India 455 and 204 (Kohli 81, Broad 4-33, Rashid 4-82) lead England 255 (Stokes 70, Bairstow 53, Root 53, Ashwin 5-67) by 404 runs
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Adil Rashid had Virat Kohli caught at slip for 81 © Associated Press
Stuart Broad led England’s fight on the fourth morning in Visakhapatnam with a valiant eight-over spell of skilfully varied legcutters, while Adil Rashid picked off four wickets with his legspin, including the key scalp of Virat Kohli for 81. However, a spiky 10th-wicket stand of 42 in 9.4 overs between Jayant Yadav and Mohammed Shami carried India to a psychologically imposing lead of 404 on a pitch that had now begun to misbehave appreciably.
Still, England will take even the pyrrhic victories as they settle into the sort of mindset that they will need if they are to salvage this match and the series. In claiming seven wickets, irrespective of the match situation, this was still their session.
It began with India on 98 for 3, with Kohli ominously placed on 56 not out, and targeting his second century of an outstanding captain’s performance. But following on from his defiant opening gambit on the third afternoon, and buoyed by the confirmation that his foot injury is not as severe as he might have feared, Broad produced one of his most skilful spells of a stellar year, manipulating the old ball with cut and cross-seamers, and a variety of angles on the crease, to prise out two vital wickets, and come close to several more.
His first victim was Ajinkya Rahane, who was never allowed to settle in the course of his 26. Lined up by Broad’s angle into the toes and sharp jag away, he was beaten by some fierce lift on a good length, and spliced a looping edge to Alastair Cook at slip.
One over later, R Ashwin was given a brief reprieve when umpire Rod Tucker failed to spot a thick inside-edge as Broad jagged one back into his pads – the lbw verdict was over-turned by DRS. However, he had added just one more when Broad found his edge again – the outside one this time – for Jonny Bairstow to gather behind the stumps.
Rashid by now had replaced James Anderson at the opposite end, and picked up where he had left off in his previous spells of an encouraging all-round display. He was unafraid to toss the ball up, knowing that India would have to come after him if they wanted to press their innings on, and that gave his variations a chance to grip and bite.
Wriddhiman Saha fell to his first ball from Rashid, a well-disguised googly that would have been clipping leg stump, and though Ravindra Jadeja got hold of one mighty swing for six over long-on, even Kohli found Rashid’s sharp turn hard to dominate. An ambitious drive outside off took a thick and fast edge, whereupon Ben Stokes took off at slip to cling onto a photographer’s dream of a catch, high to his right in one hand.
Broad, who had come close to pinning Kohli lbw in his previous over, was then edged low through the slips for four by Jayant Vadav to signal the end of his stint, but Rashid was not yet done. Jadeja’s aggression proved his downfall as he picked out Moeen Ali at deep midwicket before Bairstow pulled off his most impressive take of the match to dismiss Umesh Yadav, a fast and high edge off another Rashid legbreak that all but lodged in his armpit.
However, Jayant, continuing his impressive all-round game, kept England waiting as lunch was delayed in pursuit of the 10th wicket. England’s frustrations were visible when Shami joined in the fun, hoisting Rashid for two towering sixes in his 19 from 22 balls. It took a change of bowling to end the fun, with Moeen striking with his first delivery to have Shami stumped with his toe on the crease.
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo