The fourth day's play has once again proved to be hugely entertaining in what is becoming a fantastic second Test match at Lord's between England and India.
England closed the day on 105-4, still 214 runs away from victory, and are staring defeat in the face after India out-played them for most of the day. The visitors, inspired by Murali Vijay and Ravindra Jadeja, set England 319 to win by mid-afternoon but this was looking a distant dream by the end of day four.
Chasing early wickets
Resuming the fourth day on 169-4, with a lead of 145 runs, India were looking for more runs in order to set England a very difficult and challenging fourth innings run chase. England, however, required early wickets to make sure the Indians could not bat them out of the contest.
England did manage to grab three wickets prior to lunch which once again left the game in the balance but all the time India were accumulating valuable runs. Anderson's removal of Murali Vijay (95) with the new ball gave England real hope but England's bowlers failed to be consistent.
Ravindra Jadeja counter-attacked brilliantly towards the end of the morning session and at lunch he had led India to 267-7, with a lead of 243.
Early in the afternoon session India, inspired by Jadeja's positive intent, took the game away from England as he and the in-form Kumar added an eighth wicket partnership of 99. Once Jadeja, with 68 from 57 balls, was dismissed by Stokes (3-51) the final two wickets fell cheaply, including in-form Kumar who also hit a breezy 52 from just 71 balls.
This set England a victory target of 319 which, given their fragile batting recently, looked a very daunting task, and so it proved.
Immediately England were under pressure as they lost Sam Robson (7) to Jadeja with the score on just 12. Indian captain MS Dhoni took a gamble in bringing left arm spinner Jadeja into the attack very early but his instinct as captain proved correct as Jadeja did the trick. England reached tea on 18-1 with seemingly a mountain to climb against a confident Indian side.
England did rally through Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance as they posted a battling fifty partnership after tea but once Mohammed Shami dismissed the latter for 27 England collapsed to 72-4 as firstly Ian Bell (1) and captain Cook (22) fell to Ishant Sharma.
Before the close of play England were indebted to Joe Root and Moeen Ali for surviving without any further loss but most onlookers will give the home side very little chance of surviving on the final day as India chase a historic victory which they fully deserve.
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