India were staring at a crushing defeat after yet another miserable batting display gave England a complete stranglehold in the third cricket Test in Southampton on Wednesday.
Chasing an improbable target of 445, India were tottering at 112 for four at stumps with Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma batting on 18 and 6 respectively. India still require 333 on the final day but more realistically have little chance of preventing England from equalizing the series with only six wickets in hand.
With Murali Vijay (12), Shikhar Dhawan (37), Cheteshwar Pujara (2) and Virat Kohli (28) back in the confines of the dressing room, the remaining batsmen need to bat out of their skin in order to save the match.
After being all-out for 330 in their first innings, India conceded a huge first innings lead of 269 runs but Alastair Cook decided against enforcing the follow-on in order to give his tired bowlers some recovery time.
England scored at a quick clip to score 205 for four in 40.4 overs before declaring with a lead of 444 runs. Joe Root smashed his way to a 41-ball-56 (9x4) while skipper Cook having regained some form helped himself to an unbeaten 70 off 114 balls with seven boundaries.
With 22-yard strip producing some movement off it, the Indian batsmen did face some testing time with both Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad asking questions in the 'Corridor of uncertainty'. Shikhar Dhawan (37) played and missed on a number of occasions as he had no clue about the outgoing delivery from Jimmy Anderson while Murali Vijay didn't look in his usual composed self that he has been till now in the series.
Vijay (12) was run-out as he failed to beat a Stuart Broad throw. Cheteshwar Pujara (2)'s dry run continued as Chris Jordan showed his alertness at first slip latching onto a catch off part-time off-spinner Moeen Ali's (2/33) bowling.
Having lost two wickets for 29, the Delhi boys Kohli and Dhawan batted sensibly to add 51 runs for the third wicket before disaster struck again. The most disappointing was Dhawan's dismissal having done all the hardwork against pacers threw his wicket away as Joe Root bowled a classical off-break that kissed his edge for Jordan to grab his second catch in the slips.
Ali took his wickets tally to 11 when he bowled a straighter one which took Virat Kohli's outside edge which Jos Buttler fumbled before completing the catch.