India v England: Tourists dominate on day three in Kolkata
India v England: The tourists tighten their grip on the third Test against India as they finished on 509-6, a lead of 193
Alastair Cook amassed 190 – falling just short of a third Test double hundred – as England built a healthy lead of 193 over India on day three on the third Test.
Matt Prior (40 n.o.) and Graeme Swann (21 n.o.) saw the tourists through to finish on 509-6 in Kolkata.
Cook, 27, will be infuriated with himself after he allowed a throw from Virat Kohli to hit the stumps as he tried to avoid the ball.
India took the wickets of Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen quickly to keep England in their sights after tea. But they will still have a mountain to climb on day four to get near to the visitors’ lead with the pitch already starting to break-up.
India just about stayed in touch at the close of play but were staring down the barrel after a 173-run partnership between Cook and Jonathan Trott, who scored 87.
Trott was the first wicket down halfway through the afternoon session with England on 338.
The South African-born batsman will be disappointed to miss out on a century after a run of 0,17,0 in the series so far.
Pragyan Ojha managed to get one to turn viciously with Trott on the front foot and the ball caught the edge on the way through to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
England were cruising at 357-2 as they looked to bat the hosts out of the game.
However, two runs later Cook was inexplicably run out by Kohli.
Pietersen knocked the ball to square-leg and Kohli raced round – showing an agility some of his team-mates are not so accustomed to – and threw to the non-striker’s end, where Cook lifted his bat, letting the ball hit the stumps.
His demise was certainly a surprise as he honed in on his third Test double hundred to add to his 294 against India two summers ago and 235 n.o versus Australia in Brisbane in 2010.
The tourists were well placed at tea on 393-3 but not long after the break India arguably gained some semblance of control with clutter of wickets.
First to go was Ian Bell (5) after a loose drive against Ishant Sharma was caught behind by Dhoni.
Sharma stuck to his brief admirably all day by being both economical and threatening on a docile pitch and certainly deserved at least a wicket.
Pietersen was dismissed for 54, hitting nine fours and a six, and was well set before playing over a Ravi Ashwin delivery on the sweep.
The off-spinner’s celebration was muted after another disappointing display with the ball.
Before the series, Ashwin was trumpeted as India’s premier spinner but Ohja has out bowled him since Ahmedabad.
While Ashwin has been expensive and has done little to threaten against England’s batsmen, he finished with figures of 52 overs for 183 runs collecting just the one wicket.
Prior did not allow Ashwin to settle either and used the reverse sweep to good effect.
Samit Patel showed glimpses of why many feel in and around the England set up that he is the best player of spin in the side.
Facing his seventh ball, Patel whipped Ashwin over midwicket for four.
The shot oozed confidence against slow-bowling but well set on 33 off 47 balls, he was caught at slip trying to expansively cut Ohja.
Swann was his usual troublesome self at the crease with Prior in tow, looking to keep the scoreboard ticking over with a range of shots.
Both batsmen remained until the close and will look to make hay on day four and give England a lead of over 250.