England vs India 2014 - Erring batsmen leave India battling to avoid follow-on | gocricket.com
 

Erring batsmen leave India battling to avoid follow-on

29 Jul 2014, 1516 hrs IST,  ,  gocricket.com  
Erring batsmen leave India battling to avoid follow-on
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Rohit Sharma's wicket minutes before the tea break tipped the scales firmly in England's favour.
A combination of disciplined English bowling and moments of brain fade from India's set batsmen put the hosts in the driver's seat at the end of the third day's play at the Ageas Bowl. The visitors ended the day on 323 for 8 with MS Dhoni the only unbeaten recognised batsman on 50, needing 47 more to avoid the follow-on and still 246 adrift of England's 569 for 7 declared.

With Ian Bell missing out most of the third day's play with a knock on his thumb, England are likely to enforce the follow-on should India be bowled out early on day four. But amid the heap of wickets, India's batsmen will look back on the day that would have helped them the most, but ended up losing their wickets after getting their eye in.

Where England's batsmen had combined to put together stands of 55, 108, 142, 106, India's highest of the day was 74 between Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, followed by 58 and 48. And on a day they were to counter the threat of England's pace quartet, Moeen Ali ran away with the honours with the wickets of Rahane and Rohit on either side of the tea break. Rohit's disastrous shot selection minutes before tea gave Moeen his first wicket as he chipped down the track and failed to clear Stuart Broad at mid off on 28.

Rahane passed his third fifty in Test cricket during India's most productive period with the bat but Rohit's wicket followed by the tea interval broke his rhythm. Moeen's half-tracker was innocuous, but as was Rahane's reply: a lazy attempt at a pull shot took the top edge of his bat on 52. Before the break, though, Rahane had grown in confidence; his back foot game was especially eye-catching against the seamers.

Rahane and Rohit weren't the only set batsmen during India's innings, though they couldn't blame anyone else but themselves for throwing their wickets away. Ravindra Jadeja's attractive cameo was ended by James Anderson on 31 for his third wicket, and after Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India's second-best batsman of the series, fell for 19 to become Stuart Broad's third, Dhoni continued to wage a lone battle by raising his 31st Test fifty.

Rahane's half-century had come in an important juncture as India went into tea at 214 for 5 despite losing the wicket of Virat Kohli early, but Rohit's wicket minutes before the break tipped the scales firmly in England's favour. India were still 355 runs adrift at that stage.

Having won all the six sessions on the previous two days, the second session on day three looked to be favouring the visitors after resuming on 108 for 3, but Kohli's wicket came against the run of play. The India No. 4 hasn't been among the big runs on this tour as yet, and looked set for one with the rub of the green also going his way when Alastair Cook put down a tough chance at first slip off Chris Jordan for 34. Five runs later, however, Anderson forced another edge and Kohli, rooted to the crease, could only manage another thick edge and Cook made no mistake.

While two England batsmen went on to score 150-plus scores to boost their total, seven of India's batsmen got starts but failed to convert. Besides Dhoni who was unbeaten at the end of the day, six batsmen passed 20 and four of them crossed 30. Both Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay drew on their vast reserves of patience, but both were dismissed while resorting to their strongest suits on the tour: leaving the ball.

England began chipping away at India's batting right from the third morning session. India, resuming overnight at 25 for 1 made steady progress, but after playing out the first hour without incident Broad broke through. Pujara, on 24, seemed to have done enough to sway away from the line of a Broad short ball, but it pitched and continued coming in with the seam, taking glove on the way to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler for his first dismissal.

Kohli's introduction brought some urgency to the scoring, and he, along with Vijay put on 32 in six and a half overs as the bowlers began to stray in their lines. But one moment of injudiciousness meant Vijay was late in withdrawing his bat, and a seemingly innocuous Broad delivery took the inside edge on the way to the stumps for 35, which opened the floodgates for England's bowlers.

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