Rajkot [India], Nov. 12 : Alastair Cook and debutant Haseer Hameed stitched an unbeaten 114-run opening stand to place England as the front runners at the end of the fourth day of the first Test of the five-match series here at the Saurashtra Cricket Stadium (SCA) on Saturday.
After bowling out India for 488, England got a lead of 49 runs, which is significant given the context of the game.
With the bowl turning and considering the Day Four pitch, much was expected from the Indian spin trio, especially Ravichandran Ashwin who was brimming with confidence after striking an invaluable half century to cut down the deficit to mere 49, which at one stage looked like going above 100.
But the England openers tackled the Indian bowling attack and didn't provide hosts any chance to unsettle them.
What was most impressive was to see the 19-year-old England opener, playing with great confidence and certainty against the Indian bowlers, especially the spinners.
Earlier, India resumed the day at 319/4 and Ajinkya Rahane walked out to bat with Virat Kohli. They added 30 runs to the overnight score without any trouble before Rahane was bowled by Ansari off a straight delivery.
India were all out for 488 runs in their first innings following England's 537 on the Saturday. Ashwin, who came in to bat when the hosts were placed on a shaky 349 for five, made 70 off 139 balls to restrict England's first-innings lead to 49 runs.
At Stumps on Day Four, England stood 114-0 with Cook (46*) and Hameed (62*) still at the crease, giving the visitors a lead of 163 runs.
However, with only three more sessions to go in the Test, the match appears heading for a draw unless the visitors suffer sudden batting collapse on a wicket that had little to offer to the bowlers.