England captain Alastair Cook was run out for the first time in his first-class career but not before he had scored 190 to help his side build a big lead over India on day three of the third Test in Kolkata.
Half-centuries for Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen as well as a half-century stand between Matthew Prior and Graeme Swann handed England a 193-run lead at stumps.
Cook made 190 before a bizarre dismissal brought about his downfall. He was run out taking evasive action from a Virat Kohli throw which hit the stumps with his bat in the air.
Nevertheless, thanks to Trott's 87, Pietersen's 54 as well as counter-attacking knocks from Prior and Swann, England remained firmly in the driving seat.
bet365 now make England 4/7 favourites to win the match with the draw 6/4 and India available at 25/1.
England began the day on 216 for one with Cook and Trott at the crease. The pair carried on from where they had left off, even as Indian bowlers searched for any signs of wear and tear from the pitch.
There wasn’t much reverse swing from the ball, and they took the new ball just eight overs after it was available. It didn’t do any tricks for them as Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma toiled without reward, the latter without much consistency.
The one difference from day two for India was that their spinners were bowling a much tighter line and not giving away easy runs. Even so the batsmen didn’t really have to work hard as on this fast outfield, they just needed to find the gaps.
Cook and Trott didn’t score quickly enough though and went to lunch at 296 for one, adding just 80 runs in the first session. The other incident of note was Ishant Sharma dropping Cook again, this time a simple return catch put down to add to Cheteshwar Pujara's miss on day two when he had made just 17.
The run-rate improved just a tad in the second session as Trott found a few boundaries coming his way. England went past India’s now-seemingly paltry total as the Cook-Trott partnership crossed the 150-run mark.
Shortly thereafter, Pragyan Ojha found some sharp turn and bounce, enough to induce an edge off Trott and Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn’t make a mistake. Trott scored 87 runs off 223 balls, with 10 fours, his highest score of the tour yet, and put up 173 runs for the second wicket with Cook. This didn’t bring much respite for the Indians though as Kevin Pietersen walked in to bat next.
They went close a couple of times as Ojha and Yuvraj Singh bowled in tandem early on to the new batsman, but he soon settled down to play his shots. Just as the run-rate started climbing up, came Cook’s freak dismissal. He was backing up too far when Kohli flung a throw to the non-striker's end. Cook was caught in two minds whether to evade the incoming ball or ground his bat, and was run out in one of the weirdest ways possible; more so because he was batting on 190 at that time, his runs coming off 377 balls, with 23 fours and two sixes.
It gave India an opening and they were all over Ian Bell (5) whose poor run continued. Pietersen on the other end was knocking runs smoothly as he brought up another Test half-century.
Just when he was looking set for a bigger score, he was trapped in front by Ravichandran Ashwin. It was a quick wicket after Bell had been caught behind off Sharma and suddenly, at 420 for five, England’s last recognised pair of batsmen was at the crease. Samit Patel (33) was out caught by Sehwag at first slip after juggling the catch, giving Ojha his third wicket of the day.
Prior (40 not out) and Swann (21 not out) added some quick runs in the final hour as India again appeared to have lost interest in closing out the day with an advantage. The two were unbeaten at stumps, having added 56 runs in 13 overs, as England finished the day at 509 for six.
Ojha was the most successful bowler, returning three for 140, and that told a tale. Sharma (1-78) and Ashwin (1-183) were the other wicket-takers. Zaheer Khan went wicket-less with figures of 29-6-82-0.
India made 316 in their first innings, their key runs coming through half-centuries from Sachin Tendulkar (76), Gautam Gambhir (60) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (52).
"I experimented a lot yesterday and went for some runs, but I talked myself into not giving easy runs today. It worked a bit. We need to take some quick wickets tomorrow morning and I think our batsmen are good enough to score runs on this pitch."
Jonathan Trott on England’s plans: "This is a good Test wicket. It was flat for the batsmen the first two days and now it’s starting to do a bit. We need to get as far ahead as possible to put ourselves in the best position to win this match.
"There is a little uneven bounce on the pitch beginning to show. We won’t strategise around it, but we will adapt as the match progresses."
© Cricket World 2012
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.