Kolkata, Dec 8 (IBNS) Heroics by Ravichandran Ashwin helped India avoid an innings defeat after the fourth day's play in the in the crucial third cricket Test at the Eden Gardens here Saturday.
Ashwin remained unbeaten on 83 as India took a 32-run lead in the second innings against England. Along with Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha remained unbeaten on three as India ended the day at 239 for nine in the second innings.
England are now close to taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match series as Indian batting crumbled in the second innings without a semblance of fight.
At stumps, Ashwin was batting with Pragyan Ojha (3 batting) as the hosts nosed ahead with a 32 run lead over the visitors, who were bowled out for 523 runs in the first innings earlier in the day.
Ashwin and Ojha added 42 off 63 balls but only a miracle can prevent England from the second straight win after Mumbai. India had triumphed in the opening Test in Ahmedabad.
Steve Finn (3-37) was the pick of the English bowlers followed by James Anderson (2/38) and Graeme Swann (2-70). Monty Panesar got one wicket.
India started the day on the bright note by wrapping up the England tail taking four quick wickets, to restrict the tourists to a 207 run first innings lead.
Indian openers Virender Sehwag (49) and Gautam Gambhir (40) gave a good start with their 86-run stand but the script changed in the second session when India lost six wickets fell for 59 runs.
In the last session, India lost three more. Virat Kohli (20), Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma (10) departed in quick successions.
In fading daylight, Ashwin hit consecutive fours off Swann to get his third test fifty that prevented India from suffering the ignominy of a rare innings defeat on home soil.