India struggling to avoid innings defeat

Written by Associated Press | London | Updated: Aug 18 2014, 00:11am hrs
Joe Root's undefeated 149 and two early Indian wickets tightened England's grasp on the fifth test and overall series as the hosts went to lunch with a commanding lead of 329 runs at the Oval on Sunday.

India was 9-2 in its second innings at the interval after James Anderson trapped Murali Vijay lbw for 2 and Chris Woakes ran out Gautam Gambhir on 3 from mid-on.

Gambhir carelessly wandered from his crease as he contemplated a quick single, and Woakes ran in and ruined his stumps with a direct hit.

Rain started to fall as Gambhir headed back to the pavilion and lunch was taken 10 minutes early.

Resuming overnight on 385-7, England attacked from the start and scored 101 runs in 11.3 overs in the opening session. Root made his fifth test hundred by sending the ball for three between mid-on and midwicket off Ishant Sharma.

But Sharma struck with the next ball, as Chris Jordan edged behind to Mahendra Singh Dhoni for 20.

Jordan's dismissal brought Stuart Broad to the crease, who instantly forged an aggressive partnership with Root. The duo punished India with 63 off 41 balls for the ninth wicket, smashing India's bowlers all over the ground to the delight of the home crowd.

Broad even had Jacques Kallis' nine-year record for the fastest test-match 50 in his sights when he hooked Sharma for six and followed with a single to reach 35 from only 15 balls.

Kallis reached his half century from 24 deliveries against Zimbabwe in 2005 but Broad, who has a fractured nose after edging Varun Aaron's bouncer into his grille in the fourth test, could only increase his total by two.

After displaying early aggression against Sharma's short bowling, he understandably ducked out of some intimidating deliveries coming up at head height.

Sharma eventually avenged Broad hitting him for six when he got another brutal short ball gloved to Virat Kohli at third slip. Broad's 37 came from 21 balls.

Root thought he was out on 109 when he dragged Sharma's delivery onto his leg and into the stumps, but a television replay showed Sharma fractionally overstepped the line for a no ball.

Ravichandran Ashwin finally ended England's first innings, removing James Anderson lbw for 1. Replays showed the ball would have traveled down leg side but India does not agree with the use of technology for lbw referrals, so referrals are unavailable to both sides. Technology is allowed to check on no balls.

After lunch, Broad's bowling partner Anderson will have a record of his own in sight. His dismissal of Vijay leaves him five wickets short of overtaking Ian Botham's total of 383 as England's leading all-time leading test wicket taker.