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Ashwin, Saha revive India after early blows

Ravichandran Ashwin (29 not out) and Wriddhiman Saha (29 not out) put on a half-century stand to take India to 411 for 6 at Lunch, after the hosts lost two wickets early on Day 4 against England at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Saturday (November 12). Having added 92 runs in the morning session, the hosts are 126 runs behind England's first innings total of 537.

With England starting out with two pacers - Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes, India's overnight batsmen Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane looked in little trouble. The pacers kept bowling on the line outside offstump, and the Indian batsmen ensured they didn't poke at anything outside the line of the stumps.

The start was comfortable, before Alastair Cook, 20 minutes into the start of play, introduced spin from both ends. With the ball bouncing and spinning a bit more than usual, Rahane looked in obvious discomfort against legspinner Adil Rashid and left-armer Zafar Ansari. He got beaten consistently before eventually going on the backfoot to a delivery that was pitched full of a good length by the left-armer. The ball rose sharply and beat his defence to clip the bails.

While Kohli (40) managed to show good application against the spinners, Ashwin, who joined him in the middle, was looking out of sorts. Despite some challenging conditions to bat on, India ensured a good scoring rate. In fact, the first maiden over of the session came only six minutes before Lunch.

Their case was aided further with Rashid bowling long-hops time and again. However, invariably, it was a bad delivery that helped England take the prized scalp of Kohli. The Indian skipper rocked back in his crease to put away a long hop, but ended up getting his foot to disturb the bails. Within 45 minutes into the fourth day, the tourists had managed to send both the overnight batsmen back to the dressing room.

Saha, much like Ashwin, took time to adjust to the turn and bounce. However, unlike Ashwin, who played mostly off the backfoot, Saha gave the charge to Rashid time and again. After mistiming a one-handed slog over the in-field, he successfully managed to send him over the fence.

Ben Stokes, who was introduced into the attack, half an hour before Lunch, bowled with good pace and managed to move the ball away from the batsmen. The batsmen looked a bit tentative with their shot making, but were unharmed.

Brief scores: England 537 (Ben Stokes 128, Joe Root 124, Moeen Ali 117; Ravindra Jadeja 3-86) lead India 411/6 (Murali Vijay 126, Cheteshwar Pujara 124; Zafar Ansari 2-77, Adil Rashid 2-80) by 126 runs

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