England fought back post-lunch taking four Indian wickets even as Virat Kohli was approaching yet another hundred at tea on day three of the fourth Test here today.
England fought back post-lunch taking four Indian wickets even as Virat Kohli was approaching yet another hundred at tea on day three of the fourth Test here today. In-form captain Kohli was keeping India firmly in the hunt for the first innings lead with a typically robust 83 off 171 balls laced with nine fours.
India were 348 for six at the break and alongside Kohli was Ravindra Jadeja, unbeaten on 22 in 28 balls, with a six and two fours. The home teams needs another 53 runs to go past England’s 400 on a track offering sharp turn.
Murali Vijay, who had completed his hundred before lunch, was taken out for 136, his second ton of the series after the knock of 126 in the opening game at Rajkot.
Also dismissed in the session were Karun Nair (13), wicket keeper batsman Parthiv Patel (15) and Ravichandran Ashwin (0) to help England wrest back the initiative that seemed to have slipped out following the century stand between Vijay and Kohli.
Vijay, who was on 124 at lunch after commencing the day at 70, departed within 15 minutes after resumption of play by knocking back a full-toss from leggie Adil Rashid which the bowler grabbed on the second attempt.
His eighth Test hundred contained three sixes and ten fours and lasted 344 minutes and 282 balls and the breakthrough for the tourists was effected after he and Kohli had put on 116 in 134 minutes for the third wicket to take the score past the 250 mark.
The importance of his long vigil became evident after his departure as Nair was claimed by Moeen Ali and then Joe Root struck two blows in successive overs to trigger a mini collapse.
India, 262 or two, slumped to 307 for 6, by losing four wickets in 17 overs before Kohli and Jadeja held fort till tea with an unfinished partnership of 41 in 53 balls.
Nair was trapped leg before Moeen Ali from round the wicket, the Indians’ review call failing, before Root dismissed both Patel and Ashwin in the space of four balls in separate overs.
Patel was lured out for a drive by a flighted ball and caught behind while Ashwin’s firm flick was pouched brilliantly by lanky debutant short leg fielder Keaton Jennings.
Things could have been worse had Rashid not dropped Kohli off his own bowling in the next over when the Indian captain was 68 in a score of 315.
Had Kohli also departed, the Indian innings would have nosedived, but he survived the chance and was leading the hunt for the first innings lead with Jadeja who once stepped out and lofted Root for a six over the straight field.
In the first session, that yielded 101 runs, India were rocked by the second-ball dismissal of overnight not out batsman Cheteshwar Pujara without adding to his score of 47. Then Vijay became only the third Indian opening batsman to notch up a hundred at the Wankhede Stadium during his century partnership with Kohli to defy the England attack before lunch taken with the hosts on 247 for two.
When he reached the landmark with a single, Vijay joined the ranks of Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag to compile a hundred in 25 games at this venue and the first in 14 years after Sehwag’s 147 against the West Indies in October, 2002. Gavaskar’s 205 is the best of the list and he had scored four other tons at this, his home city venue, against other opponents.
Vijay’s was also the first triple figure knock by an Indian innings launcher at this ground that is known to afford good bounce since against the same opponents in nearly four decades.
Gavaskar’s 108 in February 1977 against the side led by Tony Greig was the last century by an Indian opener against England by an Indian opener.
But much before the 32-year-old reached the milestone he had lost Pujara after India had commenced 254 behind England’s total.
Pujara fell to the second ball of the morning from rookie pacer Jake Ball, shouldering arms to a ball that came in, and took his off stump.
The dismissal of the in-form no.3 batsman at his overnight score of 47 also brought to an end the second wicket partnership of 107 between Pujara and Vijay.
But England’s hopes of making further inroads were belied as captain Kohli, in imperious form in the series from the opening Test, simply dug in from the first ball and increased the tempo of scoring with a string of three fours to the point and third man region off Ball to force the tall pacer off the firing line.
With Vijay also looking out for runs especially against off spinner Moeen Ali who was smacked by the opener for a six over the straight field, the score scurried along at a fast clip.
Kohli also became the 14th Indian batsman, and the only one currently playing apart from Gautam Gambhir, to reach 4000 runs in his 52nd Test with a pull shot off Ben Stokes for four. He also completed 1000 runs in a calendar year in his 11th Test.
The duo had also in the meantime raised the 50-run stand for the wicket in a quick 73 balls at more than run-a-minute to help India cross 200 in the 66th over.
Vijay slowed down after entering the 90s – an area where he had come a cropper thrice in the past.
And finally he reached the landmark with a single off Moeen off the 231st ball he faced and it contained 3 sixes, all off spinners, and 8 fours and took him 285 minutes to compile.
England tried various tactics to break the partnership but to no avail before lunch.
Vijay was, in fact given out leg before, 12 minutes before lunch, while playing a defensive forward push off leggie Adil Rashid.
The decision was reviewed and he was reinstated as the ball had taken the inside edge before striking the pad. Vijay was on 116 in a team score of 238 for 2.