Day 4 : England vs India 1st Test – London – Video Highlights
England need nine wickets on final dayIndia 286 and 80 for 1 (Dravid 34*, Laxman 32*, Broad 1-12) need 378 to beat England 474 for 8 dec and 269 for 6 dec (Prior 103*, Broad 74*, Ishant 4-59)
Day 4 : England vs India 1st Test – London – Video Highlights Online.
Ruthless England came down hard on wounded and battered India, first through Matt Prior's century and then through a probing 27 overs, to end up needing nine wickets on the final day. India, though, had fingernails dug in at the edge of the cliff. Forced to bat at Nos 2 and 3 respectively, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were made to look ungainly, but they batted out 131 deliveries between them in the final session of the fourth day. Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar were not available to bat in their usual positions because of injury and illness respectively.
Those tuned into the match would have known that the real game on the fourth day would begin some time in the final session, when England - effectively 193 for 0 at the start of the day - would declare to leave India four sessions to bat, give or take. The journey to that point proved fascinating though. Ishant Sharma, a rhythm bowler, found his groove against a surprisingly circumspect batting line-up, reducing England to 62 for 5 and incredibly bringing an Indian win into the faint edge of the frame.
Prior and Stuart Broad then introduced India to reality, all but ruling out their chances of winning with a 162-run seventh-wicket stand. Prior summed up the England team's attitude when he began attacking, scoring a century at a strike-rate of 85.83, although defensive fields meant he hit only five fours and a six. And Broad could do no wrong. After his unbeaten half-century, he took a wicket in the first over of a spell for the third time in this match, removing Abhinav Mukund, who once again looked solid before he sighted Broad.
Until Prior and Broad counterattacked, India did decently in the absence of the injured Zaheer Khan. It helped that England were in their shell at the start of the day even though the ball hardly swung then. During that period Praveen Kumar dismissed Alastair Cook for a rare single-digit score, and Andrew Strauss fell to his second ordinary sweep off Harbhajan Singh.
The next hour belonged to Ishant. No matter where this matches goes, the spell of 5-3-4-3 he bowled just before lunch will hold significance for the rest of the series. For starters he let Kevin Pietersen know that he was not be bullied. In the first innings, Pietersen had put Ishant completely off his line and length by walking across and towards him. Today Ishant welcomed him with a bouncer, got extra bounce and the glove. Then followed the two quintessential Ishant wickets. Ian Bell got one that left him against the angle, taking the edge. Two wickets in one over. Two overs later, Ishant got one to move in sharply to Jonathan Trott, against the slope, and hit the top of off. That ball would have got greats out.