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PIX: Pacers, Pujara put India in control on Day 3

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 04, 2022 00:17 IST
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Images from Day 3 of the rescheduled fifth and final Test match between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Sunday.

IMAGE: Cheteshwar Pujara hit a solid half-century to swell India's lead on Day 3 of the fifth Test match in Birmingham on Sunday. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

India's famed pace bowling unit for the umpteenth time put its team in pole position, bowling out England for 284 before the hosts just about managed to put a foot in the door by getting the top-order cheaply in an engrossing third day's play in the rescheduled fifth Test on Sunday.

 

At stumps on Day 3, India were 125/3 in their second innings with Cheteshwar Pujara (50 not out) hitting a gutsy half-century, battling it out in the company of the flamboyant Rishabh Pant (30 not out) as the duo extended India's overall lead stood to 257 with two day's play still left.

However, the dismissals of Shubman Gill (4), Hanuma Vihari (11) and Virat Kohli (20) had given England some hopes earlier in the day.

Kohli, as usual, got the best delivery of the day when rival skipper Ben Stokes got one to kick off quite alarmingly from length as Joe Root took a good reaction catch at first slip after wicketkeeper Sam Billings had failed to pouch the edge.

Pujara played his usual waiting game with the clips off his toes and the occasional square cuts when provided width. Pant, on the other hand, mixed caution with aggression and he showed why he will be the key batter for India on the fourth day.

IMAGE: Ben Stokes celebrates with team-mates after taking the wicket of Virat Kohli. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

While India in recent years, after taking a 100-run plus lead, have never lost a Test match, the current England side under Brendon McCullum's 'Bazball' philosophy has made a mockery of near 300-run chases.

India would like to score at least 275 in their second essay and set England a target of at least 400-plus in order to close the match.

It was an action-packed day on Sunday as England scored runs at 4.61 runs per over, courtesy of Jonny Bairstow, who smashed a brilliant 106 off 140 balls for his third successive century.

Bairstow was swift yet brutal in his assault which got him 14 boundaries and two sixes.

But, in line with India's overseas script in the last couple of years, the troika of skipper Jaspreet Bumrah (3/68 in 19 overs), Mohammed Shami (2/78 in 22 overs) and Mohammed Siraj (4/66 in 11.3 overs) kept up the pressure to ensure a sizeable lead of 132 runs.

Shardul Thakur (1/48) was taken to the cleaners by Bairstow but his happy knack of picking up crucial wickets saw him get rid of Stokes (25) just when the partnership of 66 was looking dangerous.

IMAGE: Jonny Bairstow celebrates after completing his century on Day 3. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Earlier, Mohammed Siraj bowled a hostile spell in the post-lunch session to neutralise a fine hundred by Jonny Bairstow as India bowled out England for 284 to take a sizeable 132-run first innings lead .

India scored another 37 runs in their second innings losing Shubman Gill (4)'s wicket, extending the overall lead to 169 at tea on Day 3. Cheteshwar Pujara (17) and Hanuma Vihari (10) were at the crease at the tea interval.

The morning session belonged to Bairstow (106 off 140 balls), who smashed the Indian attack after being extensively sledged by Virat Kohli.

IMAGE: James Anderson celebrates with team-mates after taking the wicket of Shubman Gill.. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Kohli had something to say to Bairstow about his 'play and miss' game and the England batter wasn't someone to take the stuff lying down.

Post that altercation, Bairstow started chancing his arms and played a lot of lofted shots over mid-off and clipped a few towards the mid-wicket boundary.

However, Siraj (4/66 in 11.3 overs) came back strongly in the second session to mop up the tail after Mohammed Shami (2/78) finally had some luck going his way.

IMAGE: Mohammed Siraj celebrates after taking the wicket of Sam Billings. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The England innings lasted only 61.3 overs but their run-rate of 4.61 certainly keeps them in the fight in case they can keep the fourth innings target within 325, something the current set-up under Stokes would be confident of chasing.

Once Bairstow smashed Shardul Thakur (1/48) through the off-side to complete his 11th Test century off 119 balls and third in as many games, he suddenly went into a shell.

Skipper Jasprit Bumrah (3/68 in 19 overs), who has had a dream game as an individual performer, bowled a probing spell, beating the bat time and again.

IMAGE: Virat Kohli exchanges words with Jonny Bairstow. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

In the next 20 balls, Bairstow managed only six runs after his mayhem that saw him get 14 boundaries and two sixes.

Bottled up by Bumrah, Bairstow had no option but to try an expansive drive when a fuller delivery was pitched on the fourth stump line. The resultant thick edge was smartly taken by a leaping Kohli, who made amends for his needless engagement with the batter.

Once the Bairstow-Sam Billings (36) stand of 92 runs ended, Siraj bowled fast and quick to get the remaining three wickets for the addition of 43 runs.

IMAGE: Jonny Bairstow hits out during Day 3 of the rescheduled fifth Test match at Edgbaston in Birmingham, on Sunday. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

In the morning session, Thakur more than made up for dropping a regulation skier by dismissing Ben Stokes, but the in-form Bairstow's brutal yet swift counter-attack did create some worries for the Indian team.

Stokes (25) and the in-form Bairstow added 66 for the sixth wicket before Bumrah produced a moment of inspiration on the field, taking a diving screamer off Thakur's bowling to dismiss his opposite number.

The dismissal couldn't have come at a more opportune time for India after an attacking field proved to be counter-productive as seven boundaries came between overs 33 and 36.

IMAGE: India pacer Shardul Thakur celebrates after taking the wicket of England captain Ben Stokes. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Infact, in a spell of 10 minutes, Stokes was dropped twice, first by Shardul, who couldn't latch on to a skier when the English skipper had shimmied down the track only to mistime it.

The second chance was off the delivery before the dismissal when he flat-batted Shardul straight to Bumrah at mid-off but, to everyone's horror, he missed a regulation catch.

But instead of being discreet, Stokes did a repeat act, only to find the Indian skipper holding on to a much tougher chance.

IMAGE: Shardul Thakur drops the catch of Ben Stokes off the bowling of Mohammed Shami. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Bairstow, who seemed to be struggling during the final hour on the second day, did play and miss during the first 20 minutes in the morning.

While Thakur got the prized scalp of Stokes, Bairstow handed him some harsh punishment with a ramp shot followed by a square drive.

There was also a regal pick-up pull for a maximum off Siraj's bowling.

There were two more sixes off Thakur's bowling as the session belonged to England with Bairstow smashing 12 fours and two sixes in his 113-ball knock.

Bairstow, who was batting on 13 from 61 balls at one stage, staged a stunning counter-attack smash 78 from the next 52 balls as England smashed 116 runs in 18.3 overs for the loss of one wicket in the morning session, which finished 15 minutes early because of rain.

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