Alastair Cook recorded his 53rd Test fifty    AFP
Alastair Cook recorded his 53rd Test fifty AFP

India going into the final session of Day Four, were expected to run riot against England batsmen on a turning pitch. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja toiled hard, and were unluckily not to pick up wickets at will. Alastair Cook and Haseeb Hameed batted and crafted their way through most of the day to ensure England go to the final day with maximum wickets in the kitty. Jadeja right before the end of days play got the valued wicket to hype India’s changes on Day Five. England are 87 for 2, with Joe Root not-out on 5, with the team needing more 318 runs to win the second Test at Visakhapatnam, after the first Test at Rajkot ended in a draw. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 2nd Test at Visakhapatnam

England pair of Cook and Hameed continued to put bat to anything the Indian bowlers had to offer. Cook looked the more settled blocking everything as he has been through the motion many times before. Hameed on the other hand, looked frigidity against the fast bowlers. Hameed in particular was in trouble against Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.

Shami continued to use his pace to good effect, causing problem to both the batsmen. Umesh on the hand looked more menacing than usual. Umesh used the angle and the crease to his good effect against Hameed. Cook and Hameed brought up their 50-run stand after batting out 223 balls. Jadeja and Ashwin who bowled good in tandem were guilty of applying defensive tactic against the pair.

Jadeja was relying more on his fast in-dippers than drift and guile. Jadeja did managed to surprise Cook a few times, with the ball bouncing awkwardly which hit the rough. Ashwin on the other hand, kept the ball a bit full rather than inviting the batsmen to play the ball on the up. Haseeb was luckily to get a few boundaries off Ashwin throughout the covers.

Cook looked in a bit of trouble against Jadeja when a close leg-before call was given not-out by Kumar Dharamsena. Kohli decided to review which showed that the ball was hitting the stumps, which according to the change in law had to be plumb for the decision to be overturned. Cook was again saved by the ring, as the pair of DRS and Dharmasena was again into play. Ashwin got the ball to dip into the batsman, but hit on the pads, which as the replays suggested turned away just before the impact.

Ashwin finally got into the act, nabbing Hameed for a 144-ball 25. Hameed was getting to defensive, which he had a heavy price to pay. Ashwin got the ball to turn into the batsman, which kept really low and struck him on his pad. Hameed was unlucky not to reach his 150th mark in terms of numbers of ball faced. Cook and Hameed partnership of 75 off 302 balls was the third highest opening stand against Indian in fourth innings of a Test match. This was also the third longest opening stand by England in fourth innings behind Geoffery Boycott- John Edrich 464’s ball stay and Michael Atherton-Alec Stewart 350’s ball stay.

Cook notched up his 53rd Test half-century in 170th ball, that included four boundaries past the fence. Cook was soon joined by England’s most dependable No.3 Joe Root.

With just an over to go Jadeja struck on the very second ball getting the crucial wicket of Cook. Jadeja was continuously on the off-stump line, the ball spun back from the rough and took Cook’s pad. Cook played down the wrong line and was handed a rude shock. Cook opted for the review but did not go in his favor as the ball was clipping on the leg stump.

Earlier, India started Day Four with a mammoth lead of 298-run under their belt with skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in the middle. England would have hoped for quick wickets to stop India from going past 400-run mark. Stuart Broad became a thorn in India s run making chain. Broad nabbed up as many as 2-wickets in his 9 over long spell, to end up with figures of 4 for 33. India kept on losing wickets as Adil Rashid enacted a perfect foil to Broad getting 4-wickets of his own. India were bundled out 204, as Jayant Yadav remained not-out on 27*.

Brief scores:

India 455 (Cheteshwar Pujara 119, Virat Kohli 167; James Anderson 3 for 62, Moeen Ali 3 for 98) and 204 all-out ( Virat Kohli 81, Ajinkya Rahane 26; Stuart Broad 4 for 33) lead England 255 all-out (Joe Root 53, Ben Stokes 77 , Jonathan Bairstow 53; Ravichandran Ashwin 5 for 67) and 87 for 2 (Alastair Cook 54, Haseeb Hameed 25; Ravindra Jadeja 1 for 25) by 318 runs.