Nagpur, Dec 15: Virat Kohli slammed a patient century while captain Mahendra Singh missed it by just one run as the duo showed admirable tenacity under pressure to lead a remarkable Indian fightback which has restored the balance in the fourth and final cricket Test against England here today.
Resuming at a precarious 87 for 4 in response to England's first innings total of 330, Kohli (103) and Dhoni (99)played with great discipline and curbed their natural strokeplay on a slow track as the hosts reached 297 for eight at close on the third day which was dominated by the home team.
R Ashwin was batting on seven when play was called off after Piyush Chawla's dismissal, with India still trailing by 33 runs.
The young Kohli, who has been woefully out of form in the series, notched up his third Test century while Dhoni also silenced his detractors as the pair added 198 runs for the fifth wicket to bring India back into the game.
The Indians, who desperately need to win the match to level the four-match series 2-2, put up a good fightback through Dhoni and Kohli in a partnership which lasted for 84.3 overs. Both of them played their longest Test match knock in terms of balls faced.
It was an uncharacteristically subdued knock by Dhoni who consumed as many as 246 balls before being tragically run out for 99 much to the dismay of the vociferous crowd at the VCA stadium.
Dhoni has been under tremendous pressure after the back-to-back defeats in Mumbai and Kolkata and he showed great character to rise to the occasion with his resolute effort in difficult batting conditions to bail the team out of trouble.
With two days left in the game, India will seek to take a decent first innings lead and put pressure on England who need only a draw to record their first series triumph on Indian soul in 28 years.
Spinner Graeme Swann broke the marathon partnership when he trapped Kohli leg before while debutant Ravindra Jadeja (12) and Chawla (1) fell soon after to peg India back a little bit by the end of the day.