Hameed impresses, but draw on the cards in Rajkot run-fest


Debutant Haseeb Hameed made an unbeaten maiden Test half-century as England built a sizeable lead over India on day four, but a Rajkot run-fest appears destined for a draw.

India were all out for 488 in reply to 537 on Saturday after Ravichandran Ashwin frustrated the tourists by making a well-crafted 70, with Adil Rashid taking 4-114.

Teenager Hameed demonstrated his huge potential with an assured 62 not and captain Alastair Cook was still there on 46 as England moved on to 114-0 at stumps, leading by 163 runs with just a day remaining in the first Test.

With little encouragement for the bowlers on a pitch that has not broken up as anticipated, it seems highly likely that the two sides will start the second Test in Visakhapatnam remaining level in the five-match series.

Ajinkya Rahane (13) and Virat Kohli put on 30 after India resumed on 319-4 before Zafar Ansari (2-77) got one to skid on and clean up the former.

Skipper Kohli (40) was also on his way soon after, gifting Rashid a first wicket of the day when he went back to work the ball into the leg side but dislodged a bail as his front foot swung backwards.

At 361-6 India trailed England by 176 runs, but Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha (35) held up the tourists after Jonny Bairstow was unable to take a difficult chance to dismiss his fellow wicketkeeper for nine diving in front of first slip.

The confident Ashwin twice cut Ansari to the boundary and Saha struck Rashid for six over mid-off as India moved on to 411-6 at lunch.

Moeen Ali (2-85) ended a 64-run stand when Saha was caught behind before the impressive Ashwin passed 50 for an 11th time in the longest format and India were 449-8 when Rashid removed Ravindra Jadeja (12).

Umesh Yadav (5) became the leg-spinner's fourth victim and Cook dropped a regulation chance at first slip when Mohammed Shami edged a probing Stuart Broad delivery, enabling the number 11 to rub salt into the wounds by launching Rashid over the ropes.

Moeen ended Ashwin's 139-ball knock and India were unable to make any inroads as the composed Hameed outlined his promise, showing lovely balance at the crease in only his second Test innings.

Cook overcame a shaky start to close in on a half-century, but it was Hameed who caught the eye, easing Jadeja for six and hitting another five boundaries as just six wickets fell on the penultimate day.