Chennai: England made India work overtime with the unlikely duo of Adil Rashid and debutant Liam Dawson leading a lower-order resistance to power the visitors to 452 for eight in the fifth and final cricket Test here.
At tea on the second day of the game, Dawson and Stuart Broad were batting on 55 and 17 respectively, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Starting the day on a shaky note that saw them lose three wickets, including that of centurion Moeen Ali (146), England regrouped in the second session and scored exactly 100 runs, with their tail wagging after two crucial half centuries down the order.
Rashid (60) and Dawson (55) shared 108 runs for the eighth wicket, falling short of the eighth-wicket record on this ground by just four runs.
While Rashid was the senior partner and played a pivotal role in the partnership by sticking around, Dawson, on debut, showed some excellent batting skills and temperament considering that England were 0-3 down in the five-match series.
Rashid got to his fifty with a superb cover drive off Ravindra Jadeja and brought up the 100-run partnership with another boundary, behind point, in the same over.
Having overcome the initial jitters after pacer Ishant Sharma tested him with a flurry of short-pitched deliveries, Dawson got into the groove by playing some delectable shots en-route to reaching his maiden half century with a single to long-on.
However, before Dawson's moment of joy arrived, Umesh Yadav cut short the association when he had Rashid, attempting to cut a shortish ball through point, edged one to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
The pitch is slow and though it has turn, it gives the batsmen enough time to adjust and play their shots accordingly. The turn will be there, but it is likely to get slower over the next three days.
The pacers also did not try the yorkers enough, perhaps, owing to lack of movement in the air.
Earlier, India snapped up three early wickets before England moved to 352 for seven at lunch.
Dawson (27) and Rashid (8) were the unbeaten batsmen at the crease at lunch.
Resuming their innings at 284 for four, England were dealt the first blow early in the morning when overnight batsman Ben Stokes (6) was dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin with the fifth ball of the session.
Ashwin drew Stokes forward with a slower delivery and the batsman ended up getting a faint edge that was caught by wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel as England slipped to 287 for five.
With Ishant and Ashwin bowling in tandem, runs dried up as new man Jos Butler and Moeen tried to resurrect the innings.
Moeen, in fact, found the going tough against Ishant, who looked to trouble the batsman with his short-pitched deliveries and had a faint chance when the left-hander tried to play a hook shot and the mishit landed just short of Amit Mishra.
Moeen brought up the team's 300 with a single in the 96th over, but Sharma dismissed Butler in the very next delivery by trapping him in front of wicket as England slumped to 300 for six.
In the next over, Moeen danced down the track and blasted a six off Ashwin, before picking up a boundary through the midwicket area in the last ball to ease the pressure.
However, Moeen could not stay longer as he fell to a bouncer from Umesh Yadav in the 104th over. After fending at a couple of balls, Moeen tried to play a pull shot and ended up top-edging it for a running Jadeja to complete a catch.
Dawson and Rashid then steadied the innings, adding 31 runs off 92 balls. The 26-year-old Dawson, who is playing his debut Test, scored three boundaries in his 59-ball unbeaten innings.
England are playing for pride after suffering three successive crushing defeats at the hands of India in the ongoing five-Test series.
Updated Date: Dec 17, 2016 15:31:18 IST