|Ground:||The Rose Bowl, Southampton|
|Scorecard:||England v India|
|Event:||India in England 2014|
By Andy Jalil at Ageas Bowl In association with INVESTEC
Southampton Any hope that India might have had of emerging unscathed from the third Test on which England have an inextricable grip, faded rapidly with the loss of early wickets in the final session. They go into the fifth day with just six wickets standing and trailing by a daunting 332 runs. With 418 being the highest successful fourth innings run chase in a Test, the target of 445 set by England would have seemed most discouraging to begin with.
Indias batsmen were unable to put up any resistance under the pressure applied by England from tight bowling and excellent fielding with sharp catches being held. Indias first wicket fell when Murali Vijay was needlessly run out in going for a quick single and three runs later it was 29 for two when Cheteshwar Pujara edged Moeen Ali to slip.
The third wicket stand of 51 in a little over an hour saw some resolve from India but that was ended by Joe Root who produced a big off spin to take the outside edge of Shikhar Dhawans bat. Nine runs later the fourth wicket fell on 89 with Ali striking again to have Virat Kohli caught behind.
Earlier, with just two first innings wickets remaining at the start of the fourth days play Indias first priority was to avoid the follow-on but that wasnt to be with James Anderson having both MS Dhoni and Mohammed Shami caught behind in his second and fourth overs to finish with impressive figures of five for 53. The India captain had not added to his overnight score of 50 and the innings folded on 330.
England decided not to enforce the follow-on, avoiding the prospect of having to bat on a wearing fifth day pitch. Instead the England captain decided to extend their substantial lead and would have been pleased with the outcome. He had already ended his lean patch with the bat with a first-innings 95 and the second time around he gladly filled his boots again with an unbeaten 70.
With intentions of going for quick runs and giving themselves enough time to bowl India out, England batsmen played attacking cricket after the first wicket had fallen on 22. Gary Ballance hit three fours in four balls early in his innings and Englands 50 was up on the board after an hour. India then made a double bowling change bringing on Rohit Sharma and Ravendra Jadeja.
Sharma was hit for six over long-off in his first over by Ballance and when he took his score to 36 he had faced just 37 balls. He was given out on the stroke of lunch on 38, caught off Jadeja, when replays showed he had not played the ball which was lobbed to short leg off his pad. Once again, as in the first innings, he was the victim of a bad umpiring decision.
After lunch, which was taken on 80 for two, Ian Bell hit 23 from 21 balls before being bowled around his legs by Jadeja. Joe Root came to the crease intent on playing a cameo innings. He soon hit Sharma for two fours in an over, the second of which brought up the 50 of his partnership with Cook from 49 balls. By then Cook had reached his 50 from 93 balls.
Root hit 4 fours in six balls to take his score to 47. He brought up his sixth Test half century with his eighth four from only 38 balls. Cook had gradually been picking up runs quite content to his partners in belligerent mood. Roots innings ended on 56 from only 41 balls when in attempting a sweep he was bowled by Jadeja who had taken three for 52. England declared at the fall of Roots wicket on 205 for four.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2014 Andy Jalil)