London, July 20: The second Test was headed for nail-biting finish with England needing 214 runs with six wickets intact on a tricky fifth day track as India rode on Ravindra Jadeja's brilliant counter-attack to set a competitive target of 319 here today.
It was a day when fortunes swung like a pendulum as England finished the fourth day's play at 105 for four on deteriorating track. If India manage to pull of a win, it will be their first at the 'Mecca of Cricket' in 28 years having last time won here in 1986.
England lost three wickets in a space of 14 deliveries with an addition of two runs. From a comfortable 70 for one, they slumped to 72 for four. Ishant Sharma (2/13 in 10 overs) removed seasoned Ian Bell (1) with an incutter while skipper Alastair Cook (22) did all the hardwork before fishing oustide the off-stump to give Mahendra Singh Dhoni a simple catch.
Mohammed Shami (1/20) also fared much better than the first innings removing centurion Gary Ballance (27) with an away going delivery. While India have their nose slightly ahead, a lot of credit should go to Ravindra Jadeja for his belliegerent 57-ball-68 (9x4) that enabled India to reach 342 thereby extending their lead to a healthy 318.
Murali Vijay (95) missed century by a whisker while Bhuvneshwar Kumar (52, 71 balls) continued his stupendous all-round show. It was the 99-run eighth wicket stand between Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar that could well turn out to be decisive in the final context of the game.
At stumps on fourth day, youngsters Joe Root and Moeen Ali were at the crease batting on 14 and 15 respectively. A rough has been created on one end with left-arm spinner Jadeja (1/32) looking dangerous for the first time with but turn and bounce off the pitch while the odd ball also kept low forcing Dhoni to stand atleast 10 feet behind to a slow bowler.
It will be an uphill task for England if they manage to successfully chase down the total which will be their second highest having chased down 332 in an Ashes Test at the MCG way back in 1928-29.
A successfull chase from the home team will be the second highest chase at this ground with West Indies having chased 344 against England in 1984 courtesy a crushing double hundred by Gordon Greenidge.