India v England, 4th Test, Nagpur, 4th day December 16, 2012

Trott, Bell edge England towards safety and series


England 330 and 161 for 3 (Trott 66*, Bell 24*) lead India 326 for 9 dec (Kohli 103, Dhoni 99, Anderson 4-81) by 165 runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Jonathan Trott helped settle a slightly nervy England as they closed in on a famous series victory in Nagpur, reaching the close of the fourth day with a lead of 165. He and Ian Bell added 67 for the fourth wicket after India had given themselves a glimmer by removing Kevin Pietersen shortly after tea with England's advantage still less than 100. Now England are a solid morning session away from their goal.

While India's bowlers did a respectable job on a pitch that refused to break up, their approach in the morning session had been bizarre as they plodded along for 13 overs adding just 29 runs before MS Dhoni finally declared with a narrow deficit. Batting so defensively did nothing but take time out of the game, a situation England were quite happy to go along with. Since India lost quick wickets yesterday evening their only hope has been third-innings panic, which has happened in the past when a draw is the favoured result.

When Pietersen fell, inexplicably shouldering arms at Ravindra Jadeja as Trott did in the first innings, England were tottering on 94 for 3 and Dhoni's hopes were far from dead. Due to the scoring rate of less than two an over - England did not break that barrier until the 62nd over - the lead had not been carried far away from India and the one batsman thought most likely to do that was the one walking back.

Trott, though, played a superb hand, timing the ball as well as anyone has managed on this docile surface. He was off the mark first ball with a sweep and regularly picked off deliveries through the leg side. There was also a curious route for one of his nine boundaries when the ball slipped out of Jadeja's hands, during his delivery, and lobbed towards the on side. As Trott was completely within his rights to do he skipped out and smashed the no-ball to the square-leg fence.

It was also an innings that created some spice in the match. On 43, Trott went to cut Ishant Sharma and India were convinced there was an edge but Kumar Dharmasena, who had earlier made a mistake in giving Alastair Cook caught behind, was unmoved.

Next ball Sharma followed through close to Trott, who responded by blowing a little kiss, and tensions began to grow. At the end of the over there were heated exchanges with the umpires involving Dhoni and Virat Kohli - a likely future India captain, who did not carry himself very well. Meanwhile, a few minutes later, Snickometer (which would not be part of DRS were it in use) did not register any sound.

Trott was unmoved and, in fact, probably motivated further. He went to 49 with an off-drive against Sharma, a rare shot on this slow pitch, and next ball had his half-century from 106 deliveries. India, however, were still festering. Towards the end of the day R Ashwin pulled out of a delivery and warned Trott for backing up too far. It belied the growing frustrations.

Bell provided solid support following the potentially vital loss of Pietersen. It was an important period for him after a lean series - he will need to continue on the final morning - and he collected runs calmly. There was one moment of fortune when he edged Ashwin through a vacant slip where two balls earlier Virender Sehwag had been stood. The fourth-wicket stand came at almost three an over, a largely unseen rate in this match.

The day brought a total of 190 runs, but midway through it did not appear even that total would be reached. After India's strange approach, Cook and Nick Compton put all their efforts into ensuring against early mishaps for England. Progress was at snail pace but, especially for Cook, there was too much at stake to suddenly try anything too flamboyant.

The first boundary of the day did not come until five minutes before lunch, when Compton edged Ashwin to third man, and Cook had reach 5 from 78 deliveries when he slotted away a cover drive.

For the second time in the match Cook was removed through an umpiring error from Dharmasena when he played forward to Ashwin and the ball spun past the outside edge. There was a strong appeal, and a noise, but replays confirmed that Cook's bat had struck the ground and he had missed the ball. It left Cook with a match tally off 14 off 121 balls but it did nothing to dilute the epic nature of his series, which ended with 562 runs.

Compton's solidity alongside Cook has been one of the major plusses to come out of this series. His defence had been firm throughout the afternoon session but in the final over before tea he was given lbw to Ojha. Replays suggested an inside edge but the ball was also caught in the gully so the presence of DRS would only have changed the mode of dismissal.

At that point it had been one of the more forgettable days of Test cricket in recent memory, but the final session was far more entertaining for a variety of reasons. There will be debate about how India handled themselves, but at least it showed the passion remained. That has not always seemed the case in this series. England, though, as they had done on Saturday, did not lose their cool and finished the day stronger. They are very close now.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2012, 0:03 GMT

    England won the series fair and square, despite all the handicaps. They were a far superior side in every area, at least in this series. Also, there were many passengers in the Indian side. England also had a few. But they replaced Samit fast, and Trott & Bell finally seem to raise their hands. And brought in Monty, soon after just One mistake of omission. A hell of a lot of credit should go to Captain Cook. Many give credit to Andy Flower & co who seem to strategize. But t is Cook's entry in the drivers seat, which made a BIG difference. Stating with getting KP back... to many other deeds... and most importantly through his own solid ( though low profile) performance.

  • David on December 16, 2012, 23:57 GMT

    There's only 2 outcomes here: either a draw or an England victory. India have shown NO URGENCY in their batting, and will be happy to draw, so a stop avoiding losing. So, England will win 2 - 1. Congrats. Sad to see Indian Test cricket like this. Time for MSD to go. At least with Kohli as captain, he looks more passionate...Sad Test series for India at home, and for SRT in probably his last Test series at home. Won't be sad to see him go, as he's only ever been interested in personal glories NOT for the team, unlike the legendary Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, who are both sadly missed!!

  • John on December 16, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    @The_bowlers_Holding - don't hold your breath on Indian fans doing a 360. The only Indian posters worth reading are CandidIndian and Nampally...they rest...less said about them the better.

  • Baskar on December 16, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    Disturbing trend with ESPN Cricinfo - Most writers (being English) are so pro-England, I can almost hear "God Save The Queen." Doesn't bode well for fans of all other countries who want to read fair and insightful reporting, not pandering to your favorite English player. Time for a truly balanced website for cricket is upon us.

  • David on December 16, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    You know the really sad thing here?

    This series is pretty close in spite of India being hobbled by terrible administrators who have allowed the team to age.

    Imagine how things would be going with decent administration allowing Duncan Fletcher to do his job properly, like he did in England.

    Sehwag would have been dropped long ago for chronic failure in the Second Innings. Tendulkar would have been forcibly retired after the World Cup. Zaheer Khan would have been given a severe fitness plan two years ago, and would be bowling at 145K for long spells.

    The team would have accepted DRS like everyone else. As a result, other players and spectators would enjoy playing India, rather than feeling pimped by their money-grubbing boards.

    India would control world cricket in a positive way, rather than as a neo-colonialist bully steamrollering everyone else into submission.

    But no. Very, very sad.

  • ian on December 16, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    @Balaji Kumar: you deserve many hearty & congratulatory pats on the back! You, and many others of like mind who express their genuine feelings in these posts are the true fans of Indian cricket & your sentiments strike a responsive chord in true fans across the world. We, genuine cricket lovers outside India, want cricket in India to be healthy; want it to be strong; we know & deeply appreciate the depth of your love for our game. India is 'our country' too in that respect. You have a population greater than that of all the other Test playing nations combined. You are therefore our flag-bearer on the world stage. That is why it's vital that the BCCI heed your heartfelt words. It's the strong & clear preception that your Board of Control has dragged our game into an unhealthy mire of disrespect, suspicion, enmity & discord. We hate it, as you do too. Of course DRS is right, of course the BCCI's obsession with power without responsibility is wrong. Who is going to get out the big broom?

  • Ranveerr on December 16, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    If Trott had every right to hit that no-ball from Jadeja to the boundary, then Ashwin had every right to run him out for backing up too far!! Remember, Trott also claimed a catch after picking the ball of the ground while fielding in the slips in one of the previous tests. This guy has no sporting spirit and wants to win by hook or by crook! Don't know why Ashwin did not run him out......should have served Trott a lesson by doing so!!

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2012, 22:34 GMT

    The histrionics following that bogus, orchestrated appeal by Dhoni & Ishant were symptomatic of a far deeper malaise in Indian cricket: one that's taken root in the past decade or so, & that centres around a sense of generic entitlement based squarely on the fact that India has become the financial powerhouse of world cricket. It's this sense of entitlement that's led directly to the BCCI's belief that it's acceptable to sabotage opposing teams' preparations by refusing them meaningful practice against spin, by its disgraceful non-deployment of DRS (safe in the knowledge that standing umpires, terrified of falling foul of the BCCI, will almost always favour India in marginal decisions), by openly endorsing doctored pitches & by attempting to gag the non-Indian media. No fair-minded person likes a bully or a cheat, which is why England's victory in this series has been so sweet; it's also why 95% of neutrals invariably support whichever team happens to be playing against India.

  • saint on December 16, 2012, 22:32 GMT

    No DRS is required for Sehwag and Tendulkar.

  • saint on December 16, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    Where is MSD who complained about English conditions last year?

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