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July 29, 2014
India 323 for 8 (Rahane 54, Dhoni 50*, Anderson 3-52, Broad 3-65) trail England 569 for 7 dec (Bell 167, Ballance 156, Cook 95, Buttler 85) by 246 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Highlights: England seamers peg India back
For almost two whole days India's bowlers had laboured on a surface that appeared docile. On the third, James Anderson showed them how it's done. He ran in with verve, hitting the pitch hard, swinging and seaming deliveries in both directions at pace, and whistling short balls past noses. And he did it right through the day - Anderson's first bouncer was as mean as his last. England kept dismissing batsmen after they were set and, frustratingly for India, before they could make their starts count.
Seven of India's top eight batsmen made it past 20. Five fell before 40 and Ajinkya Rahane threw it away on 54. There were six partnerships of more than 30, two over 50, but a highest of 74. While India's batsmen were consistently tested, the fact that most of them got in proved the conditions were far from unplayable. They will kick themselves for giving part-time offspinner Moeen Ali two wickets, and fervently hope MS Dhoni, unbeaten on 50, can bat deep into the fourth morning with the tail to try and prevent their 1-0 series lead from crumbling in Southampton.
That England were two wickets away from a defining first-innings lead was down to Anderson and Broad. Their speed made a world of difference, because the conditions overhead and underfoot remained largely the same. Anderson beat Cheteshwar Pujara first ball with his stock outswinger, and also knifed in inswingers with a startling degree of movement. There was serious heat on his bouncers too. One angled in sharply to the right-hander, reared up and seamed away, forcing M Vijay off his toes into a desperate fend. Chris Woakes was airtight at the other end, with figures of 7-5-10-0 in the first session.
Despite India being subjected to a stern examination, England were wicketless early on and the batsmen were scoring briskly. Broad brought results with a short ball against Pujara, who swayed out of the line but did not drop his wrists, underestimating the amount of jag into him. The ball grazed his gloves and gave Jos Buttler his first Test dismissal.
Chris Jordan offered India respite. There were five wides and two sumptuous drives - Virat Kohli past cover and Vijay through mid-off - in his first over. At his best, Jordan was economical, and he posed little threat. It remained that way.
Broad then struck the blow that won the morning decisively for England. He had Vijay beaten by an outswinger, and the batsman was indecisive when the next ball landed on a similar line and length. Vijay began to play and then tried to pull his bat away. Too late. Broad's delivery held its line and hit the stumps off the inside edge of Vijay's withdrawing bat.
India's situation could have worsened before lunch when Rahane, on 8, gloved Moeen's offbreak down the leg side to Buttler, but the umpire did not see it.
It was a different game after the break when Anderson and Broad weren't bowling. Rahane drove Moeen through covers, Kohli did the same to Woakes, who was not as economical as he had been earlier. While he treated Anderson with caution, Kohli slashed at Jordan's wide offering, edging it over the cordon. Rahane did not score off Anderson's first 18 balls to him.
Anderson's reward came late, but his prize was Kohli, who was half-forward as he half-pushed at an outswinger and edged to slip. He had left so many similar deliveries previously. India were 136 for 4 and Rohit Sharma started shakily, defending tentatively and seasoning the inside edge of his bat. One leading edge off Jordan, as Rohit tried to flick, nearly went to slip. Rahane, on the other hand, punched Jordan for successive fours, and pulled Woakes to the midwicket boundary.
The partnership was going well - it had grown to 74 - when Rohit decided to repeat his successful loft over mid-off against Moeen. This time he holed out to Broad and fell over his bat in disappointment. India had made 106 runs in the session, but Rohit falling with minutes to tea was a body blow.
The Indians saw worse early in the final session. With scoring opportunities scarce against the better bowlers, Rahane rightly tried to pull a long-hop from Moeen to the boundary. He top edged it, though, and watched it horror as midwicket settled under the catch. England's part-timer had thoroughly outbowled India's specialist spinner Ravindra Jadeja, the next man in.
He and Dhoni put on a feisty half-century partnership against the second new ball. Jadeja drove Broad for four and was dropped a few balls later, a tough chance to Joe Root at gully. He charged both Anderson and Broad and clubbed them down the ground, and was also beaten several times. Dhoni drove, played and missed, glanced and survived. Jadeja did not, struck plumb in front by a sharp inswinger from the relentless Anderson.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India's most consistent batsman this series, was scoreless for 16 balls, but when he began to get going he put Broad away three times in an over to the point boundary. Broad, however, had the final say, and with Bhuvneshwar caught at slip off the inside edge and pad, England had emphatically won their ninth consecutive session in this Test.
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