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Late strikes propel England!

A last hour featuring four wickets helped England avoid an unwanted shut-out on Day Three of a finely-balanced final Test in Nagpur.


England players mull over their next move on Day Three of the fourth Test at Nagpur on Saturday. Pic/Prashant Bhoot.

The tourists had toiled for 75 wicketless overs as India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and centurion Virat Kohli closed them down with some ease, but both had gone by the time stumps was called, along with Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla, giving England a greater belief that they can now secure at least the draw they need to win the series.

That landscape switch came after Dhoni (99) and Kohli (103) had taken it upon themselves to radically alter the equation themselves. The fifth-wicket pair resumed on a highly-vulnerable 87, yet by stumps their stand of 198 had underpinned India’s 297 for eight in reply to 330 all out.

England simply got nowhere for all but the final hour of the day, on a dead pitch which has proved an aid to stagnant cricket from the outset. Until the first ball after evening drinks, their bowlers — last previously successful nine overs before the close on Friday — appeared destined to draw a blank for the entire day, for the first time since Australia’s Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh tormented the home attack at Trent Bridge 23 years ago.

Respite came at last when Graeme Swann had Kohli lbw pushing forward in defence — and among four late wickets for only 28 runs, Dhoni was run out by a direct hit from Cook at mid-off as he tried to scamper his 100th run off Anderson (four for 68) in the penultimate over before stumps.

— PA Sport

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