India Lose Dhawan After Wiping Out Deficit

For the first time in history, a Test match has seen two last-wicket pairs put on century partnerships. England started day four trailing by 105 with just one wicket remaining. When they lost that wicket in the fifth over after lunch, they were leading by 39, after Joe Root and James Anderson extended their partnership to 198, a Test record for the tenth wicket.

India wiped out the deficit before they lost Shikhar Dhawan with minutes to go for tea. Alastair Cook brought on Moeen Ali after just 11 overs, and Dhawan swept his second ball for four before coming down the track two balls later, meeting the ball on the full and driving it straight back into the bowler's hands.

England could have had India two down, but Matt Prior let off M Vijay when he edged an outswinger from James Anderson, pushing at the ball without moving his feet. The ball carried to Prior, but he was a little late in diving to his right and it sped narrowly wide of his gloves and ran away for four. Vijay was yet to open his account at that point.

Anderson, who made his maiden Test fifty, was on course to join Root on a three-figure score before he went after a full, wide ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and edged it to the wicketkeeper. It was Bhuvneshwar's fifth wicket, but it came much much later than he may have expected after he had taken England's eighth and ninth wickets yesterday evening. Root, who had hardly put a foot wrong since walking in early in yesterday's middle session, was unbeaten on 154.

In recent months, India have let a number of promising positions slip from their grasp in overseas Tests. Trent Bridge now joined Durban and Wellington. England had been on the mat yesterday afternoon, seven down and 255 behind. Their last three pairs had more than doubled their score.

The morning began with Root steering Bhuvneshwar to deep point and chastising himself for taking the single and exposing Anderson to the strike so early. He needn't have worried. England's No. 11 played out the rest of the over comfortably, and even whipped Bhuvneshwar from off stump past midwicket for four.

That first-ball single set the tone for India's tactics throughout the session. In their second Test against Sri Lanka, England had paid for their approach of giving Angelo Mathews the single and focusing all their attacking efforts on his lower-order partners. Now Root was on the receiving end of similar largesse from India.

He generally declined the singles early in the over, but the defensive fields did little to stop him from finding the boundary. He top-edged a slash off Ishant Sharma through where second slip might have been to move into the 90s. In the next over, against Mohammed Shami, he played two gorgeous cover drives, the first one through extra cover to go from 93 to 97, the second through cover point to go to 101.

There was nothing in the surface to trouble either batsman, but India missed a few half-chances to end the partnership. England were on 378, and Root on 92, when he pushed the ball to mid-on and took off for a single. He had given up any hope of making the non-striker's end safely but Mohammed Shami's throw was wide of the stumps.

Later, soon after England had passed 400, Anderson prodded the ball to point and set off, only for Root to send him back. A direct hit would have meant the end for Anderson, but Bhuvneshwar's throw was inaccurate.

In between, India's mostly ineffectual short-ball barrage to Anderson nearly earned a reward when he popped one low towards gully, where M Vijay dropped a difficult chance, diving to his right. India kept adding men to the cordon, and at one point they had a semicircle of fielders surrounding Anderson, waiting for him to fend one in the air.

That almost never happened, and he usually managed to keep the ball down. But when the chances came, he didn't hold himself back. An uppercut off Ishant took him past his previous highest Test score of 34. Three overs later, Anderson jumped down the pitch and clubbed the ball past the midwicket boundary to go from 47 to 51. It was the first time he had reached fifty in any form of cricket - his previous best was an unbeaten 49 made while opening the batting for Burnley against Todmorden 13 years ago.

Soon India's attack began to resemble something out of the Lancashire League, as India went through the motions in the mandatory extra half-hour, when they rested their fast bowlers and threw on first M Vijay, hoping he could winkle something out with his offbreaks, and then Stuart Binny, who sent down four overs to finally nudge his output for the innings into double figures. This surely wasn't what India would have wanted from their seam-bowling allrounder when they decided to give him a Test debut.

(Cricinfo)

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