Pacers put India on top before Pujara extends 50 lead to 257 BIRMINGHAM, 3rd July (PTI) India’s famed pace bowling unit took their team to pole position for the umpteenth time and bowled out England for 284 before the The hosts just got a foot in the door by cheaply taking the top order in the fifth Test in a gripping game of day three.
At stumps, India was 125-3 in their second innings, with Cheteshwar Pujara (50 strokes, 139 balls) displaying his plucky half-century avatar and battling in the company of the flamboyant Rishabh Pant (30 strokes, 46 balls). . The overall lead was 257 runs.
However, the dismissals of Shubman Gill (4), Hanuma Vihari (11) and Virat Kohli (20) would make visitors uneasy\\.
Kohli, as usual, had the best performance of the entire third day of play when rival skipper Ben Stokes made one rear up from length and no batsman could have survived such a performance with less than a split second reaction time.
Kohli, standing a good two feet outside the batting line, literally put his best foot forward to defend from 17 yards while addressing the probing questions James Anderson kept asking, but as luck would have it, this delivery outside the Aus -stump had his name written on it.
Pujara played his usual waiting game with the clips from his toes and the occasional square cut when they were wide. Pant, on the other hand, mixed caution with aggression and if he stays an hour on the fourth morning he will turn the tables completely.
While India have never lost a friendly in recent years after leading over 100 runs, the current England side under Brendon McCullum’s ‘bazball’ (relentless attack) philosophy have made nearly 300 runs a laughing stock in chases.
India want to score at least 275 points in their second essay and England want a target of at least 400 plus to finish the game.
Day three is considered a moving day in Test cricket and things actually moved at a breakneck pace as England hit runs at 4.61 runs per over thanks to Jonny Bairstow’s (106 balls from 140) counter-attack for the third hundred in as many To play.
Bairstow was quick but brutal in his attack, which earned him 14 boundaries and two sixes.
But in line with India’s overseas script over the past few years, the troika of skippers 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 secure a respectable 132-run lead.
Shardul Thakur (1/48) was brought to the cleaners by Bairstow but his lucky knack of picking up crucial wickets saw him get rid of Stokes (25) when the 66 partnership looked dangerous.
Kohli sleds, Bairstow hammers
The morning session belonged to Bairstow (106 balls from 140), who smashed the Indian attack after being sled extensively by Kohli.
Kohli had something to say to Bairstow about his play and miss game and the England batsman wasn’t one to put down the stuff.
After this altercation, Bairstow began to switch arms and played many lofted shots over center and clipped some towards the middle of the wicket.
“Please don’t poke the bear that is Johnny Bairstow again,” commenter Ian Bishop noted on Twitter, while Virender Sehwag joked that Kohli forced Bairstow to transform from “pujara to pant.”
Bairstow, who appeared to be struggling in the last hour of day two, played and missed the first 20 minutes in the morning.
But once Bumrah continued up the attacking field, he had plenty of options before the wicket.
While Thakur received Stokes’ prized scalp, Bairstow hit him with a harsh penalty with a ramp shot followed by a square drive.
There was also a royal pick-up pull for a max from Siraj’s bowling.
There were two more sixes from Thakur’s bowling as the morning session belonged to England before India staged a comeback in the next.
Bumrah pushes, Siraj reaps reward
After shattering Shardul Thakur (1/48 in 7 overs) through a cover point to complete his 11th century Test with 119 balls and finish third in as many games, Bairstow suddenly found himself in a clam.
Having a dream game as a singles player, skipper Jasprit Bumrah (3/68 in 19 overs) threw a practice spell and hit the racquet over and over again.
Over the next 20 balls, Bairstow only managed six runs after his mayhem, which included 14 boundaries and two sixes.
Bairstow was bottled up by Bumrah and had no choice but to attempt an expansive drive when a fuller delivery was pitched on Shami’s fourth stump line. The resulting thick edge was deftly taken by a leaping Kohli, making amends for his needless altercation with the batsman.
When Bairstow-Sam Billings (36) went down with 92 runs, Siraj rolled fast and fast to get the remaining three wickets for another 43 runs.
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