Nagpur, Dec 15: Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni led India’s spirited
fightback on day three of the fourth cricket Test against England here Saturday before four quick wickets and the captain’s heartbreaking run out on 99 towards the end of the day left the match evenly poised.
Kohli (103) and Dhoni, resuming the day at 86 for four, bailed India out of trouble through a 198-run stand for the fifth wicket, helping the hosts reach 297 for eight by stumps and 33 behind England’s first innings score of 330.
Play was called-off with Graeme Swann (3-76) castling the stumps of Piyush Chawla in the 131st over. Fast bowler James Anderson (4-68) was also responsible for India’s mini collapse in the final session.
Kohli and his captain dominated for most part of the day until the Delhi batsman departed after making his third Test century. Swann got him trapped leg before wicket, leaving India at 269 for five.
Dhoni went back after he attempted a suicidal run on Anderson’s bowling in the penultimate over of the day. In the nervous nineties for around an hour, Dhoni took off after nudging one to Alastair Cook, who produced a brilliant direct hit from mid-off to dismiss his counterpart. The third umpire had a close call to make with replays showing Dhoni’s bat on the line at the time of impact. The skipper deservingly received a huge applause from the crowd while making his way back to the dressing room, ending his marathon knock off 246 balls.
Though the effort of the two batsmen is bound to have lifted morale in the dressing room with two days remaining, India have a tough task at hand for levelling the four-match series at 2-2.
Kohli’s innings especially was a treat to watch. Prior to the game, his top-score of the series was 20. And he found himself amongst the runs at a crucial time for his team.
Bringing maximum joy to the crowd was his classy display of strokes on the off-side. Kohli’s cover-drives, both off spinners and seamers, exuded class. In all, he struck 11 boundaries in his 295-ball innings.