Nottingham, July 12: The fourth day of the first Test totally belonged to Joe Root and James Anderson as the pair’s record 10th wicket partnership not only took away India’s hope of an outside chance of a victory but also put England in the driver’s seat going into the fifth and final day at Trent Bridge here Saturday.
Resuming the day at 352/9, Root (154 not out) and Anderson (81) put together 198 runs to help England finish 39 runs ahead of India’s total of 457. This is a remarkable achievement considering the hosts were reeling at 298/9 Friday and the duo not only bailed out England but also helped them take reach a total of 496.
The partnership became the highest for the 10th-wicket in Test cricket, surpassing the previous record held by Australia’s Phillip Hughes and Ashton Agar, who together made 163 against England in July 2013 on the very same ground.
In their second innings, the visitors were cruising at 140/1 before losing opener Murali Vijay (52) and Cheteshwar Pujara (55) off consecutive deliveries to put India in a precarious position.
India will resume play on Day 5 at 167/3 with a lead of 128 runs with Virat Kohli (8 not out) and Ajinkya Rahane (18 not out) at the crease. They will have try their best to not lose any more wickets to give themselves some stability.
Root and Anderson put on 133 runs in 34 overs in the morning session to take the hosts well past the Indian total. The Indian bowlers, who appeared quite lethal Friday, were completely helpless and failed to scalp the last wicket.
Root, who resumed at 78 not out, brought up his fourth century in Tests as the 23-year-old hit 15 boundaries in his 295-ball knock. He was given good support by Anderson, who also achieved a personal milestone by scoring his first half-century in his 95th Test.
A certain kind of history was also etched in the match. This is the first time that there have been two century partnerships for the 10th wicket in one match after Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami put on 111 runs during India’s first innings.
India needed only 4.5 overs in the second session to bowl out England. Their frustration ultimately ended when tailender Anderson was caught brilliantly by Shikhar Dhawan at first slip off the bowling of Bhuvneshwar, who clinched the first five-wicket haul of his Test career (5/82).
The Indian openers started well with Dhawan (29) accelerating at run-a-ball but an unnecessary down-the-track shot lobbed the ball directly into spinner Moeen Ali’s hands, who was more than welcome to hold on to it.
Vijay, who scored a century in the first innings, partnered Pujara for a steady 91-run partnership before both literally gave away their wickets off successive deliveries. Suddenly from a solid looking 140/1, India were down to 140/3 in a matter of minutes before Kohli and Rahane saw off the next 6.5 overs.