|Second Test, Visakhapatnam (day four):|
|India 455 & 204: Kohli 81, Broad 4-33, Rashid 4-82|
|England 255 & 87-2: Cook 54|
|England need another 318 runs to win|
England’s bid to save the second Test against India was hit by the late loss of Haseeb Hameed and Alastair Cook on day four in Visakhapatnam.
The England openers shared 75 in 50 captivating overs before Hameed was out lbw to Ravichandran Ashwin for 25.
Captain Cook (54) was pinned leg before by Ravindra Jadeja with four balls of the day left to leave England 87-2.
India were earlier bowled out for 205 to set England 405 to win or, more likely, five sessions to survive.
The late drama came at the end of what looked like being an excellent day for England – one that began with them taking seven India wickets for 87 runs, and then started to produce hope that the tourists would be in a position to claim an unlikely draw.
But the departures of Cook and Hameed now make the chances of England avoiding going 1-0 down in the five-match series very remote.
“From India’s point of view, the end of the day is huge,” said former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special. “They were beginning to feel deflated. Now they’ve gone in feeling uplifted.
“Somebody else has got to stand up for England and play beautifully tomorrow.”
Openers give England hope
When Cook and Hameed began the final innings of the match after lunch, England might have seen it as a minor success just to take the contest into its final day.
Batting looked fraught as India’s pace bowlers found uneven bounce with the new ball, but through determination, patience, sound judgement and great skill, Cook and Hameed raised both England’s optimism and India’s concerns.
With the hosts reluctant to over-attack and their spinners unsuccessful, England’s opening pair displayed sound defence and little interest in scoring runs.
They reached 50 in 37.1 overs – the slowest half-century opening stand England had posted since 1998.
All the while, India’s frustration was growing. When Cook survived two lbw reviews in successive overs, home captain Virat Kohli was angry enough to remonstrate with the umpires.
England dig in – the stats
- Alastair Cook’s 172-ball half-century was his slowest in Tests, beating his previous mark of 164 balls.
- Cook, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow have all registered their slowest Test half-centuries in this match.
- Cook and Haseeb Hameed’s stand spanned 50.2 overs – the longest opening partnership by a visiting team in the fourth innings of a Test in India.
- 387 is the highest score made to win a Test in India, by the home team against England in 2008. West Indies’ 276 is the most made by a visiting team to win in India.
Hameed shines before late drama
Lancashire’s Hameed, the 19-year-old who served notice of his talent with 82 on debut in the first Test, gave further evidence to suggest he has ended England’s four-year search for a batsman to open with Cook.
He was even more stubborn than his notoriously obdurate captain – he faced 144 balls for his 25 – and, in turn, suffered fewer alarms than his senior partner.
Just as in the first innings, when he was run out in a mix-up with Root, there was nothing he could do about his dismissal as a delivery from Ashwin scuttled along the ground and struck him at the bottom of the pad.
“It’s an unbelievable innings for a 19-year-old,” said former England captain Michael Vaughan. “We’ve been saying for two days that someone would eventually get a low ball.”
Even then, England looked well placed for a final-day rearguard when Cook was together with Joe Root.
However, from the second ball of the final over, the skipper looked to work Jadeja to the leg side, missed and this time could not be saved by technology.
Bowlers continue good work
At the beginning of the day it was reasonable to assume India would score runs at leisure before choosing their moment to declare.
That was to discount an England bowling effort that continued the good work of the fourth evening and was led by Stuart Broad and Adil Rashid, who both claimed four wickets.
Pace bowler Broad, with a strained tendon in his foot, probed the off stump and, finding variable bounce, had both Ajinkya Rahane and Ashwin caught behind the wicket.
Leg-spinner Rashid, England’s most dependable slow bowler in this series, trapped Wriddhiman Saha with a googly and had Umesh Yadav edge to wicketkeeper Bairstow either side of Kohli being brilliantly held by Stokes at slip for 81.
A last-wicket stand of 42 between Mohammed Shami and Jayant Yadav looked like being the lowest part of England’s day, until the departures of Hameed and, most disappointingly, Cook.
‘We’ve definitely got a chance’
England pace bowler Stuart Broad: “It’s a bit of a shame to end the day like that but if you offered us to be two down at the end of today we’d have definitely taken it.
“We need to discuss the plan for tomorrow and hopefully we can save the game. There wasn’t a huge amount going on with the pitch. It’s not doing anything horrific so we’ve definitely got a chance tomorrow.”