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Trio of late wickets leave India in control

By Callum Dent

India’s seamers struck three times in quick succession on day four to put them in pole position to win the second Investec Test at Lord’s.

In pursuit of a victory target of 319, the hosts battled their way to 70 for one courtesy of a 58-run second-wicket partnership between Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance.

However, the dismissal of the latter triggered a dramatic collapse that saw England lose a trio of scalps for the addition of just two runs.

After Ballance edged the first ball of Mohammed Shami’s second spell behind, Ishant bowled Ian Bell and then had Cook held by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a devastating 20-ball spell.

Joe Root and Moeen Ali saw England through to 105 for four at stumps, requiring another 214 runs for victory on a pitch offering huge assistance to the bowlers.

That makes the tourists favourites to move 1-0 ahead in the five-match series tomorrow, but Peter Moores’ side will take inspiration from the way they fought in the Sri Lanka Test at Headingley earlier in the summer, when they were two deliveries away from batting out the final day for a draw.

India paceman Ishant Sharma is mobbed by his team-mates after dismissing Alastair Cook to leave England wobbling on 72 for four at Lord's

England started well this morning and India required an exciting eighth-wicket partnership of 99 between Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who made 68 and 52 respectively, to lift them to a second-innings 342. 

Murali Vijay, strong through the covers, and Dhoni looked to be giving India control during the first hour until Liam Plunkett again came to his team’s rescue.

Fresh from taking two wickets in as many deliveries late yesterday afternoon, the paceman ended Vijay and Dhoni's 79-run partnership by having the latter, who never looked comfortable and needed 17 balls to get off the mark today, caught in the slips by Bell. 

Moeen then struck with his fifth delivery when Stuart Binny played a reckless shot and Cook took a brilliant diving catch running backwards from mid-on.

The new ball proved to be Vijay’s downfall five runs short of a well-deserved century, the right-hander feeling outside off stump and feathering James Anderson behind to Matt Prior.

But just when England had aspirations of blowing away India’s lower order, they ran into a counter-attacking Jadeja and the stylish Bhuvneshwar.

Bhuvneshwar was given a life just before the lunch interval when he flashed at a Stuart Broad delivery and Root, at fourth slip, could not hold on.

Ravindra Jadeja produces another brutal shot during his maiden Test half-century off just 42 deliveries on the fourth afternoon

And Bhuvneshwar and Jadeja made them pay by taking the game to England in a potentially game-changing 11-over spell after the resumption that saw 67 vital runs scored.

During that time, the busy Jadeja produced some outrageous strokes, pulling and hooking as well as punishing anything full, before raising his bat for the first time in Tests from just 42 balls.

But his dismissal, caught by Cook after charging Ben Stokes, was the first of three for eight runs as England quickly wrapped up the tail in a frantic spell that also saw Bhuvneshwar move to his third fifty of the series.

The all-rounder was not finished there, however, trapping Sam Robson lbw with his first delivery of left-arm spin. 

But Cook and Ballance steadied the ship patiently until India took control by reducing England to 72 for four.

Root and Moeen, surviving a late lbw appeal from Jadeja, were then left with the responsibility of seeing their side through to the close without further loss.

Match scorecard  /  Live ball-by-ball commentary

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Evening Session   

England endured a tough session where they lost Ballance, Bell and Cook to finish 105 for four

6.31pm - STUMPS! Eng 105/4; Root 14, Ali 15 - Shikhar Dhawan comes on to bowl and has an lbw appeal turned down in the final over. But Root and Mooen survive and will come back tomorrow to try and knock off another 214 runs.

6.28pm - CHANCE! - Moeen tries to sweep and the ball flicks up and clips the back of his bat from his follow-through, but Dhoni cannot cling on. 

6.21pm - Root rocks onto the back foot to punch Jadeja through midwicket for a couple of raise the England 100. 

6.13pm -  Jadeja has a massive lbw appeal turned down against Moeen. Replays showed it was a poor decision not to give it out. 

6pm -  Root and Moeen are hanging in there. There are supposed to be 10 overs left in the day, but a few are expected to be shaved off that total. 

5.43pm -  Joe Root and Moeen Ali, who drives through the covers for four to get up and running, are charged with the task of rebuilding England's innings. It's gone very dark here. 

5.34pm - WICKET! Cook c Dhoni b Ishant 22; Eng 72/4 - Ishant, operating from round the wicket, tempts Cook into pushing outside off stump and finds the edge through to Dhoni. England in trouble now. 

5.21pm - WICKET! Bell b Ishant 1; Eng 71/3 - India are in control now as Ian Bell fails to get forward and is bowled by Ishant Sharma. 

5.12pm - WICKET! Ballance c Dhoni b Shami 27; Eng 70/2 - Mohammed Shami replaces Jadeja at the Nursery End and strikes with his first delivery. Ballance prods outside off stump and edges behind to Dhoni.

4.49pm -  Jadeja swaps ends and gets a delivery to spit out of the rough outside the off stump, with the ball falling just short of leg slip after brushing Cook's glove. A single into the leg side takes the second-wicket stand to 50 off 99 deliveries. 

4.37pm - Vijay is getting a bit of uneven bounce from the Nursery End, with a delivery that hardly leaves the ground beating Mahendra Singh Dhoni and bringing two byes. The floodlights are on here. It's getting a little dark. Is there rain on its way?

4.28pm - A controlled edge from Ballance off Jadeja, now operating from the Pavilion End, takes England past 50.

4.20pm - Murali Vijay, who took his maiden Test wicket in the first innings, is thrown the ball and sees a Ballance edge fly just past slip. 

4.10pm - Gary Ballance, continuing to be tested by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, takes advantage of a wide Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivery and cuts it for four. 

Afternoon Session

England finally dismissed India for 342 but there was disappointment before tea when Sam Robson was given out lbw


3.40pm - TEA! Eng 18/1; Cook 5, Ballance 1 - Jadeja's spin is causing problems for England's two left-handers. What a session that was. The 25-year-old has dragged his side into a strong position.

3.32pm - WICKET! Robson lbw Jadeja 7; Eng 12/1 -  Jadeja is now influencing matters with the ball, trapping Robson lbw with his first delivery. This is not the start England wanted. 

3.27pm - Sam Robson confidently clips Shami through midwicket for four. Ishant Sharma then replaces Shami at the Pavilion End. 

3.15pm - Bhuvneshwar, now with the ball in hand, goes up for a huge caught-behind appeal against Cook, but the umpire is unmoved. Replays show there was no edge. There are 45 overs left today. 

2.57pm - WICKET AND END OF INNINGS! Bhuvneshwar c Bell b Stokes 52; Ind 342 all out - Bell makes no mistake this time, holding on to a Bhuvneshwar edge in the cordon off Stokes, who finishes with three wickets. England need 319 to win.   

2.50pm - FIFTY! Bhuvneshwar (65b 8x4 0x6) - Bhuvneshwar drives Stokes down the ground to reach a half-century. India's lead is 318. How many more can they add? 

2.44pm - WICKET! Shami c Prior b Moeen 0; Ind 338/9 - Moeen has Mohammed Shami caught behind to leave India on the brink. 

2.39pm - WICKET! Jadeja c Cook b Stokes 68; Ind 334/8 - Jadeja's superb knock comes to an end when he advances down the pitch and skies a Stokes bouncer to Cook. 

2.38pm - CHANCE! - Bhuvneshwar now gets a life as an attempted cut shot off Moeen Ali brushes his glove and is dropped by Matt Prior. 

2.32pm - CHANCE! - Ben Stokes, replacing Plunkett at the Nursery End, sees Ian Bell drop Jadeja at midwicket. This session is not going to plan for Alastair Cook's side. 

2.30pm - Bhuvneshwar is now punishing England. He guides back-to-back fours through the vacant gully region to move on to 44.  

2.20pm - Bhuvneshwar clips Stuart Broad through midwicket and the pair run four. He replicates the shot next ball for a couple. India's lead is approaching 300 now. 

2.07pm - Some unbelievable shots from Jadeja. He straight-drives Anderson over his head and then pulls another four. This could well be a game-changing innings. Bhuvneshwar also joins the party, with a boundary off the Lancastrian. India have taken 35 runs from the five overs since the resumption. 

2pm - FIFTY! Jadeja (42b 7x4 0x6) - Jadeja takes a single into the off side to raise his maiden five-day fifty as well as the half-century stand with Bhuvneshwar Kumar. 

1.57pm - James Anderson responds to Jadeja's assault by hitting the batsman on the helmet with a fierce bouncer. There is a slight delay while Jadeja changes his lid but keeps his grill. This is a great battle. 

1.50pm - Ravindra Jadeja is hurting England here, surpassing his previous-best Test score of 43 against Australia by driving Liam Plunkett over extra-cover. He is three short of a half-century.

Morning Session      

England took three wickets after lunch but Ravindra Jadeja's counter-attack swung the session back towards India

1pm - LUNCH! Ind 267/7; Jadeja 37, Bhuvneshwar 13 - Jadeja will not want the interval to arrive. He is extending India's lead, which now stands at 243, with an array of powerful strokes. 

12.53pm - Jadeja takes two boundaries from a Broad over that costs 10. Firstly, he lofts the bowler back over his head before beating the man on the midwicket boundary with a pull. 

12.49pm - CHANCE! - Bhuvneshwar Kumar flashes at Broad but Root, at fourth slip, cannot hold on. That was a big chance for England. 

12.47pm - Jadeja is continuing to attack, walking down the pitch before crashing Anderson through the covers. An lbw shout is then turned down. There is still something in the pitch for the bowlers. 

12.33pm - WICKET! Vijay c Prior b Anderson 95; Ind 235/7 - The new ball does the trick for England. Vijay feels outside off stump and feathers Anderson behind to Matt Prior. A superb innings from the opening batsman. 

12.30pm -  Jadeja is scoring freely. The left-hander shows no respect for the fresh cherry by swishing Anderson behind square before flicking Broad, returning to the attack, to the fine-leg rope.  

12.20pm - England take the new ball. This is an important passage of play. India lead by 201. 

12.13pm - Ravindra Jadeja clubs Moeen through midwicket for four before mis-timing a drive that loops over Plunkett at point. The over costs 12. The new ball is available after Plunkett's next set of six. 

12pm - WICKET! Binny c Cook b Moeen 0; Ind 203/6 - Moeen Ali is introduced into the attack and strikes with his fifth delivery. Stuart Binny tries to go over the top but only succeeds in skying the ball and Alastair Cook, running backwards from mid-on, makes up a lot of ground to take a brilliant diving catch. 

11.53am - WICKET! Dhoni c Bell b Plunkett 19; Ind 202/5 - Plunkett delivers again! Dhoni fishes outside off stump and edges the paceman to Ian Bell in the cordon. 

11.51am - Dhoni takes a couple into the leg side to lift India to 200. They are in control here. 

11.43am - Ben Stokes, on for Anderson at the Pavilion End, sees a full delivery to Vijay fly through the covers for another four. England need a breakthrough fast. 

11.31am -  The India fans are in full voice when Vijay produces an immaculate on-drive for four off Plunkett. In the next over, Anderson's lbw appeal against Dhoni is turned down due to the ball hitting bat first. 

11.27am -  Dhoni flicks Anderson off his hips to collect his first runs of the day from the 17th ball he faces this morning. Liam Plunkett replaces Broad at the Nursery End.  

11.21am -  Vijay finds the third-man rope yet again, edging Broad just wide of a diving Joe Root at third slip. 

11.18am - Dhoni, yet to get off the mark today, plays and misses at James Anderson, bowling in tandem with Broad.  

11.04am - Murali Vijay opens the face and guides Stuart Broad's first ball down to the third-man boundary to bring up the fifty partnership with Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Broad leaks 12 from his opening set of six.

Pre-Play News

10.55am - Former India legend Kapil Dev, a World Cup winner in 1983, rings the five-minute bell.  

10.50am -  Liam Plunkett followed up his maiden Test half-century with two wickets in as many balls late yesterday afternoon to drag England back into the contest. In his post-match interview last night, the 29-year-old spoke about how early wickets are key for his side this morning.

10.40am -  We are all set for another enthralling day of Test cricket here. There is no sign of any rain yet today, although it is a little overcast. The sun is expected to break through later on. 

10.30am -  Good morning and welcome to live coverage of day four of the second Investec Test between England and India at Lord's.   

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