Stumps India 181 for 6 (Rahane 61, Pujara 45, Wood 3-40, Ali 2-52) and 364 lead England 391 by 154 runs
In the ongoing India-England Test, England practicing control and patience, bowled tight line and lengths throughout the day restricting runs and maintaining pressure on an otherwise flat pitch to remain dominant going into the last day.
India face early jitters, slip to 55/3
After England’s tremendous batting performance on the back of Joe Root’s innings of 180*, India started the day 27 runs behind, hoping to get a solid start and swaying away the dangers of the new ball.
Mark Wood, being introduced into the attack early, ran in hard, mixing up his lengths to nick off the 1st innings centurion, KL Rahul by a bit extra bounce off the wicket. Wood, pitching a ball short, induced Rohit Sharma to go for his signature lofted pull for 6, starting a small contest between them with the pacer continuing to bowl bouncers with fielders out in the deep. Rohit seemingly unaffected by the evident plan got out on the third ball playing the same shot, the second time this series.
India, who started the day being a bit behind the Englishmen were now 2 down at leveled scores with an off-late shaky middle order and a long tail to follow. Virat Kohli who looked in much better flow in the second innings, once again refused to change his approach towards the deliveries on or outside the off-stump, playing high risk shots resulting in an obvious eventual wicket at 20 off 31. India’s score read 55/3 then.
Pujara, Rahane get together in grinding role
India, in a difficult position found Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara intently working to fight through bad form and construct some sort of innings for the team. Pujara faced 35 balls to get off the mark, while Ajinkya also hung in there to take the team to lunch with no further loss of wickets.
The post lunch session saw the two batsmen batting with increased confidence, even though in a defensive fashion. Running between the wickets well, Pujara and Rahane toiled hard to put up a 100 runs partnership off a mammoth 297 balls faced. Batting through the session, India took crucial time away from the game and ensured no further batting collapse.
Mark Wood bowled exceedingly well for his 3/40
The England pacers, not letting the game slip away, bowled well to restrict runs, showing the Indian team the right fielding approach in conditions not offering much. Not giving loose balls, taking proactive decisions – whether it was putting a fielder to stop easy rotation of strike or making the second slip fielder stand ahead of the keeper to catch balls which may keep low off the edges, England adapted to the situation much better than the tourists keeping their advantage throughout the day. Mark Wood returned figures of 3/40 by close of play on day 4.
By the third session, the pitch showing slight signs of wear and tear found spin along with some variable bounce. The two batsmen who were batting for a long time were dismissed playing soft shots right before the new ball was to be taken. Ravindra Jadeja who is otherwise in sublime form got out uncharacteristically early by a peach of a delivery off Moeen Ali.
India at 181/6 at stumps with Rishabh Pant still there
Stumps were called early due to bad light with Rishabh Pant and Ishant Sharma still on the crease. India on 181/6 with a lead of 154 seem to find themselves in a concerning position.
With England clearly on top, India will hope for something special out of its chirpy young wicket keeper batsmen, Rishabh Pant. Although the pitch has signs of wear and tear, India would need at least 220 runs on the board to have a reasonable chance to hold the game.
The second new ball will most probably be taken at start of play tomorrow and fans will pray that India can rise up again from the clutches of England, post independence day.
Brief Scores: India 364 (KL Rahul 129, Rohit Sharma 83; James Anderson 5-62, Ollie Robinson 2-73) & 181/6 (Ajinkya Rahane 61, Cheteshwar Pujara 46; Mark Wood 3-40, Moeen Ali 2-52) lead England 391 (Joe Root 180*, Jonny Bairstow 57; Mohammad Siraj 4-94, Ishant Sharma 3-69) by 154 runs