MUMBAI (Reuters) - England had India on the ropes in the fourth test after picking up four quick wickets in the afternoon session on Saturday but let the hosts off the hook by failing to take opportunities.
India, who lead the five-match series 2-0, were tottering at 307 for six, still 93 behind England’s total of 400 and facing the prospect of conceding a first-innings lead on a turning Wankhede Stadium pitch on which they have to bat last.
But India captain Virat Kohli guided his team to 451 for seven at the close for a lead of 51, riding on a 57-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja for the seventh wicket and an unbroken 87 with Jayant Yadav.
England had their chances to break both partnerships. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid failed to hold on to a return catch from Kohli, then on 68, while Joe Root dropped Yadav on eight off James Anderson.
“After that middle session in the way that we got ourselves into a pretty good position, it was quite frustrating that we couldn’t take the wickets at the back end there,” Root told reporters.
“It just proves that when you create those half-chances you got to make sure you take them.”
Kohli remained unbeaten on 147 and the importance of Rashid’s spill was clear.
“That was a very difficult catch,” Root said. “When it’s coming at you at that pace, you are following through and it’s on you before you know it.”
The England vice-captain, who took two wickets with his part-time off-spin, tried to remain upbeat.
“Most important thing is that we look forward, look to tomorrow and we take those three early wickets when we get those opportunities,” Root said.
“When it comes to batting we will look to put pressure back on them and be positive just like we were in the first innings. If we can do that and do that well then we have got a really good game on our hands.”
Root was effusive in his praise for Kohli and said the batsman, who completed 1,000 test runs in 2016 during his innings.
“He is obviously very driven and he’s very ambitious, you can see that in the way he approaches the game,” Root said.
“Very emotional and he wears his heart on his sleeve.
“I wouldn’t say intimidating or anything like that but it’s quite good to play against guys that express how they feel and try and make you feel uncomfortable.”
Editing by Ed Osmond