India vs England | Hameed and Cook put England in control

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India vs England | Hameed and Cook put England in control

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SportsCafe Desk


India lost 4 wickets for just 63 runs as the lower order crumbled ending the innings at 488 after Pujara and Vijay had put them in a great position at the end of Day 3. England's openers made sure that their team have a chance of putting India under the sword end the day with a lead of 163 runs.

Brief Scores: England 537(Ben Stokes 128, Joe Root 124; Ravindra Jadeja 3-86) & 114-0(Haseeb Hameed 62*, Alistair Cook 46*) lead India 488(Pujara 124, Vijay 126; Adil Rashid 4-114) by runs

Slow and steady game takes India to a comfortable position

Given England had struggled to face Bangladeshi spinners, and India had made fun of the oppositions on square turners, the Rajkot track was expected to aid the spinners with the progression of this Test match. But if the first three days of the game were anything to go by, the wicket was a batting paradise on all counts. But it was only on the day 4 that wicket started showing its damp nature when the English spinners began to extract some turn.

Resuming the day from 319/4, the onus was on Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane to take the team to a comfortable position, where they could think of a heist. England started the day with two pacers Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes operating from two ends, and the duo kept the batsmen at bay but failed to breach their solid defenses. Virat Kohli, who usually struggles with deliveries outside theoff stump in Test matches, managed to leave those to the wicket-keeper without any problem.

Just when everything seemed perfect, and the duo were trying to forge a good partnership, spinner Zafar Ansari struck for the visiting team by taking the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane, after going for a pull, checked the shot at the last moment, only to perish for 13.

Three overs after the dismissal of Virat Kohli, a careless error brought an end to Kohli’s innings when he rocked back in his batting crease to play the ball over mid-wicket, but ended up getting his foot over the stumps. Virat became the first Indian batsman, since VVS Laxman to be hit-wicket in Test cricket. England smelt a chance to take wrap up lower-order quickly after the dismissal of Kohli, but Ravichandran Ashwin partnering Wriddhiman Saha batted with a lot of composure to take the team to 411/6 before the lunch.

Lower order fails to contribute as India are bundled out for 488

Ashwin vindicated the talk surrounding him as an accomplished all-rounder by playing his game to perfection. He flicked, drove, and hit the ball out of the park, and he did that without giving too many chances to the English spinners to make him uncomfortable.

Failing to convert the starts to a big one again, Wriddhiman Saha, trying to late-cut a delivery which bounced awkwardly, gave a catch to the wicket keeper Jonny Bairstow. His 64-run association with Ashwin took India to a good position, though.

The dismissal of Saha had a little to do with the penchant of Ravichandran Ashwin as he rotated the strike and hit boundaries on a regular interval. He scored 70 runs before attempting a slog to Moeen Ali to get caught at the mid-wicket by Adil Rashid and that also ended India’s innings at 488, handing England an important 49-run lead.

Openers put England in control

England made their intentions clear pretty early on when Haseeb Hammed smashed Mohammed Shami for a boundary in the very first over of the second innings. India returned the favour by introducing spin the very next over in the form of Ravindra Jadeja. The English batsmen, however, looked prepared as they continued to score at a rate of over three runs an over to keep the scoreboard ticking. The introduction of Ashwin did not help the Indian team as well, as Hammed started to hit the best spinner in the game to all parts of the ground.

Hameed brought up his maiden fifty after surviving a review by Ashwin at 48, becoming the third youngest Englishman to achieve the feat. Cook too played his part ending the day with a score of 46 runs. England now have a lead of 163 runs and look the favorites to get a positive result from the Test.

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