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Records tumble in extraordinary stand

By Matt Somerford

A world-record last-wicket partnership between Joe Root and James Anderson gave England an unlikely sniff of victory in the first Investec Test against India at Trent Bridge.

Their 198-run stand smashed the previous world mark set here almost a year ago to the day – when Australia duo Ashton Agar and Phil Hughes put on 163 – during an extraordinary morning session to turn the match.

Root’s fourth century was almost lost amid the cavalcade of new Test bests that were set before lunch, which included Anderson pocketing the highest score by an England number 11.

By the time Anderson was finally dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar shortly after lunch for 81, England had claimed a scarcely-believable 39-run first-innings lead.

England were not initially able to profit on the momentum that Root and Anderson’s heroics generated when they took to the field – as expected on a lifeless wicket – until two wickets in as many balls half an hour before stumps.

Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara had serenely progressed to half-centuries before some compliant dismissals to Moeen Ali and Liam Plunkett offered a flicker of hope England could yet win the game.

India were therefore left on 167 for three – and a lead of 128 runs – at stumps and needing still to do some batting on the final day to ensure a draw.

Joe Root and James Anderson embrace after the Yorkshireman reached his fourth Test century during an extraordinary morning session

The fact that England were not only in safe waters, but having also stolen away the best chance of India pressing for victory, owed exclusively to Root - who finished unbeaten on 154 - and Anderson following a partnership that will take some shifting from the record books they spent most of the morning re-writing.

Anderson was an unlikely hero – his highest competitive score was 49 for Burnley in club cricket a decade ago – but he dovetailed supremely with Root to initially help usher the Yorkshireman to his century.

Root had been on 50 when Anderson strode out to join him at 298 for nine yesterday, so when he reached three figures – with back-to-back boundaries – he ran immediately to his team-mate to offer a hug of appreciation.

It was just the start of a captivating session as India were left bedraggled amid sumptuous strokeplay and falling records.

Anderson had hinted at what was to come when he clipped Bhuvneshwar to the midwicket rope in the first over of the day.

He continued to play with freedom and, after a one-handed pull for four brought up his maiden half-century, in his 94th Test, he eased past John Snow’s England record of 59 for a number 11.

The 111-year-old England record for the 10th-wicket was also ticked off, before the world mark was then also hoovered up to the delight of the Trent Bridge crowd.

Root and Anderson were cheered by all when lunch was taken 30 minutes late – because England were nine down – and the prospect of Anderson becoming the first number 11 to make a Test ton sat as a realistic hope as the punters enjoyed their food.

Matt Prior celebrates after catching Murali Vijay, having earlier failed to hold on to an edge behind from the opener off paceman Anderson

He could not add to his interval score, however, as he became Bhuvneshwar’s fifth victim of the innings when edging to Shikhar Dhawan at first slip.

In the hour before tea, England made a single breakthrough, when Dhawan slapped a Moeen full-toss back to the spinner, but making headway was proving difficult in the conditions.

But with thoughts just starting to drift towards the second Test at Lord’s – England struck twice in succession.

Vijay stormed down the wicket at Moeen and feathered an edge behind with Matt Prior - who had earlier missed a chance offered by the opener - catching and taking the bails in any case.

At the start of the next over from Plunkett, Pujara then picked out Ben Stokes at backward point where he completed a juggled catch.

Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli steered India through the final half-hour to prevent any more damage and will have more work to do again tomorrow, when some rain is forecast.

Match Scorecard / Live ball-by-ball commentary

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Evening Session

6.33pm - STUMPS! - Ind 167/3; Kohli 8 Rahane 18 - A barely-forgettable day comes to an end with India holding a lead of 128 runs. England can take some hope into the final day that they might yet pull off a stunning win, although a lifeless wicket will ensure the draw remains the most likely outcome.

6.22pm - England appeal for a catch behind against Rahane, but umpire Bruce Oxenford is not fooled by the sound of the ball hitting thigh pad as Plunkett drifted down leg side. Rahane then responded with a couple of boundaries to take him to 18 from 18 balls.

6.15pm - The two new batsmen - Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane - are in watchful mode as they look to see through these final 15 minutes. England would love one more before the close - especially Kohli who is still yet to score after nine balls.

6pm - WICKET! Pujara c Stokes b Plunkett 55; 140/3 - Well, well, well. Perhaps this game isn't done yet. Two wickets in two balls as Pujara picks out Stokes at backward point. The all-rounder spilled the ball initially, but recovered to dive back and take the catch.

5.57pm - WICKET! Vijay c Prior b Moeen 52; 140/2 - A second wicket for Moeen. Take your pick how he is out. He stormed down the wicket and if he didn't feather an edge to Prior the wicketkeeper made sure he was on his way by flicking off the bails.

5.54pm - FIFTY! Pujara (95b 7x4 0x6) - Plunkett drops short and Pujara leaps all over it, sending his seventh boundary to the square-leg rope.

5.41pm - FIFTY! Vijay (111b 7x4 1x6) - Vijay knocks Moeen away for a single and he has a half-century to go with the ton he made in the first innings.

5.30pm - Vijay gets down the wicket to Moeen and lofts him over long-on with some ease. Despite the situation requiring little aggression, you get the feeling India are intent on attacking the spinner and getting the quicker bowlers back on to increase their workload.

5.16pm - The players are taking drinks with the score 97 for one. India are therefore 58 runs ahead. I suspect Moeen Ali might have a bit of work to do until stumps with 19 overs to be bowled.

5.07pm - It is not the most interesting of sessions unfortunately. India look content to bat this match through to the end and take a draw. There's not much urgency and perhaps the tourists are thinking that putting some miles in the legs of the England bowlers at the start of a five-match series is the primary aim.

4.57pm - James Anderson and Stuart Broad have taken over the duty of plugging away. There is a little bit of reverse-swing to create a bit of interest. Prior is standing up to the stumps too.

4.45pm - Stokes over-pitches and he pays for it. Pujara crunches it through the covers for four. As if we needed reminding, this pitch is difficult work for the bowlers. India are 51 ahead.

4.30pm - Stokes is bending his back to try and finding anything out of this tired wicket. He did manage to surprise Pujara with some extra bounce in the previous over and the ball hit high up the bat near the handle, but it flew away safely between the slips and gully for two. India are 78 for one - that's a lead of 39 runs.

4.18pm - Stokes and Liam Plunkett are plugging away at the start of this evening session. We still have 32 overs to bowl today so we will certainly play until 6.30pm.  

4.02pm - Ben Stokes bowls the first over after tea and it is an eventful one. Cheteshwar Pujara steers away a boundary before getting an edge that flies through where first slip would have been. Instead, Matt Prior's valiant dive comes to nothing as he can't make up the ground.

Afternoon Session

3.42pm - TEA! - Ind 57/1; Vijay 19 Pujara 8 - Moeen claims the only wicket of the session and India are effectively 18 for one.

3.34pm - WICKET! Dhawan c & b Moeen 29; Ind 49/1 - Moeen strikes in his first over, albeit with a full toss. Dhawan can not believe he has smacked the ball back into the waiting hands of the spinner. It was a smart catch and Moeen won't mind how it came about.

Perhaps buoyed by that Moeen has tried another full toss. This one disappears to the long-off rope though as Cheteshwar Pujara starts with successive boundaries.

3.20pm - Alastair Cook does swing that bowling change bringing on Liam Plunkett and he almost gets a wicket first ball. Dhawan cuts just short of a diving Ben Stokes at backward point. Dhawan then crashes away the seventh four of the innings to wipe out England's 39-run first-innings lead.

3.10pm - India's openers have been fairly untroubled so far. Dhawan and Vijay have traded boundaries in the past couple of overs and India are 31 for none after seven overs. With half-an-hour to go before tea we might be in for a bowling change soon.

2.57pm - Broad finds Dhawan's edge only to see the ball squirt away at a catchable height between second slip and gully. Chances are being created.

2.52pm - CHANCE! - Matt Prior has missed the chance to catch Murali Vijay before he had scored. Anderson finds a regulation edge and the ball dipped as it got to Prior who was left clutching at thin air. 

2.50pm - After James Anderson begins with a maiden before Shikhar Dhawan takes six from Stuart Broad's first over, highlighted by a confident cut shot past point.

2.31pm - END OF INNINGS! - Anderson c Dhawan b Bhuvneshwar 81; Eng 496 - The fun is over. Anderson flashes a big drive at Bhuvneshwar Kumar and edges it to first slip where Shikhar Dhawan takes a sharp catch low to his right. Joe Root is left unbeaten on 154 and their record-breaking stand will go into the history books as being worth 198.

England's lead is 39.

2.15pm - 150! Root (283b 15x4 0x6) - Joe Root drives Ishant Sharma through mid-on for four and that brings up his 150. The next ball Ishant thinks he has Root caught behind, but there was no edge as he wafted at a wide ball.

The tall quick and Root then exchanged a couple of words just to clarify their points of view.

Morning Session

1.30pm - LUNCH! - Eng 485/9; Root 143 Anderson 81 - The Trent Bridge fans are on their feet and offer a rousing applause for Root and Anderson as they head off for their lunch. Their stand is worth 187 runs. Wow.

1.22pm - Root hits his first boundary for 82 balls. It was worth the wait as Stuart Binny is cover-driven away after over-pitching. Lunch will be taken at 1.30pm. I reckon these two will enjoy getting back to the pavilion.

1.15pm - Anderson clips Shami through midwicket for four. He's on 75 and apparently no number 11 has ever batted longer than him. Certainly, it must feel like that for the Indians.

1.09pm - We have another record. Root turns away a single and the world record last-wicket stand has been cast into the dustbin with all the others this morning. The old record was, of course, made on this same ground last year when Ashton Agar and Phil Hughes put on 163 for Australia. They might have expected that record to have lasted a little longer than it has.

12.56pm - England are ahead. Root plays away a single and, astonishingly, India's 457 has been surpassed. Worse still for the tourists, with England nine down I imagine that lunch will be delayed.

12.53pm - England are level! Anderson pops Vijay back over his head for four. Amazing.

12.49pm - Root reverse-sweeps Jadeja for a couple of runs to bring up the 150-run parternship. These two have been batting for 170 minutes.

12.34pm - We've hit a bit of a lull in the record breaking, in that we haven't had one for 20 minutes. That said, I'm not so sure there are any records left for these two to break. Perhaps the most significant milestone ahead is the 14 runs England need to erase India's lead.

12.26pm - It doesn't seem unrealistic to suggest we could be toasting an Anderson century at some stage today which, ironically, was a notion that was completely unrealistic at any point in history until today. He's just pinged Jadeja into the square-leg rope to go to 64. The deficit is 17.

12.14pm - New broken stat alert. This partnership is now the record last-wicket stand ever for England in Test cricket. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is having a morning to forget and he fails to glove a Ravindra Jadeja delivery to allow four byes. That takes Root and Anderson past the previous record of 130 held by Tip Foster and Wilfred Rhodes back in 1903 at Sydney. Their place in history is, sadly for them, lost after 111 years.

12.10pm - The record books need pulping. Here's another broken stat. Anderson has beaten the record score by an England number 11 as he goes by the 59 made by John Snow against West Indies at the Kia Oval in 1966.

11.59am - FIFTY! Anderson (61b 11x4 0x6) - Just to clarify that, yes, the Anderson who has scored 50 is James Anderson. His first ever in first-class cricket. Just the lazy 11 boundaries to get there too and, fittingly, he finds the rope to bring up the landmark. He steps away and dismissively swats Shami to the square-leg rope. The Trent Bridge crowd stand up as one - they have loved this. 

11.56am - Root crunches Ishant Sharma backward of point for four and the stand is now worth 111 - the same amount that India's last pair Bhuvneshwar and Mohammed Shami put on.

11.48am - CHANCE! - Anderson given a life. India can hardly afford that. England's number 11 steers away a short ball to gully where a stiff looking Murali Vijay was slow to get down to a low catch. Anderson takes a single and he's on 47 - a maiden half-century in his 94th Test awaits.

11.44am - CENTURY PARTNERSHIP! - The records keep coming. The second century last-wicket stand of the game is completed. It's come from 139 balls - that's fair going - and while we've barely had an hour of play today, India look like they might prefer to be anywhere else.

11.36am - CENTURY! - Root (186b 12x4 0x6) - Back-to-back boundaries and Root has his ton. The shot to bring it up was a delightful carve through point. He's straight down the wicket to hug Anderson and thank him for ushering him to his milestone. Root was on 50 when this stand began.

11.26am - Root ticks the partnership into record status with a couple off Bhuvneshwar before pulling away a ball that was far too short on this pitch. The Yorkshireman is 88 and the deficit is down to 83.

11.20am - We're four overs into the day and another 15 runs have been added. Root and Anderson are a run shy of England's record 10th-wicket stand against India.

11.13am - Anderson produces another stunning shot as he gets on the back foot and carves Bhuvneshwar through cover for the seventh boundary of his innings. He's 31 and three shy of his highest Test score.

11.04am - Joe Root took a single from the first ball of the day and appeared apologetic to James Anderson for exposing him. He need not have been as Anderson clipped Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the midwicket rope.

Pre-Play News

10.40am - Root has just completed his net with the India batsmen warming up alongside him. On the other side of the ground England's bowlers - minus Anderson - have been doing some run throughs.

10.30am - Welcome to our live blog for the fourth day. The weather forecasters have insisted all week that the rain is coming - it isn't. There is not a cloud in the sky, it's warm and the conditions for cricket could not be better.

Well the bowlers might think differently - especially on this pitch - but for the first part of the day at least England will look to crack on with the bat as Joe Root and James Anderson resume their last-wicket stand, which has so far frustrated India to the tune of 54 runs.

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