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England v India report: Alastair Cook and Graeme Swann spoil great day for MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli

England had 99 problems then captain Cook struck! Dhoni just misses out on century as stunning run out helps tourists maintain slender advantage

By
David Clough, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

11:14 GMT, 15 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

15:07 GMT, 15 December 2012

A last hour featuring four wickets helped England avoid an unwanted shut-out on day three of a finely-balanced final Test in Nagpur.

The tourists had toiled for 75 wicketless overs as India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and centurion Virat Kohli closed them down with some ease, but both had gone by the time stumps was called, along with Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla, giving England a greater belief that they can now secure at least the draw they need to win the series.

That landscape switch came after Dhoni (99) and Kohli (103) had taken it upon themselves to radically alter the equation themselves.

The fifth-wicket pair resumed on a
highly-vulnerable 87, yet by stumps their stand of 198 had underpinned
India's 297 for eight in reply to 330 all out.

England simply got nowhere for all but
the final hour of the day, on a dead pitch which has proved an aid to
stagnant cricket from the outset.

Until the first ball after evening
drinks, their bowlers – last previously successful nine overs before the
close yesterday – appeared destined to draw a blank for the entire day,
for the first time since Australia's Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh
tormented the home attack at Trent Bridge 23 years ago.

Respite came at last when Graeme Swann
had Kohli lbw pushing forward in defence – and among four late wickets
for only 28 runs, Dhoni was run out by a direct hit from Cook at mid-off
as he tried to scamper his 100th run off Anderson (four for 68) in the
penultimate over before stumps.

Eyes on the prize: A brilliant late run out from Alastair Cook helped England maintain an advantage

Eyes on the prize: A brilliant late run out from Alastair Cook helped England maintain an advantage

Top partnership: Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli were in sensational form

Top partnership: Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli were in sensational form

Dhoni and Kohli were constrained, as were England's batsmen and India's top order before them, by the extreme conditions.

A perilous situation added to their
dilemma too; yet they dug in, and then branched out, faultless
application giving way to increasing fluency as India battled back into
contention.

Gradually, without compromising risk
avoidance, they pushed the run rate above two-an-over as England tired
in their thankless task to try to induce a mistake.

Dhoni, without a Test century for more
than a year, raised eyebrows when he promoted himself to number six
last night above debutant all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

Tough: Graeme Swann and England's bowlers had to contend with a difficult pitch

Tough: Graeme Swann and England's bowlers had to contend with a difficult pitch

Frontline batsman Kohli had a top-score of 20 in six previous innings in this series.

But both excelled themselves here in critical circumstances.

Kohli completed his 289-ball hundred with his 11th four, on the back foot past cover off Swann.

Soon afterwards, the off-spinner finally got his revenge, as India nonetheless edged towards parity.

It had taken more than half an hour
for their first boundary off the middle this morning, a Kohli
cover-drive off Tim Bresnan to bring up three figures.

Before then, only Dhoni's edge past a vacant slip off James Anderson had counted four.

Anderson beat the bat or found the
edge a handful of times in his early spell, but there was nothing else
from pace or spin to raise England's hopes.

Each batsman passed his 50 with a four, Kohli's fourth driven off Monty Panesar and Dhoni's seventh square-cut off Bresnan.

They were rare shots in anger until after England took the second new ball.

The century stand arrived in 53 overs as India had to emphasise caution over adventure before they could dare to hope for more.

Runs eventually started to come more
freely, however – Dhoni hoisted Swann over long-on for a six, and took
toll of Bresnan in particular – and England's initial optimism turned to
frowns of frustration.

The nearest they came to a
breakthrough before tea were Bresnan's two lbw appeals, and a tough
one-handed return chance barely off the ground – all with Dhoni on 72 –
as the Yorkshireman's search continued for a first Test wicket since
August at Headingley.

By stumps, he was wicketless in his last 74.4 overs at the highest level.

England's collective drought was even longer, of course, until Kohli succumbed.

Anderson then also had Jadeja lbw from
round the wicket. and Swann bowled Piyush when he found sharp turn with
the last ball of the day.

It had seemed near inconceivable at start of play that India could somehow negotiate their way towards a series-levelling win.

Whether or not that is possible will
depend on how long it takes England to take their last two wickets, and
how many India can score at the same time.

Two quick wickets and a day at the
crease would put England in firm charge, but an Indian slog in the
morning and poor application from the tourists could see it swing the
other way.

We are
unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a
dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and
international news organisations.

The
BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies
Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

LIVE: India v England – day one, fourth Test, Nagpur

LIVE: India v England – the action on day one of the fourth Test in Nagpur as it happens

|

UPDATED:

09:56 GMT, 13 December 2012

Stay up to date with all the action on day one of the fourth Test between England and India with Sportsmail's
unrivalled team. We'll deliver over-by-over coverage as the action
unfolds in Nagpur while our brilliant team of writers update with their
insights from the ground. Tweet your thoughts to: @James Andrew_ or email your thoughts to [email protected]

India v England – essentials

India: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Mahendra Dhoni (capt & wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha.

England: Alastair Cook (capt), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Matt Prior (wk), Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.

Umpires: R Tucker (Aus) and K Dharmasena (SL)

Match referee: J Crowe (NZ)

ENGLAND WON THE TOSS AND BAT

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80th over: England 164-5 (Root 21, Prior 14)

79th over: England 164-5 (Root 21, Prior 14)

Ashwin comes back into the attack.

Prior plays one down to deep point for a single and Root then flicks one wide of mid-on for another single.

78th over: England 162-5 (Root 20, Prior 13)

Ojha comes back to bowl.

Root adds two more with a nice drive through the covers.

77th over: England 160-5 (Root 18, Prior 13)

Prior takes a single off the first ball with a shot to deep backward square. Root then adds two with a nice shot guided to point.

76th over: England 156-5 (Root 15, Prior 12)

Jadeja to Root and it is yet another maiden. I wish I hadn't said anything a few overs a go.

75th over: England 156-5 (Root 15, Prior 12)

Sharma comes back into the attack after his spell on the side lines and he starts off this spell with a maiden.

74th over: England 156-5 (Root 15, Prior 12)

Just as I mention the lack of maidens, what happens next A maiden from Jadeja.

73rd over: England 152-5 (Root 15, Prior 8)

A lovely shot by Prior from the final ball of the over with a nice shot through the covers.

72nd over: England 148-5 (Root 15, Prior 8)

A run each for Root and Prior, the runs are not flowing freely, but at least the maidens have stopped – for now.

71st over: England 146-5 (Root 14, Prior 7)

Sharma is back on the field.

Prior takes one and then Root plays a nice flick past square leg for three.

70th over: England 146-5 (Root 11, Prior 5)

Prior gets one off the over from the bowling of Jadeja.

69th over: England 145-5 (Root 11, Prior 5)

Prior plays a cut shot towards cover point for two.

68th over: England 142-5 (Root 11, Prior 3)

WICKET: Pietersen c Ojha b Jadeja 73

Big wicket for India, they have got England's main man, it was a loose shot against the spin (what little spin there is) and Ojha takes the catch low at midwicket. England are wobbling.

Matt Prior is the new man in the middle.

Prior gets two off his first ball with an edge and then adds a single to keep the strike.

Coming in for his debut: Joe Root came in for England at No 6

Coming in for his debut: Joe Root came in for England at No 6

67th over: England 139-4 (Pietersen 73, Root 11)

Some news emerging from the England camp, Stuart Broad has been ruled out of the two-match Twenty20 series against India due to a heel injury and will be replaced as captain by Eoin Morgan. James Harris has been called into the Twenty20 squad as a result.

Root gets a single with a shot into the covers and Pietersen then adds another one.

66th over: England 137-4 (Pietersen 72, Root 10)

Excellent shot from Pietersen from the first ball after tea, a flashing drive that goes past cover point for FOUR.

TEA ON DAY ONE: ENGLAND 133-4

View from Sportsmail's cricket writer and editor of Wisden, Lawrence Booth in Nagpur:

'The trouble with attritional cricket is that it places an onus on the batsmen not to give it away. While England were advancing at two an over to 101 for 2, this was not an issue. But Jonathan Trott gift-wrapped a first Test wicket to Ravindra Jadeja, and Ian Bell presented Piyush Chawla with his first since April 2008. If England are to close out this series, they can’t afford many more shows of generosity.

A lot now depends on Kevin Pietersen, who has reined himself in with impressive discipline on a pitch apparently designed to scare away the people of Nagpur for a generation.

Occasionally Pietersen has opened up, using his class to pierce the few gaps presented by MS Dhoni’s ultra-defensive field. But this was cricket for a very particular type of connoisseur – one who goes through life wondering who is going to blink first.

Dhoni was damned if he was going to be that man, setting 6-3 leg-side fields for Ishant Sharma and generally placing his men as if in a one-day international.

Trott was in his element for a while, and looked set for a repeat of his Kolkata vigil before he misjudged a delivery from the left-arm spin of Jadeja that went on with the arm. Bell got bogged down, but didn’t have the nous to ride it out, driving elegantly to extra-cover to make it 119 for 4.

Joe Root has made a positive start to his Test career, and Pietersen is still there on 68. But, after finally winning a toss, England will be disappointed with anything less than 300.'

65th over: England 133-4 (Pietersen 68, Root 10)

Pietersen sweeps one into the deep, they run one and come back for the second, for a second it looks as though Root may struggle to make his ground, but he does

Run off the final ball of the over meaning Pietersen will keep the strike after tea.

64th over: England 130-4 (Pietersen 65, Root 10)

Nice shot by Root to square leg for two.

He then finds a boundary with a well timed drive for FOUR.

63rd over: England 124-4 (Pietersen 65, Root 4)

First runs in Test match cricket for Root. He will be relieved to be off the mark. He takes a big stride forward and plays a neat drive through the covers for three.

Pietersen adds one more and then Root retains the strike with a single from the final ball of the over.

62nd over: England 119-4 (Pietersen 64, Root 0)

Ojha comes back on and it is another maiden.

61st over: England 119-4 (Pietersen 64, Root 0)

Now this is interesting, Ishant Sharma has gone off the field just one over into his latest spell. Rules state that players can only go off if injured (it does not always work like that in practice) but if he is injured then that is a problem for Dhoni, as he is his only seamer.

Piyush Chawla comes into the attack.

Pietersen takes two thanks to a miss field, gets home safely despite the appeal. And then another single.

WICKET: Bell c Kohli b Chawla 1

Bell chips one to short extra-cover and he is caught, 28 balls, one run and out.

Debutant Joe Root is the new man in the middle. A big moment for the young batsman.

60th over: England 116-3 (Pietersen 61, Bell 1)

And another maiden, this time it is Jadeja to Bell.

59th over: England 116-3 (Pietersen 61, Bell 1)

Sharma to Pietersen and another maiden.

58th over: England 116-3 (Pietersen 61, Bell 1)

Just one slip in for Bell. Four leg-byes come off the final ball.

57th over: England 112-3 (Pietersen 61, Bell 1)

India's only seamer Ishant Sharma is back into the attack.

Chance for India, or was it Pietersen flicked one away towards midwicket and Cheteshwar Pujara could not hold it, but unclear if it actually carried.

Maiden over.

56th over: England 112-3 (Pietersen 61, Bell 1)

Another maiden from Jadeja, bowling to Bell.

55th over: England 112-3 (Pietersen 61, Bell 1)

Another good shot from Pietersen which is dispatched to the boundary, it was in the air, but safely over extra cover for FOUR.

Looking to build: England batsman Ian Bell make a telling contribution with the bat

Looking to build: England batsman Ian Bell make a telling contribution with the bat

54th over: England 108-3 (Pietersen 57, Bell 1)

The dot balls continue to mount, another maiden for India, this time it is Jadeja.

53rd over: England 108-3 (Pietersen 57, Bell 1)

Ojha to Pietersen, and not for the first time today it is a maiden.

52nd over: England 108-3 (Pietersen 57, Bell 1)

Bell gets off the mark as he plays the ball to mid-on and scampers home for a single. KP then adds one more from the final ball to keep the strike.

51st over: England 106-3 (Pietersen 56, Bell 0)

Another perfectly timed shot from Pietersen for FOUR, this time he plays it through midwicket.

50th over: England 102-3 (Pietersen 52, Bell 0)

WICKET: Trott b Jadeja 44

The debutant gets his first Test wicket. Trott left it along and it came in to take the bails. What was he thinking

Ian Bell comes to the middle.

49th over: England 101-2 (Trott 44, Pietersen 51)

Another nice sweep shot from Trott to the backward square boundary for FOUR.

That brings up the hundred for England.

Time for drinks.

48th over: England 97-2 (Trott 40, Pietersen 51)

KP breaks to eat a banana.

Another maiden for Jadeja.

47th over: England 97-2 (Trott 40, Pietersen 51)

Ojha bowls another maiden to Trott. India have done well to keep the runs down.

46th over: England 97-2 (Trott 40, Pietersen 51)

Jadeja comes back into the attack.

KP sees a good shot well blocked. Maiden.

45th over: England 97-2 (Trott 40, Pietersen 51)

Trott survives a very optimistic shout for LBW after missing a sweep. It was sliding down the leg side. Maiden for Ojha

44th over: England 97-2 (Trott 40, Pietersen 51)

Pietersen works one away fine to the boundary for for FOUR.

FIFTY FOR KEVIN PIETERSEN

KP then nudges one away to square leg for one and then Trott gets a single off the last ball.

43rd over: England 91-2 (Trott 39, Pietersen 46)

Ojha comes back for the first time in this session.

Pietersen drives one down to third man and they run three.

42nd over: England 88-2 (Trott 39, Pietersen 43)

Ashwin bowls five dot balls to Trott, but the sixth is unleashed past point for FOUR.

41st over: England 84-2 (Trott 35, Pietersen 43)

Sharma continues, this policy of using just one seamer could come back to hurt India.

Pietersen drives one through the off-side for FOUR, brilliantly timed shot.

40th over: England 80-2 (Trott 35, Pietersen 39)

Pietersen whips one away down to deep square for one.

39th over: England 79-2 (Trott 35, Pietersen 38)

Pietersen works one away for one and Trott flicks one away for a single and KP ends the over with one more towards square.

38th over: England 76-2 (Trott 34, Pietersen 36)

FOUR for Trott, a nicely timed half volley through cover point.

37th over: England 72-2 (Trott 30, Pietersen 36)

Sharma looks to bang one down to Trott but it gets no height, Trott looks to sway out of the way to avoid being hit and it hits the gloves and goes away towards third man for one.

36th over: England 70-2 (Trott 29, Pietersen 36)

Ashwin to Trott and it is another maiden.

35th over: England 70-2 (Trott 29, Pietersen 36)

Sharma stays on at the other end.

Pietersen gets two from a ball he works away towards long-leg.

Sharma then bowls too straight and KP has no problem in flicking it away past midwicket.

Pietersen adds a single and Trott does the same, eight runs from the over.

34th over: England 62-2 (Trott 28, Pietersen 29)

Ashwin takes the ball after lunch.

Big session for both sides, England and Pietersen in particular will look to kick on, while India will no doubt feel that a couple of wickets and they are in with a good chance of winning this Test and leveling the series.

Pietersen flicks one away to deep backward square for a single.

LUNCH ON DAY ONE: ENGLAND 61-2

View from Sportsmail's cricket writer and editor of Wisden, Lawrence Booth in Nagpur:

'That was a bizarre session, in which England’s early nerves were assisted by India’s eggs-in-one-basket selection. If Ishant Sharma had been granted a fellow seamer to help him exploit a pitch of variable bounce (most of it low), England might have been in deeper trouble than 61 for 2 after both openers had fallen with 16 on the board.

At lunch, they were grateful to have faced as many as 25 overs of spin, many of them met with a dead bat as England focussed on not making a mess of winning their first toss of the series.

It really was slow going. Nick Compton nibbled at one he ought to have left, even if he might have been unfortunate to get one of the few deliveries which didn’t die a sorry death on the way through to MS Dhoni.

And Alastair Cook, tied down by Pragyan Ojha’s left-arm spin and a 7-2 leg-side field, was definitely unlucky to be given out leg-before by umpire Dharmasena to a ball that was clearly missing off stump.

If Cook’s 1 off 28 balls – following 548 runs in the first three Tests – said something about the mood of the morning and the state of the pitch, then Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen were generally content to bide their time. It may be the only match-winning template available as England go in search of their first series win in India for nearly 28 years.'

Looking to make his mark: Kevin Pietersen will look to build after lunch

Looking to make his mark: Kevin Pietersen will look to build after lunch

33rd over: England 61-2 (Trott 28, Pietersen 28)

This should be the last over before lunch.

Pietersen gets a single. Trott then ducks to avoid a bouncer, but again it does not bounce particularly high.

One from the over, and that is lunch.

32nd over: England 60-2 (Trott 28, Pietersen 27)

Trott sees off a maiden from Ashwin.

31st over: England 60-2 (Trott 28, Pietersen 27)

Sharma comes back into the attack before lunch.

No slips in play. No real surprise given the lack of bounce in the pitch.

He bowls a maiden with his first over back.

30th over: England 60-2 (Trott 28, Pietersen 27)

Change of bowling for India, and it is their best player from the last test, Ravichandran Ashwin, to take over with the ball.

Trott paddles one away for a single. Pietersen drives one to long-on for a single.

Trott then hits a couple off the final ball of the over.

29th over: England 56-2 (Trott 25, Pietersen 26)

Trott works one away on the half-volley wide past Ashwin for three.

28th over: England 53-2 (Trott 22, Pietersen 26)

Jadeja stays on and bowls another maiden, this time to Pietersen.

27th over: England 53-2 (Trott 22, Pietersen 26)

Chawla to Trott and it is another maiden.

26th over: England 53-2 (Trott 22, Pietersen 26)

Pietersen looks in the mood now, he punches the ball through cover-point for another FOUR.

25th over: England 49-2 (Trott 22, Pietersen 22)

Pietersen starting to show his power, brilliant shot for FOUR over mid-on, really nice shot from the England batsman.

He's done it again, another boundary, as Pietersen once again clears mid-on for FOUR, no fuss from KP.

Single off the final ball and Pietersen keeps the strike. Nine from the over.

24th over: England 40-2 (Trott 22, Pietersen 13)

Pietersen finally finds the gap from the final ball, off the front foot and through cover point for three.

23rd over: England 37-2 (Trott 22, Pietersen 10)

Pietersen walks down the wicket and works one away to long-off for a single. One from the over.

22nd over: England 36-2 (Trott 22, Pietersen 9)

Trott facing Jadeja, and it is yet another maiden. Trott won't mind this, but you get the feeling that Pietersen at the other end could get frustrated, that is no doubt India's plan.

21st over: England 36-2 (Trott 22, Pietersen 9)

Bowling change for India, Piyush Chawla comes into the attack.

First run for a while. Trott pushes one away for a single.

20th over: England 35-2 (Trott 21, Pietersen 9)

This time it is the turn of Pietersen and Ojha, but the result is the same, another maiden.

19th over: England 35-2 (Trott 21, Pietersen 9)

Jadeja to Trott and it is another maiden. India keeping the runs down well.

18th over: England 35-2 (Trott 21, Pietersen 9)

Pietersen is having no real problem with this left arm spin so far, just struggling to beat the field at the moment. Another maiden.

17th over: England 35-2 (Trott 21, Pietersen 9)

Really nice shot from Trott, down the wicket, takes it on the half-volley and drives it between the stumps and mid-on for FOUR.

16th over: England 31-2 (Trott 17, Pietersen 9)

Ojha makes a big appeal against Pietersen, but there was a big inside edge. And then just a few balls later he goes up for another appeal, but Pietersen is so far down the wicket again there is no way it could be given out. Maiden.

15th over: England 31-2 (Trott 17, Pietersen 9)

Trott sees off Jadeja's first over after drinks. Maiden.

14th over: England 31-2 (Trott 17, Pietersen 9)

Trott sweeps one away over square leg for FOUR. Single off the final ball of the over as India look for a run-out, but Pietersen is home comfortably.

End of the first hour, so time for drinks.

13th over: England 26-2 (Trott 12, Pietersen 9)

Bowling change for India, and MS Dhoni is going for two left arm spinners as Ravindra Jadeja replaces Sharma.

Pietersen looks in the mood as he comes down the wicket again and plays one off the pads to midwicket and England run three.

Trott then pushes one to short leg for a single and then KP gets his first boundary of the morning. Pietersen comes down the wicket and lofts the ball back over the bowlers head for FOUR.

12th over: England 18-2 (Trott 11, Pietersen 2)

Ojha to Pietersen and there is another big appeal from the fourth ball as the ball hits the pads. But the England batsman is half way down the wicket when he lets the ball hit his pads. No way he could be given out coming that far down. Pietersen then takes a single.

Out in the middle: Jonathan Trott came in at No 3 earlier than he would have hoped after Nick Compton's dismissal

Out in the middle: Jonathan Trott came in at No 3 earlier than he would have hoped after Nick Compton's dismissal

11th over: England 17-2 (Trott 11, Pietersen 1)

WICKET: Cook LBW Sharma 1

Another big appeal from Sharma and this time umpire Kumar Dharmasena raises his finger. But it looked to be a poor decision. It was hitting him outside the line and did not look like it was going to hit the stumps. Very poor call from Dharmasena, not that you will hear too many Indians complain, they have dismissed England's talisman cheaply.

Kevin Pietersen is the new man for England and he will have to adjust to this pitch which seems to be dying a death out there.

He pulls one away from the final ball to keep the strike.

10th over: England 16-1 (Cook 1, Trott 11)

Trott sweeps Ojha away past short fine leg for FOUR. He is playing well, despite that scare in the last over.

9th over: England 12-1 (Cook 1, Trott 7)

Trott plays one fine down towards fine leg, good stop by Ojha on the boundary.

Trott then ducks to avoid a Sharma bouncer, with the pitch and its uneven bounce that one went through at about waist height.

Big, big appeal from Sharma. It was a length ball that was nipping in and it beat the inside edge, and hits Trott in front or just outside off as the umpire shakes his head. Probably just the correct decision, but it was very close.

8th over: England 9-1 (Cook 1, Trott 5)

India bring a leg slip in for Cook, the England skipper defends the over away.

Maiden over from Ojha.

7th over: England 9-1 (Cook 1, Trott 5)

First boundary of the day to Trott and it is a beautifully timed shot back down the ground past the stumps on the half volley for FOUR. It has been a careful start from England so far.

6th over: England 5-1 (Cook 1, Trott 1)

Cook gets off the mark with a shot to deep midwicket. Trott then gets off the mark with a single to mid-on.

5th over: England 3-1 (Cook 0, Trott 0)

WICKET: Compton c Dhoni b Sharma 3

Breakthrough for India early on. Sharma gets Compton to play at one and nicks off the edge and it is a straight forward catch for Dhoni behind the stumps, replays showed Sharma was very close to bowling a no ball, but it was ok – just. England are one down.

Jonathan Trott is the new man in the middle.

Wicket maiden for Sharma.

4th over: England 3-0 (Cook 0, Compton 3)

Compton defends the first five ball of the over. He then hits the final ball towards mid-on and takes a single to keep the strike.

3rd over: England 2-0 (Cook 0, Compton 2)

Compton works one away off the pads for a single down the leg side. Cook sees off the the remaining five balls of the over, and is still to get off the mark.

2nd over: England 1-0 (Cook 0, Compton 1)

Left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha takes the new ball at the other end.

First run of the morning as Compton pushes the ball to mid-on.

Cook then fends the remaining balls away. Just the one run from the over.

1st over: England 0-0 (Cook 0, Compton 0)

Only one seam bowler in the starting XI, and he, Ishant Sharma, opens up for India.

Low bounce from this first over, and it is a maiden first up.

Captain marvel: Alastair Cook has guided England to a 2-1 lead

Captain marvel: Alastair Cook has guided England to a 2-1 lead

3.57am: Earlier, Joe Root was handed his first Test cap by former batsman Paul Collingwood, big five days for the 21-year-old at No 6 for England.

3.55am: View from Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth in Nagpur via Twitter:

'England will miss Finn, but with Bresnan they have a shorter tail. In Mumbai, last four fell for seven, in Kolkata for 13…'

3.50am: We are just ten minutes away from the start of play and Alastair Cook and Nick Compton opening up for England. Hopefully from the England point of view they will start better than the second innings in the last Test where they found themselves 8 for 3.

3.45am: If England manage a draw then they will win the series 2-1 for the first time since 1984/85, if they win the game then they will win 3-1 for the first time ever.

3.35am: Couple of changes for England. Steven Finn misses out due to a bad back and Tim Bresnan returns. And as Sportsmail's Paul Newman revealed here, Joe Root comes in for his debut in place of Samit Patel.

3.30am: England have one the toss and will bat.

3.25am: The one thing England have not managed to do so far is win the toss, that is coming up. Can Cook win his first toss as England captain

3.15am: Good morning and welcome to the first days play of the fourth and final Test between India and England.

It has been some series so far, with India winning the first Test with ease and looking like they would stroll to a comfortable series win. But Alastair Cook and England had different ideas and fought back brilliantly to win the next two tests to take a 2-1 lead.

They now stand on the brink of a the first series win in India for 28 years.

Field of dreams: England have the chance to secure a famous series win in Nagpur

Field of dreams: England have the chance to secure a famous series win in Nagpur

Picture Dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

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India drop Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh for final Test v England in Nagpur

India drop Yuvraj, Zaheer and Harbhajan ahead of do-or-die final Test in Nagpur

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UPDATED:

10:17 GMT, 9 December 2012

Dropped: Yuvraj

Dropped: Yuvraj

India's selectors have responded to their seven-wicket defeat against England in Kolkata by dropping three of their squad for the final match of the series starting in Nagpur next week.

From the third Test XI batsman Yuvraj Singh and seamer Zaheer Khan have been dropped, while spinner Harbhajan Singh – who played in the 10-wicket defeat in the second Test in Mumbai – is also out of the squad.

Called up in place of the trio are all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, seamer Parvinda Awana and leg spinner Piyush Chawla.

The timing of the announcement in the immediate aftermath of another humiliating defeat is bound to raise further questions over the leadership of the side, with captain MS Dhoni coming under increasing pressure from the country's media.

India are trailing the four-match series 2-1 and need to win in Nagpur to avoid defeat.

Dhoni made it clear after the defeat that he was happy to defer to the wisdom of the Board of Control for Cricket, but that he relishes the opportunity to try to put his team back on track.

'The selectors are here to decide,' said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

'It's always fine to lead a side when they're doing really well, and everyone's performing.

'But that's not the time when you need a leader.

'Leading a side is all about (doing it) when the team is not doing well, trying to gel them together, back the youngsters and the senior guys.

'The easiest thing for me to do right now is to give up the captaincy and be part of the side, because that's just running away from the responsibility.

Off the pace: Zaheer Khan has been replaced by Parvinda AwanaOff the pace: Zaheer Khan has been replaced by Parvinda Awana

Off the pace: Zaheer Khan has been replaced by Parvinda Awana

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

'I have to get the team together, and be prepared for the next Test match.'

Dhoni does not believe either that India are at their lowest ebb in his tenure, citing instead whitewash defeats away to both Australia and England.

'We were not really able to compete (then).

'We know what our faults are here, and I think we should be able to rectify them.'

He believes a lack of collective productivity among India's frontline batsmen in back-to-back defeats in Mumbai and Kolkata is the main problem.

'I think the batting order will have to take the responsibility.

'We need to score more runs, on a very good wicket to bat on like this.

'Of course, the bowlers will bowl a few good deliveries that you need to keep out.

'But in the top seven, most of us need to score at the same time to give the bowlers a par total to defend.

'Otherwise, it's very difficult and you find yourself under pressure.'

World Twenty20 2012: Stuart Broad dismisses England struggles against spin

Crisis What crisis Broad dismisses spin struggles as England collapse

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UPDATED:

18:05 GMT, 23 September 2012

Familiar problems: Broad heads back to the pavilion

Familiar problems: Broad heads back to the pavilion

Captain Stuart Broad insisted England's batsmen are not vulnerable against spin despite Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla guiding India to a thumping 90-run ICC World Twenty20 victory at the Premadasa Stadium.

After India had set Broad's side a challenging 171 for victory, several of England's top order seemed all at sea as they were bowled out for 80 – their lowest total in this format.

The match was essentially a dead rubber, with both teams having qualified for the Super Eights stage by virtue of their respective victories against Afghanistan, but alarm bells may be ringing after their defeat.

Veteran Harbhajan took four for 12 while leg-spinner Chawla finished with two for 13 to again raise the issue of England struggling to play the turning ball.

Broad refuted that notion, though, saying: 'I've seen the guys play spin extremely well, certainly in training, we've been learning in Sri Lanka and we've developed well.

'We've had a really bad day today but it doesn't affect our destiny. We still get on a bus tomorrow to Kandy and play in the Super Eights.'

The Nottinghamshire all-rounder did concede, however, that England's overall performance was well below par.

'It was all-round really,' he said.

In a spin: Harbhajan (above) and Chawla (below) tore through England

In a spin: Harbhajan (above) and Chawla (below) tore through England

In a spin: Harbhajan (above) and Chawla (below) tore through England

'We were pretty happy with 170. We made a few mistakes in the field and we probably didn't hit our straps as well as we could have done but we didn't get it right with the bat at all.

'India got it very right – I thought they bowled very nicely.

'We played across the line a bit too much whereas against Afghanistan we struck the ball so straight and very cleanly.'

Tim Bresnan was included at the expense of Samit Patel for Sunday's encounter, but with England losing six of their 10 wickets to spin, there was a case to be made they should have included a second slow bowler to support Swann, who conceded just 17 runs from his four overs.

Broad added: 'We wanted to have a look at that balance of side.

Back to the drawing board: England must regroup quickly ahead of the Super Eights

Back to the drawing board: England must regroup quickly ahead of the Super Eights

'We'll reassess for Thursday's game.'

The 26-year-old acknowledged England have been producing inconsistent performances of late, but does not think their humbling defeat will affect his players too much.

'We've had two pretty average performances in the two and a half weeks we've been together but we've also had some very good performances so we need to focus on them,' he said.

'I don't think the guys' confidence will take too much of a knock from this. It doesn't change where we go.

'We still need to play well on Thursday and I think we can do that.'