India close in on series victory against England after spinners wreak havoc in Ranchi

Home side need 152 runs with 10 wickets remaining in fourth Test that saw Ashwin and Kuldeep rip through tourists' batting line-up

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India are closing in on a fourth Test and series victory over England after the home side's spinners wreaked havoc on Day 4 in Ranchi.

It looked like England were in a strong position to take control of the Test and potentially level the five-match series at the start of the day but a battling 90 from Dhruv Jurel helped drag India to 307 all out at the JSCA International Stadium Complex.

It gave Ben Stokes' side a first-innings lead of 46, smaller than they would have expected at the end of Day 2 when India were seven wickets down and still trailing by 134 runs.

But any advantage England might have had disappeared when they were then bowled out for just 145 as Ravichandran Ashwin (5-51) and Kuldeep Yadav (4-22) ripped through their battling line-up. Only opener Zac Crawley (60) managed to pass the 50 mark.

Captain Rohit Sharma (24) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (16) ended the day unbeaten with India needing 152 runs to win and take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series

“I enjoy bowling with the new ball and today was another of those days,” said Ashwin after stumps. “I wanted that first over. I seem to have a bit of attachment to the new ball, it allows you to bowl a little quicker, and I enjoyed that.

“I had to change how I was thinking about the game because there wasn't much turn. I am someone who likes the ball to drop on to the pitch and get bite out of the surface but it wasn't like that here. I had to use side spin, hammer it in to the pitch, and it was quite a mental switch that I had to make.

“We showed phenomenal character. Kuldeep was brilliant today. He can put a lot of revs on the ball and he's got a lot of skill but he changed his paces really nicely, he is very difficult to play when he does that and I'm sorry to take the five-for from him!”

Earlier, Jurel's vital knock had given India a lift and frustrated an England attack who would have been eyeing a big first-innings lead.

But the wicketkeeper – who was dropped by Ollie Robinson on 59 – put on 76 with Kuldeep Yadav, 40 with Akash Deep and 14 with Mohammed Siraj for the last three wickets.

England's 20-year-old spinner Shoaib Bashir (5-119) took his first Test five-wicket haul, while veteran fast-bowler James Anderson claimed his 698th red-ball scalp when Yadav played on.

Ashwin then took the new ball on a pitch with cracks and variable bounce and struck in consecutive balls to remove Ben Duckett, caught at short leg for 15, and Ollie Pope, lbw without scoring, as England were reduced to 19-2.

Root, who scored an unbeaten 122 in the first innings, could not repeat his heroics and was out lbw to Ashwin for 11 following a referral.

Crawley was then bowled by Yadav who in turn removed Ben Stokes just before tea when the England captain was undone for the second time in the match by a ball that barely bounced ankle high and was bowled off his pad.

Jonny Bairstow fell on the first ball after tea and the innings folded soon after, with Ben Foakes falling for a 76-ball 17 off Ashwin.

“It's still pretty surreal,” said Bashir after his bowling efforts helped England establishing a first-innings lead.

“I want to dedicate this to my two late grandads who passed away around a year and a half ago, they loved Test cricket and their wish was for me to play. I'm so grateful.

“My favourite wicket was Jaiswal's. He's in top form and he's an incredible player so to get his wicket was surreal, too.

“I used to watch some of the guys in my dressing room as a little kid. They're brilliant, they give me so much confidence and it's a wonderful group to be a part of that really gets the best out of you.”

Updated: February 25, 2024, 12:30 PM