs.
Catch all the coverage of the India vs England series
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)