Brief Scores: India 215/2 (Pujara 91*, Rohit 59, Kohli 45*, Overton 1/35) & 78 trail England 432 (Root 121, Shami 4/95) by 139 runs.
Overseas jitters for India, overcast conditions, and probably England over the moon is what Joe Root thought to roll over the visitors on Friday, but apparently the Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma and the Test champion Cheteshwar Pujara had other plans. India still have to go a long way in this game as two days of the Leeds Test match remains but they have knocked over the huge deficit they had against England at the start of the day by a substantial margin and they trail by 139 runs at the end of Day 3.
India knock over England for 432, score 34/1 in opening session
Play on Day 3 started with England’s batting where they were able to play only three overs in which they scored nine runs and lost their last two wickets. India came in to bat and scored 34 runs before KL Rahul got out to a stunning catch by Johnny Bairstow in the slip cordon off Craig Overton just before the lunch break. This resulted in the first session being shared by both sides.
Variation and disciplined bowling are England's strengths and they have been doing it with perfection in the Leeds Test so far. They were pitching it up, asking questions outside off and giving no freebies to batsmen. In addition to that the overcast conditions made India’s batters life difficult during the whole day. They shall be given credit for this and the two tall bowlers, Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton, kept asking questions with every ball and James Anderson, with his swing, showed that he is a master of the game.
Rohit, Pujara score vital fifties
Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara built up a good partnership of 82 runs and scored 78 runs in the second session before Rohit got dismissed at the start of the third session. India did not lose a single wicket in the second session. Both of them were leaving the ball with considerable ease and trying to put pressure back on English bowlers by speeding up the run rate.
Both of them played brilliant shots like upper cut, flick, hook and drive throughout their partnership. Rohit Sharma scored his second fifty of this series and supported his partner to keep India in the game on the third day of the third Test. Rohit Sharma averages 46 in this series with 230 runs against his name. Cricket pundits are in awe of Rohit Sharma's resilience.
The second session was a great example of grit and temperament. Rohit and Pujara showed the batsmanship of highest order and put the English bowler under pressure. India didn't loose any wicket that session and scored 78 crucial runs.
Captain Virat Kohli looked good in his knock of 45*
After Hitman getting out on 59 with India’s score at 116, Virat Kohli took to the crease and went on to add an undefeated 99 runs together before the end of third day’s play due to bad light. Pujara is playing on 91 runs with 14 boundaries and a strike rate of over 50. On the other end, Virat Kohli is playing on 45 runs with a strike rate of around 48. It seems like both are coming back into form at the right time and thinking of scoring as many runs as they can.
Cheteshwar Pujara scored his first half century in this series. This is one of his fastest fifties out of Asia. He will be thinking of converting this fifty into a big hundred so that he can also contribute in scoring runs for his side after a long gap.
Virat Kohli had been proactively leaving the ball outside the off stump as he has been notorious for getting out all the time while poking the balls in the corridor of uncertainty. He was very certain today of which ones to play and which ones to leave.
Pujara was fast in scoring runs on Day 3 but at the same time was found to be very certain of not repeating the previous mistakes. He was playing with soft hands when needed and keeping the ball on the ground. His performance has been top class to say the least.
What lies ahead
Rohit Sharma (59), Pujara batting on 91, and Virat Kohli on 45, Indian senior players have done a fantastic job by narrowing down the deficit to 139 runs. Kohli and Pujara would like to take it session by session tomorrow and bat as deep as they can through the day to give themselves something to defend.
However, England still hold all the aces, and they will be taking the new ball first up tomorrow, with their fast bowlers having had enough rest. If India can get through that first session without too many wickets down, who knows what will transpire in the match ahead. If India dominates one more day, we could be in for another tremendous Test.