The third Test between India and England ebbed and flowed, just when India looked to be completely on top, England were right there, staying in contention. On day 4, there was a similar phase of play.
After losing Joe Root in the 67th over to Ravindra Jadeja, the English pair of Chris Woakes and Haseeb Hameed displayed incredible spirit as their dogged display of resilience was slowly giving England the lead.
Test cricket does not give you the chance to blink, and for Virat Kohli’s men, it was very important for them to realize the damage that the pair were slowly, but surely, doing to them. Having steadied the ship, they took England’s lead to over 50.
Early on in their partnership, they had to face a trial by spin as Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin fired away 6 overs each. Jadeja had looked incredibly impressive until that point, picking 2 of the 3 wickets in the day so far, while Ashwin was closing in on another fifer.
It wasn’t going to be easy, but Hameed and Woakes were just starting to show their teammates that if you stay patient enough, runs will come by.
They had seen off the spin threat, and after a couple of overs of spin with the new ball, Virat Kohli decided it was time to let his seamers into the act.
Over to Mohammed Shami
In the last couple of months, Mohammed Shami has delivered two moments of magic to Indian fans. First, when he destroyed BJ Watling’s stumps and more recently, when Alastair Cook met with the same fate.
On the 83rd over, the Indian fans would be treated to another incredible spell of play.
On the very first ball, he bowls a fiery short ball, that hits Woakes straight on the helmet. The ferocity of the delivery was enough to dislodge Woakes’ protective rear-flaps at the back of his helmet. He was rattled, Shami went over to offer a few words of comfort.
The commentators wondered what the response would be from both players. Had Shami softened after his moment of compassion for Woakes?
On the next delivery, Shami showed no mercy, bowling a rasping bouncer, knowing very well that Woakes would still have skeletons in his mind from the previous delivery. And surely enough, not prepared to take one on the helmet again, Woakes was stuck, in the end, offering his bat close to his head for protection. It would cannon into his bat and balloon into the hands of Parthiv Patel.
Out walked Adil Rashid, like prey dangling in front of Shami.
Shami bowls a full delivery, taking Rashid by surprise first up, he defends awkwardly. The very next ball was a bouncer again, Rashid was in no position to play the shot and ended up pulling it awkwardly, finding Umesh Yadav at fine leg.
Final nail in the coffin
Shami’s brutal attack proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the English. With Woakes and Hameed at the crease, they looked like they might stretch to lead to 150 to put pressure on India. But with the two wickets in a single over, Shami ensured that the English only held a lead of 61 with one wicket to spare.
India’s pace spearhead ensured that India would be in a strong position to win the Test with only 102 to chase down.