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Other SportsIndia v England: Hosts on brink as tourists collapse again

India v England: Hosts on brink as tourists collapse again

India are on the brink of a series success against England after tearing through the tourists on Sunday, moving within 152 runs of victory in the fourth Test in Ranchi.

With Shoaib Bashir reducing India to 219 for seven by close of play on Saturday, England began day three with a golden opportunity to hit back after suffering successive defeats in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot.

Dhruv Jurel’s superb 90 steadied the ship for India, but England could still be content as Bashir and Tom Hartley finished the hosts off for 307, giving Ben Stokes’ team a first-innings lead of 46 runs.

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However, England capitulated after taking up the bat, with Ravichandran Ashwin scalping Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Joe Root to leave the tourists reeling at 65 for three.

England’s last seven wickets fell for just 35 runs as Ashwin completed his five-for, with India coming in to bat for the final half-hour requiring 192 runs to go 3-1 up in the series.

Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal ensured there was to be no late drama, trimming the target down to 152 and ensuring India will begin day four with all 10 wickets in hand. England, meanwhile, need a minor miracle to make the fifth Test in Himachal Pradesh a decider.

It may now seem like a long time ago, but England began Sunday looking for quick wickets to open up a commanding first-innings lead, though they were frustrated by Jurel.

Dropped by Ollie Robinson on 59, he ended up being India’s last man out for 90, Hartley denying him a maiden Test century with a beauty of a delivery to finish on figures of 3-68. Bashir, meanwhile, secured his five-for by bowling Akash Deep lbw.

Duckett (15) was aggressive from the off as England took up the bat, but it was a more cautious stroke that proved his undoing as he prodded Ashwin’s ball straight to Sarfaraz Khan at short leg.

From the very next delivery, England were in real trouble, with Pope walking for a golden duck – his second naught of the Test – when he failed to adjust to Ashwin’s wicked ball.

Root (11) came in and initially kept the India onslaught at bay, but his all-important wicket was gone within 12 overs, with India successfully reviewing after yet another Ashwin ball struck his pad ahead of leg stump.

Zak Crawley inched his way to 60 off 91 balls as England desperately tried to regain some momentum, but Kuldeep Yadav sent stumps flying to end his knock at a vital time, then the spinner bowled Stokes lbw for just four runs with the final ball before tea.

With Brendon McCullum’s gameplan in tatters, England were ultra-cautious in the evening session, but there was no stopping India as Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep continued their assault to reduce the tourists to 133-8.

Ben Foakes was limited to singles as England tried to hang on until day four, striking a defensive 17 off 76 deliveries, but he eventually handed a catch straight back to Ashwin, who then capped his super Sunday by bowling James Anderson for a duck.

On an unpredictable surface, Root and Hartley took up the ball chasing an early wicket, but none was forthcoming as Rohit and Jaiswal batted out the remaining overs for 40 runs with supreme calm, leaving India within touching distance of victory.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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