Pujara and Pant lead Indian charge in second innings

England ended Day 2 on 84/5 with Ben Stokes and Johnny Bairstow batting. Day 3 started off for them similarly. Against the swinging ball and pace, batsmen looked uncomfortable. But they passed the testing spell of Bumrah and Shami in the first hour. The runs started to flow for them as Bairstow took the charge along with Stokes. Captain Stokes fell to Shardul Thakur.

Johnny Bairstow and Sam Billings continued to attack the Indian bowlers. Bairstow and Virat Kohli had a small heated exchange of words too. Bairstow unleashed his full range of strokes and completed his 11th century. He fell on 106 off 140 balls. Bumrah tied him up and Shami got him with a strategical ball that otherwise Baitstow would have left alone. Kohli completed a good catch to dismiss the threat.

Bairstow continued his form and scored a century
Bairstow continued his form and scored a century

Billings couldn’t hold the innings for long and Siraj cleared the tail. He ended up with 4 wickets and India got 132 runs lead. India in their first innings scored 416 runs. England in reply managed 284, mainly because of Bairstow’s century.

India started their second innings to give England a score that they would be uncomfortable to chase. As they have chased thrice against New Zealand record scores in fourth innings of three tests, India needed a solid start. But James Anderson sent back Shubman Gill with a regulation nick in the first over itself. Hanuma Vihari and Cheteswar Pujara resisted England bowling for 16 overs but Vihari fell scoring 11 runs off 44 balls to Broad’s full delivery.

Virat Kohli seemed to be shaping up well but he fell for Ben Stokes delivery that suddenly bounced from good length. Kohli scored 20 runs off 40 balls. Rishabh Pant came to the crease and continued to bat as freely as he did in the first innings. He scored 30 runs off 46 balls and Pujara completed 50 off 139 balls. Both of them will continue to bat on 4th Day.

India secured a lead off 257 runs till now. They might look to extend it up to 400, if Pant, Jadeja score as freely and fast as they did in the first innings with some flourish from the tail-enders. As England would be high on confidence to chase any target, India might look to use the variable bounce on late 4th Day and complete 5th Day to win at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

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