New Delhi: India produced a brilliant display of Test cricket on the penultimate day of the fourth Test against England on Sunday with skipper Virat Kohli once again leading the charge from the front.
King Kohli raced to his third double-hundred of the year, and he along with Jayant Yadav stitched an epic 241-run stand for the 8th wicket to help India take a decisive 231-run first innings lead at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.
It was India's biggest 8th-wicket stand.
Yadav, playing in his only third Test, scored a brilliant hundred, which was replete with masterful stroke-making and brilliant shot-selection. He thus became India's first No. 9 batsman to hit a hundred.
Kohli, on his way to 235, reaffirmed his stature as one of the greatest batsmen of modern times. His double-hundred topped an exceptional year.
India started from their overnight score of 451/7, with Kohli on 147 and Yadav on 30. They started the day pushing for quick runs, and as the day grew older, their partnership began to swell.
After starting the year with his career's first double hundred at North Sound against West Indies in July, the Indian skipper has gone on to score 1200 runs.
He is the only other batsman, besides the three English cricketers — Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Alastair Cook — to score more than 1000 runs this year in Tests.
But again, Kohli's runs have come at an Bradman-esque average of 80, and he still has a Test match until the close of the year.
Like yesterday, the day belonged the 28-year-old right handed batsman. He is now the top scorer for an Indian captain, bettering Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 224 against England in 2003.
All these while, his rival captain Cook continued to look for inspiration, without any success. Their success came in the 177th over, after 353 deliveries, when Yadav came forward to punish a Adil Rashid delivery.
The Indian batsman missed the ball, and was stumped effectively by Bairstow. Exactly two overs later, Chris Woakes removed Kohli. The Indian skipper, looking to increase the scoring rate, played a lofted shot, but ended up offering a catch at deep extra cover, where James Anderson completed the sending-off.
A packed Wankhede crowd, which used to salute Sachin Tendulkar bowed as Kohli walked back to the pavilion. As many would say, a worthy successor has finally arrived for India.
England leg-spinner Rashid took the wicket of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to fold up the Indian innings for 631 runs, which was 231 more than what England had managed in their first innings.
The visitors needed a good start from their openers. But Keaton Jennings, who made a brilliant hundred in his debut knock three days back, lasted only two balls as he was trapped LBW by Bhuvneshwar off the very first ball he faced.
Cook, after taking a single off the first ball, denied Jennings a review and it turned out to be a wise call.
The skipper himself failed to impress, as he fell to Ravindra Jadeja for the second time in the match, and for the fourth time in four matches. He made 18 off 28 balls.
England however found their men of the hour in the season's two top scorers Root and Bairstow, as they posted a 92-runs stand for the 4th wicket.
Before their coming together, England had lost the wicket of Moeen Ali, to Jadeja for a duck. It was also Indian leg-spinner's 100th Test wicket. Then England were stuttering at 49/3 after 13.2 overs.
The near-hundred stand frustrated the Indians, and in the midst, Kohli wasted all the reviews available even as umpires Bruce Oxenford and injured Paul Reiffel's stand-in Marais Erasmus continued to dish out shocking decisions.
After 21.2 overs of resistance, England succumbed to spin as Root became a fired-up Yadav's victim. Root made 77 off 112 balls, with 11 hits to the fence.
The arrival of Ben Stokes increased the scoring rate, but he too soon departed, becoming Ravichandran Ashwin's first victim. Stokes, in his 30-ball stay, hit two fours and one six to compile 18 runs.
His departure brought nightwatchman Jake Ball, who made a decent 31 in the first essay. But the 25-year-old, playing his second Test, in India failed against Ashwin's guile, and departed after scoring 2 runs off 18 balls.
At the close of day, Bairstow remained unbeaten on 50 off 95 balls, with two fours. The final day's action will start with him and probably in company of Jos Buttler against an inspired and mean Indian attack.
Kohli utilized five bowlers today, and everyone except Umesh Yadav picked up wickets, with Jadeja and Ashwin getting a brace each.
England needed to win the match to keep the five-match series alive. But now, only a miracle can only save them from the Indian blues.
India have won the second and third Tests in Visakhapatnam and Mohali after a high-scoring draw in Rajkot.
The fifth and final match will be played in Chennai, starting Friday.
Brief scores: England 400 and 182/6 in 47.3 overs (Root 77, Bairstow batting 50; Ashwin 2/49, Jadeja 2/58). India 631 all out in 182.3 overs (Kohli 235, Jayant 104, Vijay 136; Rashid 4/192).