Just a month ago at Lord's India had witnessed a demolition at the hands of England in the second Test, the same story looks to repeat itself as Virat Kohli's men are now staring at another humiliating defeat in this Test series. India's reputation as the best touring side in the world seems to come under threat as India are on the brink of 1-4 series defeat following a disastrous fourth day which saw England assume complete control of the fifth and final Test.
Alastair Cook and Joe Root resumed play on the fourth day with 114 runs for two wickets and a lead of 154 runs. The Indian bowling unit would've hoped to take some quick wickets and restrict England's lead, which could've brought them back into the game. Unfortunately, India suffered its first setback of the day in the form of Ishant Sharma, who didn't feature for the rest of the match due to an ankle injury.
Ishant's absence was severely missed as the England batsmen cashed in on the opportunity and cruised from there on. It is safe to say that the fourth day belonged to Alastair Cook, who was playing his final Test in England colors. The veteran batsman signed off in style by bringing up his 33rd century in the fifth Test match. Interestingly, Cook now joins an elite club of players who have scored a century on their final and first Test match.
Cook went on to score 147 runs of 186 runs, which overshadowed his compatriot Joe Root's contribution of 125 runs off 90 balls. The duo's partnership certainly killed the contest after Ishant Sharma's injury had pegged the visitors. Post lunch, the duo looked to build on their partnership and further frustrate the Indian bowlers. They did so by bringing up their 200-run stand for 303 balls.
With the Indian bowlers struggling to break this partnership, debutant Hanuman Vihari rose to the occasion. He struck twice in the 95th over by getting rid of both the batsmen. First Root was holed out and later Cook followed after he was caught behind by Rishabh Pant. Alastair Cook's knock will be remembered for a long time after he received a standing ovation on his walk to the pavilion.
Shami got the prized scalp of Jos Butler who departed for 18 runs, while Ravindra Jadeja removed Jos Butler for a duck. The England middle-order led by Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, and Adil Rashid looked to score some quick runs in sight of a declaration. England finally declared their second innings for 423 at the loss of six wickets, setting a massive target of 464 for the Indians.
Exhausted after fielding for 112 runs overs, India's top order collapsed once again with Shikhar Dhawan (1), Cheteshwar Pujara (0) and Virat Kohli (0) dismissed in quick succession. Though, KL Rahul (46) and Ajinkya Rahane (10) survived some threatening bowling spells from England to take India for 58/3 at the end of Day four.
This Test could prove to a major turning point in Virat Kohli's legacy as Indian skipper, with 406 runs required on the final day, and seven wickets in hand, an embarrassing series defeat looks imminent for the Men in Blue.