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Thu Apr 24 05:51:37 SAST 2014

England bag late scalps to end defiance

TEAMtalk Media | 15 December, 2012 14:230 Comments
Virat Kohli of India
Image by: Morne de Klerk / Getty Images

After batting so valiantly for most of day three in Nagpur, India lost both centurion Virat Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni before stumps to sit on 297 for eight, still 33 runs behind England's score.

The pair had batted for most of the day in a slow-ish and determined manner, edging past the follow-on score and then closer towards the target, but Graeme Swann had the last say in the evening and got rid of Kohli for 103 before Dhoni was run out on 99.

India went from four wickets down overnight to eight wickets down at stumps, all four of those falling after tea as the deck finally began to give Swann and Monty Panesar some turn. Dhoni's dismissal had nothing to do with the track though, as he was millimeters short when Alastair Cook's direct hit struck.

India began the day on 87 for four and reached lunch without adding very many to that, only 56 runs, sitting on 146. Kohli was edging closer to his half century, making 46 off 155 balls, while Dhoni puttered alongside him, on 31 off 103.

There were 32 overs bowled before lunch a large number of them maidens. England's bowlers could not find a way through the Indian defence, and while it was a slow and relatively boring morning for the fans, it was crucial for the hosts as they look to level the series on a tricky wicket.

The afternoon session was far more entertaining, as both batsmen tries to loosen the shackled placed upon them earlier in the day. Dhoni was particularly aggressive, celebrating the arrival of the 200 by hitting Swann for a massive six.

The bowlers were seemingly out of ideas, and even the arrival of the new ball did nothing to break the stand. In fact, the first delivery with the new cherry was smartly cut for four by the skipper.

Kohli faced significantly more deliveries than his captain, but started to look more flowing as the day progressed, pulling out a number of cover drives to dazzle the crowd. He was on 77 at tea, while Dhoni sat just behind on 75.

Kohli's century, using the most balls he's ever faced in an innings, came off 295 deliveries and included only 11 boundaries from the usually flashy batsman. The knock could be classed as one of his best, especially as he'd yet to score as much as a fifty in the series.

Once he was out, stuck in front of leg stump by Swann, Dhoni was left to fend for himself. Debutant Ravindra Jadeja could only make two before James Anderson trapped him in front, leaving Ravi Ashwin to bat with the skipper.

Dhoni was stuck in the 90s for ages, adding single by single until he was on 99. The crowd was roaring his name and the pressure finally told, as he failed to make his ground on a risky single with the score on 295.

Ashwin was then joined by Piyush Chawla to see if they could crack the 300, but the latter's wicket was the one that enforced the close of play, as Swann ripped it off the deck and bowled him clean.

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England bag late scalps to end defiance

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