England Close In On Series-Levelling Win
England 569-7 dec. & 205-4 dec. (Cook 70no) v
India 330 & 112-4 (Ali 2-33)
Third Test, The Ageas Bowl, day four
England reduced India to 112 for four at stumps on day four of the third Test at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton as they closed in on a series-levelling victory after another outstanding day's work.
Expert View - Farokh Engineer
Lycamobile ambassador Farokh is exclusively covering India's tour of England for Cricket World
After swiftly finishing off India's first innings in the morning session, they batted positively to set a target of 445.
James Anderson celebrated his birthday with a five-wicket haul as India were bowled out for 330 and half-centuries from Alastair Cook and Joe Root meant that when England declared, they had 132 overs left to bowl India out.
And by stumps, they had already taken four key wickets - two of them to Moeen Ali - to leave themselves with a huge chance of levelling the five-match series on the final day.
Murali Vijay (12) was run out, Shikhar Dhawan was caught by Chris Jordan off Root for 37 and Ali removed Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli for two and 28 respectively as England completed a perfect day on the South coast.
India's 1-0 lead in the series, courtesy of a draw at Trent Bridge and a 95-run win at Lord's, is now under severe threat.
While India would have liked to have taken the follow-on decision out of Alastair Cook's hands by batting on past 370, but they subsided quickly.
Anderson (5-53) had both MS Dhoni (50) and Mohammad Shami (5) caught by Jos Buttler behind the stumps, both failing to get bat and gloves respectively out of the way of short deliveries.
England decided to give their bowlers some rest and bat on, extending their lead of 239.
Sam Robson (13) fell to what is becoming a regular mode of dismissal, caught behind flashing outside off, before Cook anchored the innings to allow Gary Ballance (38), Ian Bell (23) and Root (56) to accelerate at the other end.
Ballance hit five fours and a six in 48 balls before for the second time in the game, he was given out caught having made no contact with the ball as it flicked off his pad to Pujara at short leg off Ravindra Jadeja.
Bell hit four fours, scoring 23 in 21 balls before he was bowled by Jadeja as England clicked through the gears against an Indian attack that had few answers.
Cook reached 50 and would go on to make 70 not out in 114 balls while Root played an innings of invention mixed with brutality, including powerful blows down the ground, reverse sweeps and one over the shoulder ramp shot that went away for four.
His 56 came in just 41 balls and when he was bowled by Jadeja looking to continue the assault, Cook called a halt to the innings at 205 for four, feeling he had more than enough runs to work with.
An early tea was taken, leaving India a little more than four sessions to bat.
After managing to resist the early threats posed by Anderson and Stuart Broad, Murali Vijay was run out by the latter for 12 as he and Dhawan found a bad time for their communication and understanding in the middle to break down.
Pujara had made just two in six balls when he edged Ali and a diving Jordan took a fine catch at slip and he was on and again to see off Dhawan when the left-hander edged Root, who had an outstanding day all round.
Then Virat Kohli's torrid series continued when he edged Ali to Buttler to reduce India to 89 for four.
And although Ajinkya Rahane (18 not out) and Rohit Sharma (6 not out) dug in towards the end to see their side through to stumps, it will take something extraordinary for them to avoid defeat on the final day.
© Cricket World 2014
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