|Ground:||Old Trafford, Manchester|
|Scorecard:||England v India|
|Player:||GB James, MM Ali|
|Event:||India in England 2014|
DateLine: 9th August 2014
By Andy Jalil at Old Trafford In association with INVESTEC
Manchester – England have taken a 2-1 lead in the five-Test series after preying in predatory fashion on a bleakly inadequate batting performance by India who went down by an innings and 54 runs in the fourth Test within just three days. Having been dismissed in the first innings for just 152, India fared no better the second time around being prised out most disappointingly for an inept 161.
India began their second innings an hour into the second session having conceded a massive first innings lead of 215. With a major batting task that lay ahead of them they progressed well to 53 losing only Murali Vijay, leg before for 18. But then, after tea, the drama unfolded in a sensational 25-minute period which saw five wickets fall for 13 runs in just 29 balls.
On 53, Gautam Gambhir and Cheteshwar Pujara went for 18 and 17 respectively. Gambhir gloved behind a rising ball from Anderson on the leg side and Pujara was perhaps a shade unlucky to be given out lbw to Moeen Ali. Then on 61 Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli were dismissed. The former giving a return catch to Ali on 1 and Kohli, who has been in dreadful form in this series edged a ball from Anderson to second slip on 7.
After Ali had Ravindra Jadeja held at slip from a ball which turned away from the left hander, India were 66 for six. A stand of 39 between MS Dhoni and Ravichandaran Ashwin took the total to 105 when the India captain slogged a catch to mid-wicket off Ali giving the off spinner four for 13 in an inspired 37-ball spell. A suicidal second run saw Bhuvneshwar Kumar run out and the tourist were 133 for eight. Finally, the last two wickets fell in successive balls.
Earlier, any hope that India might have had of taking the four remaining wickets before England could substantially extend their overnight lead of 85, was soon dispelled by Joe Root and Jos Buttler who continued with their solid seventh wicket stand of 67 from the previous day. Root, on 48 overnight, brought up his seventh Test half century in the second over of the morning.
India took the second new ball as soon as it became available but it did little to curtail the strokeplay of the two batsmen. Buttler took his score to 38 pulling Pankaj Singh powerfully and they showed great understanding in running between the wickets. An all-run four by Root off Pankaj from a drive to mid-off brought up the hundred runs of their stand, taking his score to 63.
Buttler reached his second consecutive Test half century, from 108 balls, with a lovely cover drive off Kumar and followed it with another four with a cut in the same over. Root too hit two fours in an over, off Varun Kumar, the second of which a drive to cover took the England total to 300.
Buttler went on picking up runs. He took two fours in an over from Aaron, both were drives to extra cover which saw him to 63. Meanwhile he lost his partner Root, caught behind off his gloves to give Pankaj his long-awaited maiden Test wicket. Root’s 77 came from 161 balls in nearly two-and-three-quarter-hours and more importantly their 134-run stand had brought complete recovery to the England innings from 170 for six.
Greatly encouraged by his first Test wicket, Pankaj dismissed Buttler for 70 off 130 balls when he drove for a catch at mid-off. England were 325 for eight. Stuart Broad struck two consecutive sixes over deep square leg off Aaron and in going for a third big hit he edged the ball which got lodged in the grille of his helmet hitting him in the face, causing bleeding. He retired hurt with the England total on 338 and after a 29-run last wicket stand the England innings was wound up on 367.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2014 Andy Jalil)
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