India vs England day four: Virat Kohli masterclass innings leaves tourists staring down the barrel

India 631, England 400 & 182-6: The India captain scored his third double-century of the year and a personal-best of 235

Chris Stocks
in Mumbai
Sunday 11 December 2016 11:02
Kohli scored a personal-best 235 in a ground-record total of 631
Kohli scored a personal-best 235 in a ground-record total of 631

This was a day when the records tumbled at the feet of Virat Kohli, India’s all-conquering captain. For England, though, only one statistic – the series scoreline – will count when this Fourth Test finishes tomorrow.

After reaching the close on 182 for six, Alastair Cook’s side, still trailing India by 49 runs, are heading for defeat and an irretrievable 3-0 deficit in the series ahead of next week’s final Test in Chennai.

They can have no complaints after Kohli’s batting masterclass helped the hosts take a vice-like grip on this contest. His 235 helped India post 631 in reply to England’s first-innings 400. However, it was an innings that transcended the match situation.

The 28-year-old’s third double hundred of the year was the highest score by an India captain, the most runs made by an Indian against England and the most runs made by an Indian here at the Wankhede Stadium.

Stylistically it was a masterpiece, too, Kohli working through the gears as he reached 147 last night and then putting his foot on the accelerator to reach 200 on this fourth morning. The single he took off Adil Rashid to get there was greeted by a noise that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

The reception when he finally departed, smashing Chris Woakes to deep-extra cover, was befitting of a gladiator in ancient Rome. The Wankhede was Kohli’s stage and be bestrode it like a colossus.

Kohli's double-century was met with an ovation from the Wankhede's home crowd

Make no mistake his contributions during a series that has seen him score 640 runs at an average of 128 have been the difference between the two sides. When he came to the crease on the third morning of this match, India were 146 for two and 254 runs behind England.

Even when he was joined at the crease by Jayant Yadav yesterday evening, the deficit was still 36.

Yet Kohli and Jayant put on stand of 241 – a record for India’s eighth wicket – that drove England to distraction.

Jayant’s own century in just his third Test hints at a future all-rounder who will have a fine career at this level. Indeed, his 104 was the highest Test score by an Indian No9, beating Farokh Engineer’s 90 against New Zealand at Chennai in 1965.

By the time Jayant’s innings was terminated shortly after lunch on this fourth day – stumped off Rashid – India had progressed to 605 for eight.

That represented the highest Test total made at the Wankhede Stadium and more runs were added before Woakes wrapped things up by dismissing Kohli and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Rashid posted the most expensive figures by any England bowler against India

Other statistical highlights from the tourists’ soul-destroying 182.3 overs in the field included Rashid, who had dropped Kohli on 68 on day three, returning the most expensive figures by an England bowler against India – the leg-spinner shipping 192 runs for his four wickets.

With a first-innings deficit of 231, England could not afford any early slip-ups. Yet that’s exactly what happened when debutant Keaton Jennings was trapped lbw by Kumar to the third ball of the innings. The opener became the first player to score a century in his first Test innings and make a golden duck in his second.

Cook, whose position as captain will again come under the microscope after this match, then fell for 18, trapped lbw by Ravindra Jadeja as his side slipped to 43 for two. Cook burned a review in the hope of saving himself. It was not the first questionable decision he had made in this match.

Moeen Ali, whose time in the top six is now surely coming to an end, then departed for a duck, fending Jadeja to leg gully as England were reduced to 49 for three on the stroke of tea.

Root offered some brief resistance before misjudging a Yadav delivery

Joe Root, lined up as the next Test captain whenever Cook departs, had suffered a setback himself on the third day when he dropped Jayant on eight off the bowling of Anderson. However, he looked determined to make amends as he produced a fighting 77 – his 26th Test half-century – before Jayant caused the Yorkshireman more pain by trapping him lbw.

With England 141 for four and still trailing India by 90, there was a possibility this match may have been wrapped up on the day. Jonny Bairstow, though, held firm, riding his luck to reach stumps with a battling unbeaten 50. Bairstow received three let-offs. After being dropped on 14 by Kohli, he twice reviewed on-field decisions successfully.

The first against Jadeja saw him escape an lbw call because the Indian overstepped. The second, Ravichandran Ashwin believing he had Bairstow caught at short leg, was vindicated as there was no contact between bat and ball.

Despite Bairstow’s good fortune and fight, England slipped closer to defeat when Ashwin removed both Ben Stokes, sweeping to second slip via his boot, and nightwatchman Jake Ball, prodding what proved to be the final delivery of the day behind.

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