Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Despite a fighting innings for MS Dhoni, Indian innings crumbled inside 50 overs as six batsmen got out for ducks. At the close of Day 1's play, Enland trail India by a mere 39 runs, with seven wickets in hand.
Day 1, Stumps
England, Ist innings, India (152)
Over 35 || Score 113/3
Just before the close of the first day's play, Varun Yadav removed Gary Ballance to give India an outside fighting chance in Old Trafford. England batted 35 overs scoring 113 runs for the loss of three wickets. Despite those three wickets, the day belongs to them. They trail India by 39 runs with 7 wickets remaining.
MS Dhoni utilised four bowlers – three pace bowlers and one spinner in Ashwin, with Bhuvi, Pankaj and Varun getting a wicket each.
Gary Ballance lbw b Varun Aaron 37 (87b)
Over 32 || Score 112/2
As the shadows from the Old Trafford stands elongated towards the fielding Indian players, England have taken control of the match. First, it was the batting woes then, the bowling inefficiencies.
The Ballance-Bell partnership is now worth 76 runs and both the batsmen are approaching their respective fifties.
And session after session continue to go England's ways.
Over 26 || Score 90/2
Both Gary Ballance and Ian Bell, both on 31 runs each, are on cruise control mode as Indian bowlers, somewhat, looked surrender to the fate of bowling with a huge task to give India another chance in England.
The third-wicket partnership is now worth 54 runs, in good scoring rate. In the last ten overs, England have touched five and over mark.
With some 15 overs left in the day's play, England are 62 runs behind India.
Over 18 || Score 50/2
At the drinks break, England have reached 50 with the loss of two wickets, but still in command. With a minimum of 25 overs play left today, they can hope to reduce the gap considerably.
MS Dhoni, who made a fighting 71 runs in India's cause, has stuck with pace bowlers in Bhuvi, Pankaj and Varun.
For England, experienced Ian Bell is in the centre with the in-form Gary Ballance.
Over 14 || Score 40/2
Crucial wicket for India. Pankaj Singh removed Alastair Cook. England captain tried to pull the short one from Pankaj, but the climbing ball got the better of bat and it ended at backward square, where Varun Aaron completed an easy catch.
Alastair Cook c Pankaj Singh b Varun Aaron 17 (42b)
Over 9 || Score 21/1
Finally, Bhuvi's persistence paid off. A beautiful in-swinger got the better of Aussie born Sam Robson, for a patient 6 runs.
India will need more than a couple of quick wickets, if they are to pose a fightback after that harrowing batting display.
For England, skipper Cook is on 15 off 32 deliveries with two fours. They still need 131 runs to eclipse India's total, with 33 overs left in today's play.
Sam Robson b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 6 (24b)
Over 1 || Score 1/0
Alastair Cook, after leading his team to a definitive morning session, arrived to open the English innings along with Sam Robson. The England skipper quickly opened his account with a single off the second ball of the innings.
For India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar started the proceedings.
India, 1st innings:
Over 47 || Score 152/10
Stuart Broad, who has been once again brilliant for England, dismissed MS Dhoni and Pankaj Singh in his 14th over to bowl India out for 152 runs! Considering that India were 8/4 at one stage, the total now looks decent. Indian bowlers will now have to bowl their heart out if India entertain any chances of making a comeback in the match. Stuart Broad left the field to a standing ovation with outstanding figures of 6/25 in 13.4 overs.
Pankaj Singh b Broad 0 (3b)
MS Dhoni c Jordan b Broad 71 (133b)
Over 45 || Score 143/8
After batting brilliantly for 40 runs, Ashwin attempted a pull shot, and mistimed it straight to Sam Robson at deep midwicket. The wicket also ended the 66-run stand between these two. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the new man in. Dhoni got a full pitched delivery with width on offer from Woakes and he drove it past covers to bring his half-century! It hasn't come in the most convincing manner but these are crucial runs for the Indian team. Broad bowled a beautiful delivery to Bhuvneshwar which was pitched full and swung into the batsman from outside the off-stump and knocked off the stumps. Varun Aaron is the new man in. Broad has now picked four wickets while Anderson has picked three. With two wickets remaining, it would be interesting to see Dhoni's approach now. He is batting on 61.
B Kumar b Broad 0 (6b)
R Ashwin c Robson b Broad 40 (42b)
Over 40 || Score 129/6
This has been a superb batting performance from the CSK boys – MS Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin. They both have batted convincingly and Alastair Cook will be a little disappointed with the way India have fought back after quick blows initially. The partnership is now worth 66 runs and it is India's second consecutive half-century partnership. Cook hasn't used spin so far and he could possibly be contemplating to give his seamers a break by bringing in Moeen Ali. MS Dhoni is just one run short of what would be an excellent fifty.
Over 35 || Score 107/6
Dhoni and Ashwin are in the process of stitching yet another crucial partnership. Ashwin in particular, has negotiated the swing bowling extremely well and has played some fantastic strokes so far. England missed a chance when Ashwin edged Anderson's last delivery of the 35th over which was dropped by Buttler behind the stumps. MS Dhoni has played some positive strokes and has made the best out of loose deliveries. This partnership is now worth 44 runs.
Over 30 || Score 81/6
England took just eight deliveries after lunch to strike again as Anderson pitched an inswinger to Jadeja, who was caught plumb in front of the wicket. Another failure for Jadeja, who has received plenty of criticism for his technique in the five-day format. Ravichandran Ashwin is the new man in. He has been a spectator so far in the series and it's an excellent opportunity for him to score runs with the bat as India look in deep trouble. Anderson has looked the most lethal English bowler and every time he has come for a fresh spell, Indian batsmen have looked vulnerable against him. Ashwin and Dhoni have added 81 runs for the seventh-wicket partnership.
RA Jadeja lbw b Anderson 0 (7b)
Over 25 || Score 63/5
Just when it looked that Dhoni and Rahane have steadied the ship, Rahane went for a drive off Jordan and was caught at the slip cordon by Ian Bell. Rahane played well for his 24 runs and also sticthed pivotal 54 runs with skipper MS Dhoni. Ravindra Jadeja is the new man in and Dhoni would speak a lot to him and discuss ways of spending time at the crease. At lunch, Dhoni was unbeaten on 25 runs and his team desperately needs a captain's knock from him today.
AM Rahane c Bell b Jordan 24 (52b)
Over 20 || Score 52/4
Rahane played a straight drive off the backfoot to bring India's half-century. Some boundaries have been scored past the third man area, but these two have also come to the frontfoot to anything which was pitched full. The partnership is now worth 44 runs.
Over 15 || Score 32/4
Dhoni and Rahane are trying their best to stitch a partnership here. England will now miss another genuine seamer here. Had they played Finn, the situation could have been worse for the tourists. This fifth-wicket partnership is now worth 24 runs.
Over 10 || Score 19/4
India suffered yet another huge blow when Cheteshwar Pujara edged one towards the slip cordon and Chris Jordan took a good catch to his left. Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni are the two new batsmen at the crease. The ball is doing a lot for the pacers and Rahane and Dhoni too have looked vulnerable at times. They have added unbeaten 11 runs for the fifth wicket so far.
CA Pujara c Jordan b Broad 0 (6b)
Over 5 || Score 8/3
India are in a precarious position having lost three of their key batsmen.
Stuart Broad get an early breakthrough for England when Gambhir edged the first delivery of his second over straight to Joe Root at gully. It wasn't a special delivery from Broad and Gambhir played a wrong shot which shortened his comeback into the Test side. Murali Vijay was the next batsman to be dismissed as he got a superb delivery from Anderson which angled in and moved away. Vijay had to play it, he did and Cook at first slip took an easy catch. Virat Kohli's pathetic show in the series continued when two balls later, Anderson delivered a similar kind of delivery which once again landed into the safe hands of Alastair Cook. English pacers are on fire and considering the amount of purchase they are receiving from the wicket, it could be a bad day for the Indian team.
V Kohli c Cook b Anderson 0 (2b)
M Vijay c Cook b Anderson 0 (14b)
G Gambhir c Root b Broad 4 (7b)
Gautam Gambhir has made a comeback into the Indian team. Ravichandran Ashwin too gets to play the first Test of the series. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have been dropped from the playing eleven.
Toss: India have won the toss and MS Dhoni has decided to bat first.
The five-match Test series has now become an interesting contest after England`s comprehensive win over India in the third Test, after losing at Lord`s.
MS Dhoni would be a worried man as his side threw away the momentum, after they had registered a historic win in the second Test. Playing three seamers in the fourth Test was a move which terribly backfired. By playing just three seamers, Dhoni not only exhausted his pacers, but also gave the English batsmen opportunity to time their innings.
Indian batsmen are slowly getting back into their groove and according to reports, Ravichandran Ashwin is likely to be included for the fourth Test. It would be interesting to see whether Gautam Gambhir finally gets to play a Test as Shikhar Dhawan`s form has eluded him for quite some time now. India would also want their two main batsmen – Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara – to score big knocks which are due. Both these batsmen have got starts right throughout the series but they have failed to convert them into big scores.
England on the other hand would be relieved as the momentum has shifted their way after the third Test. Alastair Cook and Ian Bell were struggling with the bat, but both of them played good knocks and are likely to trouble the Indian bowlers for the rest of the series. Gary Ballance has been in fine form for the hosts and with the seniors getting their confidence back, other youngsters like Joe Root and Sam Robson too might want to be among the runs.
England`s bowling is far better than India`s and Moeen Ali has eased the pressure off James Anderson and Stuart Broad. England have recalled Steven Finn in the squad which will only strengthen their pace attack.