|Fifth Test, Chennai (day three):|
|England 477: Moeen 146, Root 88|
|India 391-4: Rahul 199, Nair 71*|
|India are 86 runs behind|
|India’s KL Rahul struck a brilliant 199 to make England toil on day three of the fifth and final Test.|
The opener helped India to 391-4, 86 behind, but became the ninth man to be out one run short of 200 in a Test when he lobbed Adil Rashid to point.
He shared partnerships of 152 with Parthiv Patel (71) and 161 with Karun Nair, who remains on 71.
England worked hard on a docile pitch in Chennai but are set to be under pressure for the rest of the match.
India, who have already won the series, are likely to get up to or beyond England’s score on Monday, then look to bowl out the tourists on the fifth day.
Though the surface will probably remain good for batting, India’s skilful spinners will prey on an England side prone to collapses and which lost the fourth Test in Mumbai by an innings despite making 400 when they batted first.
‘Only India are winning this game’ – analysis
Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special:
Will India get a big enough lead to squeeze England? I’m not sure they will. The pitch is in the batsmen’s favour, but it’s not the sort of pitch you can crash-bang-wallop. England can hold their heads up high.
Ex-England spinner Vic Marks:
Unless England have a very good first session tomorrow morning, they’re going to be transported back to a Mumbai-ish situation. The pitch is still blameless, but you sense it is still possible for India to score another 200-250 runs.
If any team is going to win this game, it’s India, unless England have an astonishing start. They’ve often struggled to get wickets on good pitches, their spin attack is nowhere near as good as India’s, and even now, you’re not even safe with 477 in the first innings.
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew:
The fact is England are tired, they’ve been away a long time and they will be under pressure in this match.
Rahul goes big
Right-hander Rahul has had a curious opening to his Test career. In 12 matches, the 24-year-old has fallen for fewer than 25 runs 11 times, yet on the four occasions he has made a score higher than 50, he has gone on to make a century.
Resuming on 30 of India’s 60-0, he showed his intent to score, launching debutant left-arm spinner Liam Dawson for two sixes over the leg side as well as playing sweeps, reverse-sweeps and drives through point.
His partnership with stand-in opener Parthiv became India’s highest for the first wicket against England in India, but when wickets fell at other end he was happy to settle for a more measured approach.
Rahul’s first Test century in India was completed by an overthrow and, after England had a glimmer of a chance at 211-3, he shepherded the occasionally loose Nair to a maiden half-century.
Ending the day as he began, he lofted Moeen Ali over long-on for another six and seemed destined for a double hundred when he inexplicably spooned a very wide delivery from Rashid to Jos Buttler.
“I was so excited about that one run I forgot to take my time,” Rahul said. “I felt I rushed into the shot.
“It’s more disappointing to get out to a ball like that – it hurts even more. It was just unfortunate that the pressure of getting a double hundred got to me.
“I am happy at the end of the day – 199 has helped my team – but missing out on a double hurts.”
Rahul’s runs – the stats
- KL Rahul is the ninth Test batsman to be dismissed on 199, and the second Indian after Mohammad Azharuddin.
- His partnership with Parthiv Patel is the first time in 32 innings India’s openers added 100 for the first wicket.
- It is also the highest opening partnership for India against England in India. The previous best was Sunil Gavaskar and Farokh Engineer in 1973. India have had three higher opening partnerships against England in England.
- Adil Rashid has taken 23 wickets in the series, tying the England record for a leg-spinner set by Doug Wright during the 1946-47 Ashes in Australia.
Willing England stick to their task
This was a long day in the dirt for England, but their efforts did not dim on a pitch offering nothing for the pace bowlers and from which their spinners extracted only slow turn.
While their first success came through a Parthiv error that saw a leading edge off Moeen held at cover, the removal of prolific pair Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli was down to probing work from Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes.
First Stokes induced a loose prod from Pujara that was held at slip by Alastair Cook, then Broad, switching between over and round the wicket, drew captain Kohli into a needless drive that was caught by Keaton Jennings at short cover.
At that point, England were still 266 ahead, but their next chance did not come until the second new ball, when Jake Ball took the edge of Nair, on 34, only for a diving Cook to parry the catch at first slip.
Of the spinners, Dawson was the most accurate, but a day in which England barely struck the pads and hardly appealed – they did not call for a review until the 102nd over of the innings – was a chastening introduction to Test cricket.
‘We’ve tried everything’
England all-rounder Ben Stokes told BBC Sport: “We’ve literally tried everything in this series but they always seem to put on a big partnership, which really does hurt us.
“We got a wicket at the end of the day, which always gives you a bit of a gee up. Both batsmen have to start again tomorrow so it would be nice to knock them over and then get into the tail.
“Rahul played really, really well. He took his time and calculated his runs. I thought it was brilliant bit of bowling from Adil Rashid to throw up a slow, wide one when he was on 199.”