India vs England: Virat Kohli keeps India on target in bowler-dominated Edgbaston Test

India, chasing a target of 194 to win the thrilling Test match at Edgbaston, were 110/5 at stumps on Day 3, needing 84 to win.
India's Virat Kohli (R) plays a shot during the third day of the first Test match between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England on August 3, 2018.(AFP)
India's Virat Kohli (R) plays a shot during the third day of the first Test match between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England on August 3, 2018.(AFP)
Updated on Aug 03, 2018 11:36 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Birmingham | By

Going into the Edgbaston Test, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane explained why no batsman is ever in when the ball starts seaming around in England. By extension, it meant no bowler is ever out. (IND v ENG DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS)

Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin put on another pace-spin show for India to raise victory hopes, but England pacers roared back after tea to leave the first Test tantalisingly poised on the third day.

India, chasing a target of 194 to win the thrilling match, were 110/5 at stumps, needing 84 to win.

For those who feel Test cricket is on the decline, or put batsmen on top, it was thrilling to see bowlers from both sides turn the match into an absolute cracker.

And India’s hopes again hinged on skipper Virat Kohli, who looked a cut above the rest as he finished unbeaten on 43. Dinesh Karthi was on 18, the two having added 32 runs for the sixth wicket.

Kohli acknowledged conditions in his first-innings 149, and the situation again on Day 3. But after dismissing England for 180 in the second innings, he had to push for runs early as the top-order again collapsed in overcast conditions.

Kohli survived a leg before referral against all-rounder Sam Curran, but played fluent cover drives to be India’s big hope after the technique of M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul was exposed against Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes. Ajinkya

Rahane too failed a second time, nicking behind off Curran.

India will have to achieve their biggest fourth innings chase in England, surpassing the 174 achieved at the Oval in 1971, to win.

ISHANT ROCKS

Ishant Sharma knows how to bowl India to victory in England. In 2014, his career-best 7/74 came off short-pitched aggression at Lord’s.

On Friday, his impeccable line and late movement from good length brought England batsmen to their knees and gave India victory hope.

He completed Dawid Malan’s wretched Test (8 and 20 with the bat, Kohli dropped on 21 and 51 in his first innings and Vijay on 1 in the second innings) by having him caught in the cordon, accelerating England’s collapse after Ravichandran Ashwin delivered again.

Besides removing both left-handed openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings, the offie plotted to get the prized scalp of England captain Joe Root, getting him to flick by holding a delivery back and he was sucked into nicked that to KL Rahul at leg-slip. Ashwin’s 7/121 is his best match figures outside the sub-continent and the West Indies.

Ishant raced to his eighth five-wicket haul once he came on in place of Mohammed Shami. He grabbed four wickets for 16 runs, three of them in one over split by lunch.

He got the ball to swing and had Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, before lunch, and Jos Buttler after the interval, all caught in the cordon.

England’s spineless batting had been exposed by the owed it to the 20-year-old Curran to give them a fighting chance as the match turned again.

He smashed his maiden Test fifty -- the last man out for 63 – and dragged England from 87/7 with some audacious shots against Ashwin, Ishant and Umesh Yadav. No 9 Adil Rashid (16) and Stuart Broad (11) gave support, making sure India won’t have it easy.

The southpaw scored 24 in the first innings and took four wickets to bring England back into the game before Kohli’s special knock. But England, unless they step up their batting, will be found out against India’s solid pace attack.

Play was stopped for 20 minutes in the mid-session due to bad light, but it sparked back to life again, showing why England fans are wedded to Test cricket.

India, who have never won at Edgbaston in six Tests – five losses – are chasing their first series win in England since 2007.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    N Ananthanarayanan has spent almost three decades with news agencies and newspapers, reporting domestic and international sport. He has a passion for writing on cricket and athletics.

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