England continued to pile the pressure on India on day four of the third Test at the Ageas Bowl. The visitors will now have to break the world record Test run chase to snatch victory from Peter Moores’ side.
With just the Indian tail left to face the morning session, Stuart Broad and James Anderson took the wickets of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed respectively.
The Three Lions opted not to enforce the follow-on, with India still trailing by 239. A tired-looking Broad and Anderson were thought to have played a major part in that decision, having gone to such lengths to reduce India to 330 all out.
Openers Alastair Cook and Sam Robson started off fairly slowly considering the time pressure on England, and the latter made just 13, as India looked to stay in the game. The Middlesex man will be disappointed with yet another short spell at the crease, amid calls from some quarters for him to be dropped.
Cook leads again
However, captain Cook proved that his 95 in the first innings was not an aberration, with another impressive knock of 70 not out.
Having both hit centuries on day two, Gary Ballance and Ian Bell failed to replicate those performances again, perhaps feeling the imperative to put runs on the board quickly.
Joe Root, on the other hand, weighed in with a half century.
Root reached 56 off just 41 balls, but lost his wicket, clean bowled by Ravindra Jadeja, shortly before tea. That, together with what should be an unassailable target of 444, prompted Cook to declare on 205-4.
India slip up again
India cracked on their return to the crease, and it was not immediately clear whether they were attempting to chase down the runs or hold out for a draw.
Murali Vijay was first to fall, run out by Stuart Broad. Coach Duncan Fletcher will no doubt be disappointed with the cheapness of his dismissal, particularly as India already had their backs to the wall.
Chris Jordan then took two catches in quick succession, first seeing off Shikhar Dhwan off the bowling of Root. Cheteshwar Pujara then hit a Moeen Ali ball straight to the Sussex all-rounder to hand England further control in the last session of the day.
Ali then got the better of Virat Kohli, who was caught behind by Jos Buttler. After three early wickets, Kohli made some attempt to steady the ship with 28, but there was little he could do to prevent the inevitable.
India will have to perform nothing short of a miracle if they are to avoid defeat on the final day, still trailing by 335.