Jadeja, Ishant antagonise England
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja counterattacked with the bat before Ishant Sharma landed a couple of telling breakthroughs with the ball, as India assumed command on day four of the second Test against England at Lord's on Sunday.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja counterattacked with the bat before Ishant Sharma landed a couple of telling breakthroughs with the ball, as India assumed command on day four of the second Test at Lord's on Sunday.
Set a staunch target of 319 after Jadeja's quickfire half-century afforded the Indians a formidable second-innings total of 342 all out, England slipped to 105 for four – 214 runs adrift – at the close of play.
Resuming on 169 for four, the tourists were thorough in forcing a hefty lead. The hosts, meanwhile, were poor and ineffective with the second new ball. Rather than explore potential weaknesses on the front foot, short balls were the norm – and Jadeja and aspiring all-rounder Bhuvneshwar Kumar duly capitalised.
Combating a nasty blow to the hand and characteristic antagonism from fatt bowler James Anderson, Jadeja hooked and pulled aplenty en route to a brisk 68, which was laced with nine boundaries and spanned a mere 57 deliveries.
Kumar, meanwhile, welcomed a third half-century for the series. The pair shared a telling 99-run stand inside 17 overs, successfully negating the relatively early losses of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the inexperienced Stuart Binny. The latter was particularly culpable in holing out to spinner Moeen Ali with an awful slog against the turn.
The return of the New Zealand-born Ben Stokes eventually brought the home side success, with Jadeja, tail-ender Mohammed Shami and Kumar. Shami, though, will contest there was no edge amid a very questionable caught-behind decision.
The spotlight soon turned to England's top order, tasked with facing a session and half – and more importantly warding off major alarm. They didn't succeed, with opener Sam Robson, captain Alastair Cook, first-innings centurion Gary Ballance and the flummoxed Ian Bell instead perishing.
Robson was arguably incorrectly adjudged lbw, while Ballance and Cook were snared by Dhoni behind the wickets. Bell was caught entirely off guard by Sharma's sharp seam movement, although the ball did keep marginally low.
England's situation threatened to worsen, too, but umpire Kumar Dharmasena insisted Ali was not out lbw despite various television replays begging to differ. The left-hander was also dropped by Dhoni during Sunday's closing throes.
Ali and Root will resume on 15 not out and 14 not out respectively, in conditions that will continue balance a superb contest between bat and ball – unlike the docile pitch encountered at Trent Bridge in Nottingham for the series opener.
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