Jonathan Trott ton takes England closer to historic series win over India

Jonathan Trott (right) stroked away any hopes MS Dhoni and the Indian team had of an early breakthrough on Day Five PTI

Nagpur: Dec 17, 2012

England inched closer to securing their first Test series victory on Indian soil in 28 years by reaching 240/3 in their second essay before lunch as the fourth and final Test dragged towards a tame draw in west India on Monday.

At lunch, the visitors had advanced from their overnight second innings score of 161 for 3 to take an overall lead of 244 over the home side. The English lead India 2-1.

Jonathan Trott was unconquered on 106, his eighth 100 in 38 Tests and first of the current series, after commencing the day at 66 while Ian Bell was not out on a fluent 61, his second half century in India.

Trott has played for five hours, faced 248 balls and hit 14 fours, while Bell has batted for 213 minutes, struck 10 fours in 160 balls and the duo has added 146 runs for the unfinished fourth wicket off 329 balls.

With only two more sessions left to bring down curtains on the rubber and the visiting team batsmen hardly troubled by the toothless Indian attack on a slow pitch, England were almost past the finish line to win their first series in India since the 1984-85 triumph by David Gower‘s men.

Incidentally, just like Alastair Cook and his men have done in this rubber, Gower’s outfit too rebounded after losing the opening Test. In the current rubber, England lost the Ahmedabad Test before bouncing back to square the series at Mumbai and then clinch an unassailable 2-1 lead at Kolkata in east India.

When play started on Monday morning, England stuck firmly to the task of batting India out of the game on the final day of the series and clinch the four-match rubber.

The visitors, in contrast to the run-crawl on Sunday, were a lot more positive in their approach with Ian Bell, in particular, playing some superb carpet drives and a glorious pull shot off Ishant Sharma on the wicket of low bounce.

He was the more aggressive partner Monday morning in his fourth-wicket century stand with the 31-year-old South Africa-born Trott that was raised when Bell off-drove R Ashwin fluently to the rope.

Trott, unbeaten on 66 last evening, was also intent in looking out for runs as the 100-run stand came up in 137 minutes and 220 balls before the 200 of the innings was reached 50 minutes into the day’s play in the 94th over.

The first hour of play produced 45 runs in 18 overs as the two batsmen looked absolutely at ease against all the home team bowlers.

Bell on-drove Ashwin to reach his 35th Test 50 in 177 minutes and 130 balls that included nine fluently hit fours and then crossed his previous best score in the country, 57, at Mohali six years ago.

Trott, who had survived a confident appeal from the Indians for a catch at the wicket off Ishant Sharma yesterday when on 43, sauntered to his 100 with an on-driven 13th four off Piyush Chawla. It came in 278 minutes and of 232 balls.

The tourists added 79 runs in 31 overs before lunch to virtually seal any chances of India securing a dramatic victory on the last day.

Senior India batsman Sachin Tendulkar was off the field in the second hour of play and Ashok Dinda fielded for him.

Brief Scores: England 330 & 240 for 3 (Jonathan Trott 106*, Ian Bell 61*; Ravindra Jadeja 1 for 36, P Ojha 1 for 53) lead India 326 for 9 dec. (Virat Kohli 103, MS Dhoni 99; James Anderson 4 for 81, Graeme Swann 3 for 76) by 244 runs

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