Nagpur, Dec 15: MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli led India's spirited comeback into the fourth and final Test against England. While Kohli reached to his hundred, Dhoni was run out on 99. At stumps on third day, India were 297/8 in 130.1 overs, still 33 in arrears.
Scorecard; Pictures Day 3
After having played so well for major part of the day, India allowed England to claw back when they lost four wickets in the final session. England will be happy with the way they succeeded in the post-tea session after toiling hard for wickets.
The way Dhoni and Kohli batted, it was appearing that they would remain together till the end of the day. They were not troubled by any England bowler. They were content to stay in the middle. In today's play India, resuming at 87/4 from Friday, made 210 runs for four wickets in 89.1 overs.
Both Dhoni and Kohli, known for their stroke-play in all formats of the game, today opted to display the other side of their batting. The situation too, demanded that sort of approach.
Kohli completed his third Test hundred, all three this year. And overall this was his 8th international ton in 2012. The right-hander faced 295 balls for his 103 (11x4) and was dismissed LBW by Graeme Swann.
When Kohli departed after a 198-run partnership with Dhoni in 84.3 overs (more than 500 balls), India were 269/5. That triggered a flurry of wickets with debutant Ravindra Jadeja (12), Dhoni (99) and Piyush Chawla (1) following the centurion. Chawla was out off the last ball of the day, bowled by Swann.
Dhoni, who was stuck in the 90s for over 1 hour, was in a hurry to get to 100 and attempted a sharp single to mid-off when captain Alastair Cook effected a direct hit and third umpire S Ravi gave the batsman out.
Dhoni's bat was on the line and his 246-ball marathon innings with eight boundaries and a six met a tragic end. This was the first time in his Test career that Dhoni had played so many deliveries. His previous longest innings in terms of balls was 187.
The next two days of this Test are likely to be interesting. India need to win to level the series as they trail 1-2.
At tea, India 227/4
Dhoni and Kohli continued India's fightback and batted out another session to take India to 227/4 in 100 overs at tea on third day of fourth Test against England
Both Dhoni and Kohli completed half centuries and India are now 103 runs behind. Between lunch and team, the duo added 81 runs in 27 overs. In the process they completed 150-run partnership.
England took the second new ball after 80 overs but could not separate the Indian pair. So far, the partnership is 156 off 410 balls. Dhoni is on 75 (186 balls, 7x4, 1x6) while Kohli is batting on 77 (234 balls, 8x4).
Towards the later part of the second session, Dhoni and Kohli started to accelerate. They have given India a chance here to come back into the game after being hopelessly placed at 71/4 on Friday.
At lunch, India 146/4
Dhoni and Kohli began the day on a cautious note and remained together till lunch as India made slow progress to 146/4 in 73 overs on the third day of fourth Test against England on Saturday.
It was a cautious approach by the duo and it paid off. The need of the hour was to stay at the crease and Dhoni, Kohli have done that. The best part of the session was India did not lose a wicket. Both Dhoni and Kohli discarded their natural game of playing shots. It was just defended, defended and defended. There was a period where India did not score a run for 27 balls.
From 87/4, India added 59 runs in the first two hours today. They batted out 32 overs. Kohli is on 46 while Dhoni has moved to 31. Kohli has so far faced 155 balls and Dhoni 103. So far, Dhoni-Kohli partnership has yielded 75 runs from 41.2 overs. They came together with India tottering at 71/4 on Saturday.
Start of day update
India's dismal batting performance throughout the series has come back to haunt them and with start of third day of fourth Test against England, it will all depend on captain MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and the lower order.
Saturday's play will be crucial for India's chances in this Test. Overnight batsmen Dhoni and Kohli have to get the team out of the woods as they are tottering at 87/4 in reply to the tourists' 330.
James Anderson was outstanding on Friday as he took three wickets including Sachin Tendulkar. Graeme Swann had one wicket, that of Cheteshwar Pujara, though the batsman was unlucky to be given out when he did not hit the ball with the bat.
The series stands in England's favour at 2-1. A big day today for India. Can they bail themselves out?