Fourth Test: India’s task gets tougher, lose Vijay early

Manchester, Aug 9 :

India are up against it after they were reduced to 33 for one, still needing 182 runs to make England bat for a second time, at tea on day three of the fourth Test at Old Trafford here Saturday.

England posted a score of 367 for nine – with Stuart Broad retiring hurt – giving them a first innings lead of 215 runs.

cricketIndia’s task of saving the Test got even tougher when they lost opener Murali Vijay (18) early on in their second innings.

At tea, comeback man Gautam Gambhir (12) and Cheteshwar Pujara (3) were the two unbeaten batsmen at the crease.

England, though, will have to be wary of the fact that there is a fair chance of heavy showers in the next two days and their aim should be to attack the Indian batsmen and take as many wickets before stumps.

Riding on a 134-run seventh wicket partnership between Joe Root (77) and Jos Buttler (70), England reached 367 for nine, adding 42 more runs after the English pair had been dismissed just before lunch.

Broad and Chris Woakes (26 not out) tried to take on the Indian bowling to get runs quickly.

After smacking two consecutive sixes of Varun Aaron, Broad was left bleeding when the Indian pacer’s short pitched ball crept inside the helmet. The English fastman had to be taken to hospital.

Woakes combined with James Anderson (9) to string together a 29-run stand for the ninth wicket.

Earlier, England consolidated their grip over the match, reaching 325 for eight at lunch.

After heavy rain had halted England’s progress on day two, the hosts resumed on 237 for six and went about reinforcing their position in the Test.

England scored 88 runs off 26 overs in the session, averaging a little more than three runs per over.

Root and Buttler played without very many faults as the Indian pacers once again looked short on ideas.

With nine overs remaining for the new ball, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to start the day with Pankaj Singh and Ravindra Jadeja.

Root and Buttler were well settled by the time the red cherry was in the hands of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Barring a close lbw shout, the English batsmen easily negotiated the new ball.

Varun Aaron, who has had made a positive impact in the match taking three wickets, also failed to inspire his team.

The English duo added 67 runs in the morning session before Root became Pankaj Singh’s first Test victim.

It wasn’t the best of deliveries from the Indian pacer who took 69.2 overs to take his first wicket in Test cricket.

Pankaj Singh, who went wicketless in his debut Test at The Rose Bowl, got a short ball to nip back in. Root could have easily left the ball alone but managed to get a feather touch down the leg side, giving an easy catch to Dhoni behind the stumps.

It seemed that the hosts would go into the lunch break with just the one casualty but a slower delivery in the final over of the session from Pankaj Singh removed the dangerous Buttler to finally give some hope to the visitors.


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