Finally some fight from India, they started the day well, finished it well, and if they had not contrived to lose six wickets in 17 overs before tea then it might have been their day.
The England tail added little to the overnight score and when India reached lunch on 86 without loss, still 121 behind, hopes of an unlikely draw came to the surface. They were dashed first ball after the break when Graeme Swann had Virender Sehwag bowled through the gate.
After that it was the kind of collapse that haunted England last winter in the United Arab Emirates, wickets were spread around with Steven Finn removing Gautam Gambhir and Ian Bell finally contributing to the series with a direct hit to run out the obdurate Cheteshwar Pujara.
It was mayhem from then on for India as the England bowlers all looked threatening, Finn and the excellent James Anderson each grabbed more and it was not until India were nine down that the fight returned, with a little luck as well.
England have been guilty of a few lapses of concentration in this match, Alastair Cook’s brain freeze was forgivable given that he’d scored 190, but Swann, Bell and Matt Prior all missed presentable chances during the day, the keeper twice missing Ravi Ashwin.
India’s number eight looks their most composed player in this series and finally provided the fight that his teammates lacked while moving to 83* with a number of classy shots and will tomorrow hope to complete his second Test century.
England trail by 32 runs, and should wrap up victory and take an unassailable lead in the series leaving India to continue scratching their heads. Despite his 76 in the first innings, all the talk remains focussed on Sachin Tendulkar’s place in the batting order. Expect Nagpur to be his final outing.
The opening partnership remains unstable and Virat Kohli cannot buy a run and was out to a lazy drive today. He has all the class but needs far more application if he is to become a successful Test player, something that was said plenty of times about a certain Ian Bell early in his career.
This is as significant a win for England in recent years as any, India simply do not lose home series, and the frightening fact is that England can still improve in the fourth Test, there are millions hoping India can do the same.