Chennai: India survived the Hurriarin task of chasing a world record 420 after England refused to concede in the second World Cup at the hands of Ravichandran Ashwin in the fourth day’s torrential innings in the opening Test here on Monday.
At the time of stumps, India were 39 runs loosing one wicket. The previous best is 418, followed by West Indies against Australia in 2003.
Bowling on a sensitive pitch, the experienced Ashwin returned superb figures of 6/61 and bundled out England’s second innings by 178 runs at 178, when the home team hit a mammoth first innings total of 241 runs.
Shubman Gill (15) and Cheteshwar Pujara (12) will start proceedings for the fifth and final day on the MA Chidambaram pitch for India, which has started playing tricks.
India would have been in a big hole had it not been for the 80-run seventh-wicket partnership between freshmen Washington Sundar (85) and Ashwin, who contributed 31 off the bat before picking up 28th of their career five wickets.
But despite the best efforts of both of them, the hosts fell short of the follow-on goal after being dismissed for 337 runs. India resumed the day at six wickets at 257.
Hoping to give some relief to their bowlers from the scorching heat, England decided to implement the follow-on and bat again.
Ashwin dismissed Rory Burns on the very first ball of the second innings when he took the edge to take an easy catch for Ajinkya Rahane in the first slip.
Fast bowler Ishant Sharma was rewarded for bowling during the entire match, when he trapped Daniel Lawrence in front of the wicket, in which he was drowned.
He was the wicket number 300 for Ishant, making him the sixth Indian and third fast bowler in the country.
Ben Stokes could not repeat the form of his first innings as he caught Rishabh Pant off Ashwin.
Wickets kept falling at one end, with captain Joe Root (40 off 32 balls) seeing that he was batting apart from a pitch where the ball was turning from one end to the other, scoring runs without much movement.
With all the confidence in the world, the double centurion route in the first innings saw India spinners, including Ashwin, swing and reverse, as runs were coming fast when he was in his element in the second season.
He not only denied but also attacked the spinners, but what Root could not deal with was a delivery that kept him low on the landing before thrashing against the pad of the English run-machine.
While 16 wickets fell in the first three days, there was a 15-run lead on Monday and the Chepak pitch played an important role.
While Ashwin did a commendable job, India captain Virat Kohli may have missed it once or twice by not trying for a Washington-off-break when left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem was on the run, with a few occasions overstepping And adding his first innings included balls.
When India came out to bat again, left-arm spinner Jack Leach bowled the ball with a ball to Rohit, who landed at leg-stump before hitting the off-stump, alternating the home team into the final.