England v India: Hosts close on win after Moeen Ali strikes twice

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at the Rose Bowl
England celebrate after dismissing Murali Vijay
A win for England would be their first in 11 Tests
Third Test, Rose Bowl (day four):
England 569-7 dec & 205-4 dec v India 330 & 112-4
Match scorecard

England moved closer to levelling the series against India with another dominant display on day four of the third Test in Southampton.

Chasing a notional 445 to win, the tourists were reduced to 112-4 at the close, with Moeen Ali taking two wickets and Joe Root one.

And England could have ended the day in an even stronger position had James Anderson clung on to a difficult return chance off Rohit Sharma, who remains on six, alongside Ajinkya Rahane (18 not out).

Earlier, Anderson took two wickets in the morning session to finish with 5-53 as India were bowled out for 330, a first-innings deficit of 239.

England opted not to enforce the follow-on, coasting to 205-4 declared as Root smashed 56 from 41 balls and captain Alastair Cook confirmed his return to form with an unbeaten 70.

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on BBC Test Match Special
"If you like England a wonderful day - almost everything's gone right for them. We were looking for our major players to stand up, and Anderson got five and Broad got three. Root played a splendid cameo and Ballance was good again. He can bat properly and can whack it. He should be a certainty for the one-day squad."
Listen to Geoffrey and Jonathan Agnew review the day on the TMS podcast

That left 42 overs remaining in the day - plus 90 on Thursday - for England to wipe out the 1-0 deficit established by their defeat in the second Test at Lord's.

And on a pitch increasingly showing signs of turn, England tore through the India top order with Moeen coming to the fore.

"Those are the days that you want to have," said Root. "We wanted a couple of wickets tonight, so to take four was really pleasing.

"I'd like to think it's a turning point in the summer. If we can take the six wickets tomorrow we're right back in this series."

India had appeared to be successfully resisting the threat of the new ball when they presented a breakthrough to the home side.

Shikhar Dhawan called Murali Vijay through for a single and, with Vijay slow to set off, Stuart Broad swooped on the leg side to hit the stumps at the striker's end direct and leave Vijay just short of his ground.

In the next over, Moeen - who should have had Dhawan given out lbw - deceived Cheteshwar Pujara into edging towards slip, where Chris Jordan took an excellent one-handed catch, diving to his right.

Beautifully as Moeen was bowling, Cook's instinct was to call on part-time off-spinner Root, a decision that paid dividends when he turned one to take Dhawan's edge, Jordan holding another catch.

Another Cook bowling change was rewarded when Moeen returned to the attack and enticed Virat Kohli to poke through to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.

The successful shuffling of his bowlers rounded off another good day for the England skipper, who, buoyed by his first-innings 95, batted with great freedom to anchor his side's second innings.

He had earlier decided not to enforce the follow-on, despite wrapping up India's first innings inside 20 minutes.

The tourists, resuming on 323-8, added only seven more runs as Anderson, on his 32nd birthday, produced two bouncers that Mahendra Dhoni and Mohammed Shami in turn gloved to Buttler, giving the paceman his 16th five-wicket haul in Tests.

Highest successful fourth-innings run chases
418-7 - West Indies v Australia (Antigua), 2003
414-4 - South Africa v Australia (Perth), 2008
406-4 - India v West Indies (Trinidad), 1976
404-3 - Australia v England (Headingley), 1948
387-4 - India v England (Chennai), 2008

If there were concerns among onlookers that England might linger over their second innings and delay their declaration too long, they were soon allayed by a scoring rate that rattled along at more than five an over.

Only Sam Robson, who edged a wonderful delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar to first slip, failed to contribute as Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and Root played lively cameos around Cook.

"Cookie won't get a lot of credit from a lot of people, but in the dressing room we know how big that was for us," added Root. "The way he laid the platform made it possible for me, Ian and Gary to play the way we did."

Ballance was fluent for his 38 before wrongly being given out caught at short leg off Ravindra Jadeja, the second poor decision the left-hander has received in the match.

Bell busily reached 23 from 21 balls before being bowled sweeping Jadeja, while Root thrilled with his invention on the way to the fastest half-century of his Test career.

All the while, Cook repeatedly swept the spinners as he posted a second fifty in a single Test match for the first time in three years.

If Cook's poor form and a winless run of 10 Tests were the two major problems facing England before this match, one has been addressed and the other is six wickets away from being ended.

James Anderson celebrates his five-wicket haul
Anderson took just over 20 minutes to take the last two first-innings wickets and claim a five-wicket haul on his 32nd birthday
England's Alastair Cook and Joe Root
Cook and Root added 99 in 14 overs to set up England's declaration
India's Pankaj Singh
Having taken 0-146 from 37 overs in the first innings, Pankaj Singh's 0-33 from 10 overs in the second earned him the unwanted record of the worst Test figures by a debutant bowler
Sam Robson, Moeen Ali and Joe Root celebrate a wicket
Part-time off-spinners Moeen Ali and Joe Root then picked up three of the first four Indian wickets in the second innings

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