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Will be hard to save the Test: Dhawan

Indian opener says wicket has gotten tough to bat on with turn and seam

India find themselves precariously placed in the third Test at Ageas Bowl. With six wickets in hand they will require to bat out the entire fifth day to save the match and keep their 1-0 lead in the series intact.

Opening batsman, Shikhar Dhawan admits it is a herculean task. “It is going to be hard (to save the Test from here),” Shikhar said. “England are in a very good position.

Shikhar, who has been searching personal batting form, dug in after losing his opening partner, Murali Vijay, to a run-out. However, after doing all the hard work and facing 85 balls, he got dismissed for 37. He edged one to the slip off Joe Root’s part-time off-spin. Shikhar said, the pitch has deteriorated significantly and it is difficult to bat on.

“The wicket has turn in it and the ball is seaming around as well because of the rough patches,” he said. “It’s not easy to bat out there because it’s very unpredictable – despite pitching on the same spot, some balls are going straight whereas others are spinning. When you get out on a good ball, you can’t do much about it.”

With scores of 12, 29, 7 and 31 in the first two Tests, Shikhar was under pressure to get runs at the top of the order. His troubles with the moving ball were very much apparent as he fell twice to James Anderson’s out-swingers.

He was seen having a long chat with Duncan Fletcher before the start of play on day-three, during which, Shikhar said, the coach asked him to make minor technical alterations in his batting.

“We were discussing my batting,” he said. “Since the ball swings and seams a lot here, Duncan just asked me to cover the swing and play as straight as possible. I am looking to play close to the body. I am working hard on my game and giving my best,” the opener said.

Shirin Sadikot

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Stats Highlights: Eng vs India, 3rd Test - Day 4

James Anderson takes five-wicket haul for the second time on his birthday

James Anderson (5/53) completed a five-wicket haul on his birthday. Interestingly he had also taken a five-wicket haul on his 28th birthday – against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in 2010.

Alastair Cook provided the 13th instance of an opposing captain not enforcing the follow-on on India (despite being entitled to do so). Of the previous 12 such instances, India managed to earn a draw only once and lost 11. India lost all four against England in such circumstances.

Pankaj Singh conceded 179 runs in 47 overs without taking a wicket. He now holds the dubious distinction of conceding most runs by a wicketless bowler on debut. Pakistan’s Sohail Khan conceded 164 against Sri Lanka at Karachi in 2008-09.

England’s run-rate of 5.04 in the second innings is their highest against India in an innings of 200 or more. At Lord’s in 1990 England had scored their runs at a rate of 5.00 (272 for 4 declared in 54.2 overs).

England gave India a victory target of 445 runs. The highest successful fourth innings chase in Test annals is 418 for seven by West Indies against Australia at St.John’s in 2003. India’s highest successful fourth innings chase is 406 for four against West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1975-76.

The accompanying table lists the highest successful chases in Test cricket:

418-7 West Indies v Australia St John's 2003

414-4 South Africa v Australia Perth 2008-09

406-4 India v West Indies Port-of-Spain 1975-76

404-3 Australia v England Leeds 1948

387-4 India v England Chennai 2008-09

369-6 Australia v Pakistan Hobart 1999-00

362-7 Australia v West Indies Georgetown 1977-78

352-9 Sri Lanka v South Africa Colombo (PSS) 2006

Incidentally India’s highest successful chase in England is 174 for six at The Oval in 1971.

India have now not got a fifty-opening stand in an overseas Test in last 29 innings. The last time this happened was in 2011 at Lord’s against England when Abhinav Mukund and Gautam Gambhir put on 63 runs.

Murali Vijay was run-out for the first time in his Test career. In fact this was the first time he got involved in a run-out.

Moeen Ali – with wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli- took his series tally to 11. Only James Anderson has taken more wickets for England than Moeen in the series.

Interestingly Moeen has dismissed 10 out of 13 Indian players who have batted in the series. MS Dhoni, Ishant Sharma and Pankaj Singh are the ones he has not dismissed.

Rajneesh Gupta

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