India v England: Mahendra Dhoni run out for 99 as tourists fight back

 

Fourth Test, Nagpur, day three:

England 330 (145.5 overs), India 297-8 (130.1 overs)

Match scorecard

England took four wickets in the last hour of the third day to fight back against India in the final Test.

The tourists, who lead the series 2-1, had long been frustrated by Mahendra Dhoni and Virat Kohli, who shared a 198-run, 507-ball stand in Nagpur.

"Both Mahendra Dhoni and Virat Kohli played the situation exactly right and they have given India a chance in this match by putting all the pressure on England to make it safe"

However, Graeme Swann trapped Kohli for 103 before Dhoni was run out on 99 by Alastair Cook in the penultimate over.

Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla were also dismissed as India closed the day 33 runs behind England on 297-8.

It was a swift and dramatic turnaround in fortunes for England, who had been second best for most of the day as Dhoni and Kohli painstakingly batted India back into the match with their mammoth partnership.

But Cook's men were finally rewarded for their persistence. Once Kohli had fallen, the hosts - who were just beginning to think about overhauling England's first innings total of 330 - were stalled by an all too familiar clatter of quick wickets.

Debutant Jadeja made only 12 before he was pinned in front by James Anderson, before Cook took advantage of Dhoni's nervousness in the closing stages of a tough day.

Stand-out statistics

  • Mahendra Dhoni and Virat Kohli's stand comprised 507 balls - the same number faced by Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith in their 259-run partnership at The Oval in July.
  • Jimmy Anderson is now the joint leading international wicket-taker for England with Ian Botham. Both have 528 wickets in all formats.

Source: Opta

The India captain, who compiled his longest Test innings in terms of balls faced, had been stuck in the nineties for more than 70 minutes when he attempted to reach his century by taking on a quick single.

But Cook, running in from mid-off, pounced and threw down the stumps at the bowler's end to run out his opposite number by a matter of millimetres.

Swann then got one to turn sharply and bowled Piyush Chawla with the first ball of the final over of the day.

The late drama was harsh on Dhoni and Kohli, who finally lived up to their superstar billing for the first time in the series.

Both players curbed their usual attacking tendencies with gritty and determined innings which were short on style but stacked with substance.

Dhoni, who moved himself up the batting order in response to calls for him to be sacked as captain, offered few chances during his 246-ball innings, with Tim Bresnan, who had a couple of leg-before shouts turned down, failing to take a difficult return catch from the skipper.

Analysis

"Even if India bat well on Sunday, England should get a small lead here. India need to bowl out of their skins - and if they can get England out by lunch on the last day, they might have a sniff. England have shown that they can fold under pressure."

It was a similarly stoical innings by Kohli, who scored the third Test century of his career on his way to overtaking Australia's Michael Clarke as the leading international run-scorer in world cricket in 2012 during his 295-ball knock.

He was finally undone by Swann when, following a drinks break, the off-spinner got one to pitch and turn into the 24-year-old's pads.

And once Dhoni became the first international captain to be run out on 99 in a Test match, India - seeking to avoid a first home series defeat to England since 1984-85 - were left hoping that their earlier hard work would be enough to exert some pressure during the final two days.