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3rd Investec Test: Follow-on Danger Looms on India; Dhoni Still on Crease with a Half-Century

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3rd Investec Test: Follow-on Danger Looms on India; Dhoni Still on Crease with a Half-Century

July 30
13:52 2014

England, Wednesday, July 30 – Chasing a humongous total of 569 runs is turning out to be an unattainable task for India. Toss was crucial at the Rose Bowl, Southampton, and English skipper Alastair Cook was lucky in this regard as he won it and elected to bat first. The decision turned absolutely right as England showed their potential to stand rock solid against Indian bowling attack which gets proved by outstanding shows by Ian Bell, Gary Ballance, Jos Buttler and captain’s 95-run knock.

On a pitch where Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Pankaj Singh and Shikhar Dhawan faced difficulty to pocket wickets and give their team much needed breakthroughs, English bowlers made Indian batting line order to collapse. James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes imparted huge role in keeping Dhoni’s playing XI at 323 runs for the loss of 8 wickets. Post Dhawan’s dismissal at the score of 6 runs, expectations from Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara were sky high. They even somehow managed to keep things on the track, however, departed at 35 runs (4 x 5) and 24 runs (4 x 3), respectively, throwing their wickets to 28-year-old Broad.

Virat Kohli, who is struggling to get back in form, played an important innings of 39 runs what he scored after confronting 75 balls. Three boundaries from him must have played a crucial role to retain his confidence and believe in his capabilities. But before he could have gone scoring runs further and achieved a half-century, Anderson got his wicket. Ajinkya Rahane’s 54 runs of 113 balls, together with 5 boundaries, gave Indian squad breathe a sigh of relieve at least for some time. He was sent back to the pavilion when Ali took the charge. Rohit Sharma did not succeed in playing a spellbinding knock for which he is famous among several cricket fans. Hitting 28 runs, the right-handed batsman lost his wicket to the bearded wonder Ali.

Jadeja sent the ball in the fences for 6 times and scored 31 runs. However, his dream of creating a solid partnership was shattered by Anderson. Kumar, who had score more than a few runs for his team in the earlier played matches at the Trent Bridge and Lord’s, hit 4 classy boundaries, however, in an attempt to add more runs, the all-rounder was out by Anderson. Despite all odds, it was Indian skipper Dhoni who confidently faced the sharp attack of England bowlers. He remained not out till the end and struck a half-century, together with Shami – who is batting at 4 runs. As soon as the play of Day 3 came to an end, India managed to put 323 runs on the score board. Having two wickets in hand, situation doesn’t seem in favor of Indian team.  The threat of follow-on yet remains on them. Pankaj Singh is yet to bat. He failed to mark an impressive debut in the Test team but hopes are up with the newcomer with his batting potential.

England are surely a step ahead over India. Nevertheless, any prediction over possible winner can’t be made at this moment for the reason that cricket is considered most unpredictable sport. Things can changed at any point of time. A few good shots and wickets can make any of the two contenders be at the leading position. India yet trail by 246 runs. It would be interesting to watch whether India cope with real English conditions and score 47 runs to avoid the follow-on or not.

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