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England close in on victory in 3rd test as India trails by 332 at 112-4 on Day 4

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SOUTHAMPTON, England - England was closing in on a series-levelling victory in the third test on Wednesday after reducing India to 112-4 in its second innings and leading the tourists by 332 runs on day four at the Rose Bowl.

Looking to end its worst run without a test win in 28 years, England was in its strongest position yet after declaring its second innings on 205-4 at an early tea for a lead of 444 runs.

India, 1-0 up in the series, then lost a rash of key wickets in the final session.

Murali Vijay (12) was run out with a direct hit by Stuart Broad from square leg after Shikhar Dhawan unnecessarily dashed for a single.

Cheteshwar Pujara (2) fell to Moeen Ali, Dhawan (37) became Joe Root's first test wicket before Ali struck again when Virat Kohli was caught behind (28).

India, needing to bat through day five for an unlikely draw, has Ajinkya Rahane (18) and Rohit Sharma (6) at the crease.

"It is not easy to bat out there," Dhawan said. "Sometimes it is keeping straight, sometimes it is turning. We are going to look to build a big partnership and spend time in the middle. England is in a good position at the moment."

England captain Alastair Cook had earlier hit an unbeaten 70 in its second innings as the home side declared for a second time in the third test.

Like the three previous days, the fourth went according to plan for the home side.

Cook, whose captaincy and position in the side was under intense scrutiny ahead of the test due to his poor batting form and perceived leadership shortcomings, continued to look confident and assured at the crease after hitting 95 in the first innings.

His resurgence with the bat was marked when he swept Ravindra Jadeja past short leg for four and his 37th test 50.

"As days of cricket go, that's one that you want to have," Root said. "A lot of credit has to go to Cooky, the way he set the game up there with the bat and the way he judged his innings was pretty much down to a tee. Then to go and take four wickets was fantastic. We wanted at least a couple but to make good inroads into their top order was really pleasing."

Root smashed 56 off 41 deliveries, taking 38 to make 50, as England piled on the runs. Cook's 70 came from 114 balls. When Root was bowled by Jadeja, Cook walked off with him to the pavilion, prompting England's declaration.

Jadeja also dismissed Gary Ballance for 38 off 48 deliveries, and Ian Bell, 23 from 21 balls. Opener Sam Robson made 13 before edging Bhuvneshwar Kumar to Dhawan at first slip.

Earlier, James Anderson quickly wrapped up India's first innings within 22 minutes at the start of the day.

He dismissed India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (50) and Mohammed Shami (5) to finish with his 16th 5-for in tests. Both were caught behind by Jos Buttler.

India, on 323-8 overnight, added only seven runs to its total.

With a 239-run lead, England did not enforce the follow-on, deciding to give strike bowlers Anderson, 5-53 off 26 overs, and Broad, 3-66, a chance to rest before the second declaration, which was already anticipated to be around the tea interval.

But at the end of a brilliant day for Anderson, coincidentally his 32nd birthday, he appeared to get involved in an exchange of words with Rahane after bowling the final ball of the last session.

Anderson is already on a level three charge for pushing and abusing Jadeja from the first test at Trent Bridge, an incident which England accused India of "making a mountain out of a molehill" about.

Anderson's hearing regarding the incident is on Friday. If the charge is upheld, he could be banned for four test matches.

"I wasn't aware that was at all the case, I'm sure it was absolutely nothing," Root said, while Dhawan conceded that verbal exchanges occasionally happen on the pitch.

"That's normal. It is normal in cricket. It happens sometimes and you just go on with it," Dhawan said.

Root believes that Anderson can lead the charge for England on the final day, as it looks to end its run of seven test defeats in nine.

"We have got six wickets to take tomorrow. If we can do that, we are right back in the series," Root said. "Hopefully he can play a big part along with the rest of the guys. We are really hungry for a win, obviously it has been a long time now and that is all we are really bothered about."

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