India, Dec. 8 -- England have put themselves in the driver's seat. I am sure Alastair Cook would love to extend the 193-run lead on the fourth day morning so that his team doesn't have to come out in the fourth innings on a roughed up Eden wicket, trying to save a Test on which they have stamped their authority so far.
Indians surely did have the better of the exchange in the last two sessions of the third day. Both the spinners bowled with more purpose on the third day though I believe Zaheer and Ishant didn't reverse swing the ball as much as they could have.
Backs to the wall
India though still find themselves under the hammer. The batters will surely have to come out with guns blazing in the second knock.
England batting has to be lauded for the way they have gone about the job but first the credit must go to Anderson and company. They surely had a plan up their sleeve for the Indian batting on a fantastic batting surface.
Monty Panesar bowled huge number of overs from one end to keep the batters quiet, drying up the run-flow while Anderson bowled one of his best spells of reverse swing in sub-continent conditions to make a dent in the Indian middle-order.
Duration is key
One needs to bat long on good batting surfaces to take the game away from the opposition, which was portrayed at Ahmedabad. Once India got 500 on the board, England were always trying to catch up and even after their fightback in the second essay, they lost the game.
Failing to utilise
Both in Mumbai and Kolkata, Indians failed to capitalise on the advantage which their captain provided by winning the toss. On the other hand English batters have gone from strength to strength since Motera.
Their success has been made possible by Cook. He is on a dream run. The rest of his colleagues have just rallied around him. I would not hesitate to say that it is Alistair Cook who has really defined this series.
Indians on the other hand can draw inspiration from their record at Eden Gardens and they will need to just recall that this historic ground has witnessed one of the greatest fightbacks in world cricket and that too by India.
The writer is former India captain
(360 Corporate Relations)
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.