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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Buttler's half-century gives England the upperhand

Buttler's half-century gives England the upperhand

September 02, 2018 00:01 IST

Jos Buttler

IMAGE: Jos Buttler's half-century put England in a strong position on Day 3. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Jos Buttler hit a half-century to put England in a strong position on Day 3 of the fourth Test against India at Southampton on Saturday.


Buttler top scored with 69 to help England finish the day on 260 for eight, for an overall lead of 233 runs.

 

Sam Curran once again proved to be a thorn in India's flesh as he stroked a fluent 37, to follow up on his 78 in the first innings, while captain Joe Root made 48.

Buttler received good support from the stodgy Ben Stokes (30) adding 56 runs for the sixth wicket before he added 55 runs for the seventh wicket with the ever-improving Curran.

IMAGE: Joe Root is run out by a direct hit from Mohammed Shami. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

This was Buttler's ninth Test fifty and he showed a lot of application even though he was troubled by the initial spell from Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.

In fact, England were in a spot of bother on 122 for five when Root was run out by Shami.

England off-spinner Moeen Ali picked up five wickets in the first innings but Ravichandran Ashwin toiled hard to claim just one wicket in his 35 overs, when he got Stokes caught in the slips.

Buttler however continued to defy the Indian bowlers in company of Curran as they consumed nearly 17 overs.

Finally, it was the second new ball that did the trick as Ishant angled one into Buttler to trap him leg before wicket.

IMAGE: India's players celebrate the wicket of Jonny Bairstow. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Earlier, India maintained the upper hand during the first two sessions on the third day.

Having removed Keaton Jennings (36) at the stroke of lunch, Shami was on a hat-trick when he removed Jonny Bairstow (0) off the very first ball post break.

However, Stokes and Root negotiated the Indian bowling well for the next 14 overs before the England captain was run out by a direct hit from Shami at mid-on.

IMAGE: Alastair Cook is caught at second slip by KL Rahul off Jasprit Bumrah. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Bumrah got the first breakthrough in the morning session as Alastair Cook edged to KL Rahul at second slip, who held on to a juggling catch on the third attempt.

Surprisingly, Moeen Ali (9) was given a promotion and batted at number three, albeit managing only nine runs before he was brilliantly caught by Rahul in the slips off Ishant.

It was his 11th catch in the series, the most for an Indian fielder in England, going past Rahul Dravid's 10 catches in the 2002 four-Test series in England.

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