Oman Observer

India strike just before lunch to halt England fightback

SOUTHAMPTON, England: India took three wickets on a morning of fluctuating fortunes as England established a lead of 65 in their second innings before losing opener Keaton Jennings in the final over before lunch on the third day of the fourth test in Southampton on Saturday.
Opener and captain Joe Root had looked to be edging England in front but Jennings was trapped lbw on 36 by Mohammed Shami to reduce the home side to 92-3. Root is unbeaten on 30.
That total represented something of a recovery after India struck twice within the first 12 overs to remove Alastair Cook (12) and Moeen Ali (9), who was promoted up the order to allow Root to bat at his favoured position of four.
England resumed on six without loss — a deficit of 21 — with their openers finally hoping to post the sort of partnership that has eluded them all series.
Although they succeeded in seeing off the initial threat of Ravichandran Ashwin, who bowled three overs, the sight of Jasprit Bumrah replacing the spinner can hardly have filled them with confidence.
Bumrah had produced an unplayable ball to remove Jennings in the first innings and quickly accounted for Cook in the second when a full delivery was edged to KL Rahul, who hung on at the third attempt.
Moeen came in next, promoted up the order after scoring a double hundred for his county last month and then impressing with the bat in England’s first innings.
He never looked comfortable, though, guiding his first ball through the slips and then edging Ishant Sharma to Rahul, who took a fine low catch.
Sharma proved a real handful bowling round the wicket but was twice warned for running on the pitch with his follow through.
Another transgression would see him removed from the attack so Virat Kohli decided to replace him with Ashwin at the point when England were most under pressure.
The home side took full advantage of their good fortune, with Root and Jennings looking to edge England to the sort of total that might challenge India as the team batting last on a pitch offering hope to the spinners.
Root survived a review when India challenged a failed lbw shout from Bumrah, but DRS confirmed that the ball was too high.
Jennings batted positively against Ashwin, hitting him for two boundaries on either side of the wicket in one over before departing without posting the sort of score that would secure his position after a series of disappointing knocks.
His partnership with Root was worth 59.
England lead the five-test series 2-1. — Reuters