NOTTINGHAM, England - India captain Virat Kohli led from the front with a well-made hundred to strengthen his side's iron grip on the third Test against England at Trent Bridge on Monday.
Kohli, who fell for 97 in India's first innings, top-scored with 103 as the tourists, looking to bounce back from 2-0 down in this five-match series, piled up a total of 352 for seven declared.
That left England needing a mammoth 521 for victory, albeit with more than two days to get the runs. But no side have made more to win in the fourth innings of a Test than the West Indies' 418 for seven against Australia at St John's, Antigua, in 2003.
England's corresponding record is their 332 for seven against Australia at Melbourne back in 1928/29. Kohli's declaration left England with an awkward nine overs in which to bat. But Alastair Cook (nine not out) and Keaton Jennings (13 not out) got them through to a close score of 23 without loss.
India resumed Monday on 124 for two, already 292 runs in front, with Cheteshwar Pujara 33 not out and Kohli unbeaten on eight. With three days still left to play, India could dictate the course of the game after skittling England out for 161, with pace bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya taking a stunning five for 28 in six overs.
From 54 for none, England lost nine wickets for 74 runs and only avoided the follow-on thanks to Jos Buttler's 39. England lost all 10 of their wickets inside a session -- the third time that had happened since 2016. And a score of 86 for four meant that in their past 61 Test innings, England had lost their fourth wicket having scored 100 runs or fewer on 30 occasions.
Another longstanding problem for England has been their slip catching and they floored their fifth chance in the cordon this match when second slip Buttler, a wicket-keeper by trade, grassed a low, left-handed chance after Pujara, on 40, edged James Anderson.
To make matters worse for England, wicket-keeper and leading batsman Jonny Bairstow suffered a finger injury after failing to gather a swinging Anderson delivery. An x-ray later revealed Bairstow had suffered a small fracture to his left middle finger. He was, however, expected to bat in England's second innings. England one-day gloveman Buttler, who was a wicket-keeper early in his Test career, took over behind the stumps.
It wasn't until Monday's 41st over that India lost their third wicket, with Pujara edging a routine chance to first slip Cook off recalled all-rounder Ben Stokes. Pujara faced 208 balls, including 19 fours, and put on 113 with Kohli.
The star batsman was still on his tea score of 93 not out when his edged drive off an outswinger from Anderson, armed with the new ball, burst through Jennings's hands in the gully.
Anderson, whose duels with Kohli have been a feature of this series, put his head to his hands in evident despair after the ball went for four. Next ball, Kohli edged Anderson, England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker, just short of Cook.
Kohli was not at his fluent best but this was an ideal innings for the situation India found themselves in and an edged four off Chris Woakes, his 10th boundary in 191 balls during nearly five hours at the crease, saw him to a 23rd Test hundred.
It was also Kohli's second in three matches after he made 149 -- his maiden Test century in England -- in the series-opener at Edgbaston. Kohli was out shortly afterwards, lbw to Woakes after missing a legside flick against the all-rounder.
Pandya, now starring with the bat, extended India's lead to 500 with a straight six off leg-spinner Adil Rashid and he had made a run-a-ball 52 not out, also including seven fours, when Kohli finally called a halt.AFP