After taking a slender first innings lead, England’s openers ensured that it was the visitors who go into the final day of the first Test at Rajkot against India holding all the aces. India were bowled out for 488, conceding a 49-run lead on the back of another fifty from Ravichandran Ashwin.
Beginning the day on 319/4, India knew that they needed Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane to bat long, if they were to have any chance of not just taking the lead but also increasing their slim chance of victory. Unfortunately, neither managed to hang in long enough on day four.
Instead the onus fell on Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha. Although the latter fell 15 short of his half-century, Ashwin batted brilliantly with the tail and brought up not only his fifty but also brought the deficit under 50.
In response, England’s opening pair of Alastair Cook and Haseeb Hameed brought up their first century partnership in Tests and the latter brought up his maiden Test fifty as the visitors ended the day on 114/0, with a lead of runs 163 runs going into the final day.
Here are some interesting numbers from the fourth day’s play at Rajkot where the match looks increasingly like it is set for a stalemate.
0 – Haseeb Hameed became the youngest England player since World War II to score a half-century in Tests. Although he is the third-youngest Englishman overall, after Dennis Compton and Jack Crawford, no one since World War II was younger while getting to this milestone.
1 – Before today, Nayan Mongia was the only Indian batsman to be dismissed Hit Wicket in both ODIs and Tests. Virat Kohli now joins him in that unique list.
2 – Virat Kohli is just the second Indian captain to be out Hit Wicket in Tests. The only other Indian captain to be dismissed this way was Lala Amarnath against West Indies at Chennai in 1949.
3 – This was Ravichandran Ashwin’s third fifty against England in Tests, seventh overall. His 70 is also his second-best score against England in Tests, behind only his 91* at Kolkata in 2012.
4 – Alastair Cook has been involved in four 100+ opening stands in India, which is the most by any visiting batsman, going past Matthew Hayden’s record of 3.
5 – Ravichandran Ashwin has five scores of 40 or more against India. It is the most he has against any team, second is four 40+ scores against West Indies.
6 – The number of Tests India have won at home after conceding first inngs lead batting second. Of those six wins, five have come since 2001.
13 – The number of consecutive home Tests in which India hadn’t conceded a first innings lead before today. In that time, their average first innings lead at home was 155.
50 – This was the 50th time that both teams have scored more than 480 in the first innings of a Test match. Of the previous 49 instances, 43 have been draws, while only four have been won by the team batting fourth.
2002 – The last India batsman to be dismissed Hit Wicket in Tests before Virat Kohli was VVS Laxman against West Indies at St John’s in 2002.
2012 – The last time India conceded a first innings lead at home was in 2012. That was also against England, at Nagpur, where they conceded a lead of 4 runs.