England were on the brink of defeat to India in the second Test at Lord's after the tourists left them at 105-4 at stumps on Day 4, chasing a target of 319.
India had earlier counter-attacked majestically through Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to build a sizeable advantage with the game in the balance, and then bowled with discipline on a wearing track to prise out the top order.
The pressure will be most squarely on Alastair Cook—his dismissal to Ishant Sharma on 22 meant another failure with the bat, while as captain he looks set to lead England to a 10th straight Test without victory, England's worst run for more than two decades.
UPDATE Test victims of Ishant Sharma 8 A Cook 7 R Ponting/M Clarke 6 I Bell 5 S Watson #EngvInd— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) July 20, 2014
When play began on Sunday, the match was delicately poised, with India resuming at 169-4 and trying to set a defendable total.
|Vijay||c Prior||b Anderson||95||374||247|
|Dhawan||c Root||b Stokes||31||61||45|
|Pujara||c Prior||b Plunkett||43||123||83|
|Rahane||c Prior||b Broad||5||18||8|
|Dhoni||c Bell||b Plunkett||19||121||86|
|Binny||c Cook||b Moeen||0||6||9|
|Jadeja||c Cook||b Stokes||68||115||57|
|B Kumar||c Bell||b Stokes||52||103||71|
|Shami||c Prior||b Moeen||0||4||2|
|I Sharma||not out||0||9||10|
|Extras||0nb 1w 19b 9lb||29|
|Total||all out (103.1 ovs)||342|
Murali Vijay was resolute, but England chipped away with the wickets of MS Dhoni and Stuart Binny, the latter a victim of a superb steepling catch from Cook after a rash stroke.
Vijay fell five runs short of his second century of the series, edging behind to the bowling of James Anderson, but that was the point England lost any semblance of control with the second new ball.
Jadeja played belligerently, firing 68 from just 57 balls as England ran out of ideas. Kumar, so often England's nemesis with the willow from lower down the order this series, added 52 in good time before Ben Stokes mopped up the tail.
|Cook||c Dhoni||b I Sharma||22||127||93|
|Ballance||c Dhoni||b Shami||27||79||59|
|Bell||b I Sharma||1||5||4|
|Extras||0nb 1w 5b 13lb||19|
|Total||for 4 (46.0 ovs)||105|
The skies grew darker overhead, and the floodlights came on to make sure play continued in north London.
Dhoni brought Jadeja on as a spinner after six overs, and it bore fruit as he got an lbw decision against Sam Robson.
Who could do a better job than Alastair Cook? Literally, ANYBODY - the Lord's tea lady, Kim Kardashian, me, Boris Johnson, my mum's pet dog.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 20, 2014
Cook and Gary Ballance dug in, not scoring with any great intent but blunting and surviving. At one point, there was mirth as Dhoni decided to keep standing back to the spin of Jadeja, something rarely if ever seen in the cauldron of Test cricket.
But when Ballance tickled behind to Mohammed Shami, the rot started. Ian Bell's vigil was brief, ended by a ball from Sharma which kept low, and Cook, with a familiar edge behind, was next.
Joe Root and Moeen Ali made it through to stumps. But saving the Test from here looks like too tall an order.