The Overview: Day four

India's bowling, Sehwag's start, a six-wicket collapse and Ashwin's resistance...get out pundits' view

Last Updated: 08/12/12 4:14pm

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Nasser and Beefy: Impressed with England and Ashwin

Nasser and Beefy: Impressed with England and Ashwin

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A record-breaking 190 from Alastair Cook and some quick scoring by England's middle order put the tourists on top in the third Test, ahead of play on day four.

At 509-6 England already had a lead of 193 and a great opportunity to kick on and secure a 2-1 lead in the series.

But how far ahead could they get? And, once India were back at the crease, what impact could England's attack have on their top order?

Before play got underway Nasser Hussain was delighted with England's position in the match and hoping, after a cameo of quick run-scoring by Graeme Swann and Matt Prior, Andy Flower's men would enjoy success with the ball later in the day.

NASSER HUSSAIN: "So far the three days have gone absolutely perfectly since the toss. England have positioned themselves brilliantly, they've got two hitters in now, with Swann and Prior, who are going to keep the run rate up and they'll have India batting at some stage after lunch on day four which is perfect because the pitch is showing signs of uneven bounce and spin.

"England have got a lot of time to bowl India out. They need to be positive with the bat and patient with the ball. It's not a pitch on which they can blast India away but there's enough there to say England can bowl India out for a second time."

However, any hopes Swann would be able to smash England further ahead with a demoralising innings during the morning session were soon over - the spinner edged the second ball of the day from Ojha to Sehwag at slip.

NASSER: That's a regulation slip chance and Sehwag has caught well in this Test match. Swann was being very positive, lobbed up nicely by Ojha and a lovely catch at slip - just what you want.

And Matt Prior soon followed, edging Khan behind, and England had lost their two overnight batsmen for the grand total of one run.

NASSER: It's always good to get Prior on the angle, tuck him up and in the end it was too close for the cut shot. And that's Dhoni's 200th catch.

England weren't quite finished though - James Anderson kept the scoreboard ticking by creaming Khan through the covers with a fine stroke.

BUMBLE:What a shot! Jimmy Anderson: Burnley Lara!

BOTHAM: Terrific shot - that really is a great shot! Brian Lara would be happy with that. Jimmy doesn't bother running, just stands there and admires it.

Inevitably that resistance didn't last long, though and after Anderson was caught at slip, Monty Panesar came and went first ball - although the Sussex spinner was furious to be given out lbw, clearly edging the ball onto his pads.

NASSER: That was a tail-enders decision but Monty didn't look amused walking off the field. Is he going to do a Devon Malcolm now, go out and get them. 'You guys are history' shouts Monty in the dressing room.

That was a very good half hour for India this morning. Just what they needed. Now they can get on with their batting. They'd spent 163 overs in the field before today in this match - but it took just 4.3 overs to bowl England out this morning. 14-4 England lost. They won't mind too much, though. They've got to get on with bowling anyway.

India made a good start to their reply with Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir guiding the hosts to 86-0 at lunch. Their efforts had reduced England's lead to 121 and, after Swann dropped Sehwag at slip, the pair made the tourists pay.

BEEFY:Terrific cricket from India, entertaining, good to watch. England have had a chance or two they've let slip. India have taken it on. They've been positive at the crease. Don't let anybody ever tell me this isn't the best form of cricket. This is Test cricket at its best. Magnificent stuff. In one form of the game it would be all over now and you'd have to wait and watch another innings! Not today.

ATHERS: A good session for India. England will have felt if they could have batted for one more session, another couple of hours, that would have snuffed any chance of India causing them problems at the back end of the game. But they haven't done that. They've given Sehwag a life and you don't want to do that. He can change the context of a game very quickly indeed.

We haven't seen anything from the pitch yet so it still looks like a good batting surface and India will feel a lot better at lunch than they did last night.

England are still in a good position and they need to hold their nerve. Things can change quickly if you pick up a wicket or two. They just need to hope they can chip away at India.

And England did just that. With the very first ball after lunch Swann produced a fine delivery to bowl Sehwag for 49.

BUMBLE: Oh! He's bowled him first ball! What have they had for their lunch?

NASSER: India didn't want the break but Sehwag's going to have another one now. He was just trying to push it for a single to get a fifty. Get one and you'll get two or three on here - and England have got the big man. Sehwag was dropped by Swann earlier but he's made up for it. Classic off-spinner's dismissal.

And just as Nasser predicted, a flurry of wickets followed - six in all between lunch and tea. Gambhir made his way to 40 before being caught behind as Pujara, Tendulkar, Yuvraj and Dhoni all came and went, barely troubling the scorers. India finished the session just 59 runs better off, still trailing England by 62 runs.

KNIGHT: India are up against it now. That was a terrible session for them. There was a bit of resistance at the end from Kohli and Ashwin, but in truth it was very much England's session. It was an outstanding effort because they would have been feeling the pressure after the first session. They have a reversing ball, they have a pitch that's turning a little too. England are poised.

And England's seemed set to wrap up a second straight four day win over their hosts when Finn struck twice to remove Kohli and Khan just a few overs into the evening session.

NASSER: England just two wickets away! England have really got this ball reversing now.

KNIGHT: England have only won once in India by an innings, that was in 1976.

However, any hopes England could repeat that feat were dashed by a determined Ashwin who amassed a fine 83 to frustrate the fielding team. He was ably supported for some time by Ishant Sharma who made 10 in 53 balls. Despite the quick eventually falling to Monty Panesar, Ojha stuck with Ashwin to the end of play and India succeeded in taking the game into a fifth day.

With a lead of just 31, though, there was no doubt in the Sky Sports panel England would secure victory on Sunday.

BUMBLE: Ashwin, well played that man. He's been terrific. He's shown what, with application, can be done. Possibly the best player throughout the series with the bat for India.

NASSER: He's tough and he's got something about him. If you apply yourself you've got a chance. It was still a good session for England, who took three wickets. They've chipped away, worked seriously hard and they are on the verge of an amazing victory. There's only one man who has stood between them and that victory - Ashwin. The day belongs to England, though. It started well for India but England, with their fitness and their talent, have come back well.

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