India v England, 4th Test, Day 3 Review

15 Dec

England fought back strongly in the final session to reduce India from 269/4 to 297/8 at stumps.  Virat Kohli and captain MS Dhoni had batted India out of a dangerous position, putting the hosts within 62 of taking a first innings lead before Swann struck, removing Kohli for an excellent 103.

Anderson celebrates removing Jadeja

Anderson celebrates removing Jadeja. Source: ESPNcricinfo

The tourists toiled in the field for two long sessions to no avail as the middle order stalwarts, who had both endured lean series thus far, put on 198 in nearly 85 overs, a tremendous effort.  However, their hard work was undone by continual tight bowling and the poor cricket from their team mates.

Dhoni and Kohli batted excellently, seeing off the sharp edge of the attack, and by grinding the bowlers they found they had more freedom and time to play their strokes.  Still, Kohli’s strike rate was just 34, a measure of how tough he found it.  Swann pinned him LBW from around the wicket, a ball that spun back in sharply, causing Kohli to misread the line.

With his captain, Virat Kohli put on a huge stand for India

With his captain, Virat Kohli put on a huge stand for India. Source: ESPNcricinfo

Jadeja joined his captain at the wicket in his debut test – a man who had been waiting to bat since the evening session of the second day.  He failed to convert his blistering form in the Ranji trophy (he has already got two scores of 300+ this season) into the Test arena, as he was caught in front by Anderson with a ball that shaped in a long way, adding him to his three wickets from the night before.

It was a nervous stay in the 90s for Dhoni, who was stranded there for over an hour before he suffered a much crueller fate – for he was run out on 99 by his counterpart, Cook.  Nipping for a quick single, he was caught agonisingly short, by a single frame on the TV replay.  For a man suffering criticism before this match, he will be devastated to have not got the three figures – but the fact is he has done the best he could have to get his team in a good position.

And there was just enough time in the day for England to get one more, the leggy Chawla being bowled by a beauty from Swann – one that turned just enough to clip the off pole.

India have Ashwin at the crease and the new batsman, most likely Sharma, who have to repeat previous heroics to salvage this situation, and their team, from a 3-1 home defeat.

Alex

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