London: India managed to break the deadlock at the stroke of lunch as England reached 173 for five needing another 146 runs from the remaining two sessions to win the second cricket Test here today.
The match again hangs in balance after Ishant Sharma got the dogged Moeen Ali (39) out with a rising delivery which he fended awkwardly to be caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg. This was after a fighting 101 run stand for the fifth wicket with Joe Root (52 batting), who is again looking good for a big score.
Ishant (3-47) was in fact smashed for 13 runs in the previous over Root, who struck three of his five boundaries in that single over. While Root has faced 126 balls so far, Ali played 147 balls hitting five fours. The duo defied Indian bowlers for close to 45 overs (44.4 overs).
Earlier, the session belonged entirely to the two English batsmen as they started the day at the overnight score of 105/4. Play began under overcast skies and floodlights were switched on as well but that didn’t deter Root or Ali.
They had used the heavy roller on the morning pitch and perhaps it helped calm the pitch down a little bit. Even so, the bowling was tight as they gave away only 35 runs in the first 16 overs.
But as the batsmen got set the runs started flowing, 68 runs off 30 overs coming in the session then as the target went down.
To their credit, the two batsmen never presented any straight-forward chance to the Indians, grinding their bowling attack.
Dhoni tried many different ploys as he does but it didn’t help matters as the 150-run mark came up in the 70th over.
Root then shifted gears and started stroking some quick boundaries to bring up his fifty off 122 balls, in the 74th over of the innings, while in the very next, the 100-run partnership between the two batsmen also came up.