Prior warning for India
India were left to fight England with eight fit men in the opening Test at Lord's. Set a target of 458, the visitors played out 30 overs on Sunday and the final day awaits them. Sanjjeev K Samyal reports. Scorecard
India were left to fight England with eight fit men in the opening Test at Lord's. Set a target of 458, the visitors played out 30 overs on Sunday and the final day awaits them.
Adding to their woes, Sachin Tendulkar (viral infection) and Gautam Gambhir (elbow injury) joined Zaheer Khan on the list of injured.
India's highest successful chase is 403 against the West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1976-77. In 2008, India had scored 387 for four to win at Chennai against England.
A win is a distant dream and survival will be on the mind of the India batsmen on the fifth day. The ball is seaming around and the England bowlers are bowling with precision and pace. With India folding up early in the first innings, they are relatively fresh too.
Stuart Broad troubled the batsmen with his pace and late swing, and he started menacingly in the second innings as well. He sent out a warning by claiming Abhinav Mukund, who played on for 12.
India's hopes rely on Rahul Dravid, who came out to open in place of the injured Gambhir. Always up for a fight, he was holding up his end, confidently seeing through the first 14 overs.
Ishant gives hope
Earlier, India started the day promisingly. Ishant Sharma raised hopes of a fightback with an inspired spell in the first session. He seemed to have turned the match on its head with a brilliant three-wicket burst, taking three for one run in 16 balls.
It was a valiant effort from the visitors' three-man attack as at lunch, England were tottering at 72 for five, a lead of 260.
It was first innings' hero, Praveen Kumar, who gave the initial breakthrough, producing another fine delivery to have Alastair Cook caught behind with the score at 23. However, things started to move in the 23rd over when Harbhajan Singh claimed Andrew Strauss. It acted as a catalyst for Ishant who reduced England to 62 for five within five overs.
Prior hits back
However, shouldering the responsibility of Zaheer Khan's absence took a toll on the India bowlers. They seemed to run out of fuel after the break and had no answer to the counter-attack launched by the seventh-wicket pair of Matt Prior and Stuart Broad.
The duo took the game away with an unbeaten 162-run partnership off 166 balls. Prior smashed an unbeaten 103 off 120 balls while Broad scored 74 not out.