After Sharma gave England a scare, a superb century from Matt Prior moved the hosts into a dominant position.
Ishant Sharma deserves a mention for his devastating pre-lunch spell which removed Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell and Jonathon Trott in the blink of an eye, but the undoubted star of the show was 51allout favourite Matt Prior. Prior came to the crease with England in something of a crisis and produced a fine counter-attacking century. He showed remarkable composure to first consolidate England’s position and end the flow of wickets, and once he and Stuart Broad had weathered the worst of the storm he changed gears and flayed the tiring Indian attack all round the park to give his bowlers plenty of time to bowl at the Indians following the declaration. This knock, coupled with his unselfish 71 in the first innings and faultless keeping, cements his position as the best wicket-keeper batsman in test cricket.
After ripping the heart out of the English middle order before lunch, Dhoni’s decision not to give the ball to Ishant Sharma untill about 35 minutes into the second session was baffling. England will have been delighted to see Raina come on first up, and although he was a willing trier, Praveen Kumar was largely innocuous once the ball stopped swinging much. A lot of the pressure was relieved and Prior and Morgan were able to build a handy partnership which was eventually broken by (you guessed it) Sharma. Dhoni has not covered himself in glory thus far in the match.
All three results are possible, although an Indian win would take an almost unheard of effort. England will fancy their chances, especially as Sachin Tendulkar has a virus and cannot bat until 12.38pm or the fall of the fifth wicket, and whether or not Gautam Gambhir will be fit to bat is yet to be seen following the blow on his elbow he took fielding at short leg