India 294 for 7 (Pant 101, Sundar 60*, Anderson 3-40) lead England 205 by 89 runs
A day of two halves in Ahmedabad saw India seize control of the fourth Test, as an innings of two halves from Rishabh Pant cut England down to size. Pant’s maiden hundred on home soil was a masterpiece of adapting his game to the demands of conditions and match situation, and by the time he had flamed out, English hopes of hanging in the game had largely gone up in smoke.
Seeking the sort of first-innings runs that would define the contest, India had stuttered and stumbled to 146 for 6 during the afternoon session, as England succeeded in their attempts to control the run rate while making regular incisions. Ben Stokes, who hurled himself through 20 overs in the day for the wickets of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, and James Anderson set the tone from the outset as Joe Root shuffled his hand adroitly in defence of his side’s mediocre efforts with the bat.
But the struggles of Dom Bess left England’s four-man attack stretched, as a century stand between Pant and Washington Sundar wrested back control. Initially, runs came in circumspect fashion as India sought to rebuild, and had Bess been granted an lbw decision when Pant had 35 – Nitin Menon’s call was upheld by the narrowest of margins on DRS – things could have taken a wholly different course. As it was, Pant took the game into his own hands.
A watchful half-century from 82 balls provided the kindling for Pant to ignite against a toiling opposition late in the day. Sparks flew and runs flowed, England’s plans to bowl dry blown clean out of the water on a parched late Gujarati afternoon, as Pant raced on to his hundred in the space of another 33 deliveries. He fell moments later, but Sundar carried on the good work to the close to leave India in sight of 300 and a potentially decisive lead.
More to follow…
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