Mohali: Indian spinners once again held centrestage before the hosts raced to 33 for 1 at tea on day four, in pursuit of the 103-run victory target in the third Test against England here today.
The trio of Ravichandran Ashwin (3/81), Ravindra Jadeja (2/62) and Jayant Yadav (2/21) shared bulk of the spoils to dismiss the visitors for 236 in their second innings, thereby limiting the victory target to 103 runs.
At tea, India were 33 for 1 with Parthiv Patel (16) and Cheteshwar Pujara (13) at the crease. Together they have hit six boundaries between them.
Credit should be given to young Haseeb Hameed for his gritty unbeaten 59 off 156 balls coming in at No 8 due to a finger injury that helped England cross the 200-run mark.
He hit six fours and a six off Ashwin to complete his second Test half-century. It was because of the teenager that India had to chase a 100 plus target.
It was a match where England were outbatted and outbowled by an Indian side that has been plagued by injuries.
But Ashwin as usual put up a lion-hearted performance once again scoring a 72 and bagging 4 wickets. Equally creditable was the all-round effort of the other two specialist spinners, Jadeja (90 run and 4 wickets) and Jayant (55 runs and 4 wickets).
Having polished off the top-order save Joe Root, the question on fourth day was not how but when will India finish the match.
The only wicket that would have seriously bothered them was that of Root. But post Root, Hameed did put up a fight but it was always for a losing cause.
Root, who was standing between India and victory, was dismissed for 78 by Jadeja (2/39 in 23 overs), who got one to turn away sharply as the edge was taken by an alert Ajinkya Rahane, who reacted quickly to stretch his right hand. Root played 179 balls hitting six fours in the process.
Root got an able ally in young Hameed as the duo added 45 runs in 119 balls for the seventh wicket stand. It was this pair that erased the 134 run deficit.
Once Jadeja removed the gutsy Root minutes before lunch, the writing was on the wall. But Hameed delayed the inevitable and showed that he is one for the future with correct technique and a temperament to match with it.
During the post lunch session, it was Mohammed Shami (2/37 in 14 overs) who blew away the lower order with a barrage of short balls. Hameed had a 43-run stand for the 8th wicket with Chris Woakes (30). With the second new ball, Shami bowled a bouncer which Woakes missed and it broke the protective shield at the back of the helmet.