A record last-wicket partnership between James Anderson and Joe Root, and two late wickets, gave England an outside chance of an extraordinary victory over India in the first Test.
Anderson and Root thrilled a packed Trent Bridge to
– surpassing the 163 scored by Australia’s Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar at the same ground last year.
Anderson scored 81 – the highest score by an England number 11 – with Root unbeaten on 154 as England made 496 to open up a first-innings lead of 39.
The late wickets of Murali Vijay (52) and Cheteshwar Pujara (55) in successive balls left India on 167-3, 128 ahead with one day remaining.
Although the draw remains by far the most likely result, England will know that quick wickets on Sunday could yet leave them with a tempting target on a pitch that remains good for batting on.
Anderson told BBC Sport: “It’s still sinking in what we’ve achieved. It’s a great day for us and we’re really happy we’ve got our team back in the game.
“We can come here tomorrow and put a bit of pressure on the Indians in the morning. If we get a couple of early ones, who knows what could happen?”
Root, who began the day on 78 with
completed his fourth Test hundred off 186 balls as he and Anderson frustrated the India bowlers.
Anderson, 23 not out overnight, was dropped on 46 but delighted a capacity crowd in recording the first fifty of his 168-match first-class career.
His innings surpassed the previous highest score by an England number 11, the 59 not out made by John Snow in 1966.
Clearly irked, India captain Mahendra Dhoni crowded men around Anderson’s bat, but the tailender responded by finding the boundary with upper-cuts, reverse sweeps and pulls.
Root, who frequently turned down singles to shield Anderson from the strike, was more orthodox, driving crisply on both sides of the wickets as he posted his third score of 150 or more in 18 Tests.
Having reached lunch on 81, Anderson looked poised to become the first number 11 to score a Test hundred.
But before he could add another run to his score, an edge off Bhuvneshwar Kumar carried to first slip, where Shikhar Dhawan dived to his right to claim a fine one-handed catch.
Anderson’s delight at his record-breaking batting feats soon turned to dismay as England wasted an early chance off his bowling. Vijay edged a full delivery but wicketkeeper Matt Prior was late diving and could not get a glove to the ball.
The openers added 49 before Dhawan brought about his own demise. Having breezed to a run-a-ball 29, he cracked a low full toss from Moeen Ali straight back to the bowler.
For nearly 30 overs, India were cruising, with Vijay and Pujara both making half-centuries.
But in the final half hour, Vijay was caught behind trying to smash Moeen out of the ground and Pujara cut Liam Plunkett to Ben Stokes at backward point off the next ball.
Another wicket or two would have put England in a position of real strength, but Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane calmly saw out the last six overs to leave the hosts requiring early breakthroughs on Sunday to keep alive their hopes of an unlikely win.
Listen to Geoffrey Boycott and Jonathan Agnew review the day’s play on the