England 316/6 at stumps on Day 3 against India; lead by 126 runs
In Cricket, England were 316 for six at stumps in their second innings on day three of the first test of a five-match series against India in Hyderabad.
Ollie Pope on 148 and Rehand Ahmed on 16 were at the crease when the stumps were withdrawn today.
Having erased a huge 190-run first-innings deficit, England now lead India by 126 runs.
In reply to England’s first innings total of 246, India were all out for 436 in the morning session.
For India JAsprit Bumrah and R Ashwin took two wickets each, while Axar Patel and Ravidra Jadeja shared two other wickets.
Ollie Pope scored a gritty fifth Test hundred, and added 112 runs for the sixth wicket with Ben Foakes to keep England going on an engrossing third day in Hyderabad. Indian bowlers, led by Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin, had the visitors on the mat at 172 for 5 at Tea. Pope however, set them on a recovery path, ending the day having steered England ahead by 126 runs.Pope’s 148*, incidentally, is the highest score by a visiting batter in the second innings vs India in India since Alastair Cook’s 176 in Ahmedabad in 2012 – the first Test of India’s last series defeat at home.
In a line-up with three frontline spinners, Joe Root soared as the best of the lot with a four-wicket haul as he accelerated the end of India’s innings. He began by denying Ravindra Jadeja – who’d gone into a shell early on – a century, and knocked back Jasprit Bumrah’s stumps with the next ball. His search for a hat-trick against Mohammed Siraj with six close-in fielders was futile but Rehan Ahmed cleaned up Axar Patel with a ball that spun and kept low, keeping India’s lead to 190.
England then started their innings like only they do, as Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett came out reverse-sweeping against Ashwin. Rohit Sharma’s decision to bring on Axar Patel in tandem was challenged with a lot of disdain as Crawley gave him the charge and picked quick runs. Though Ashwin got the better of him towards the end of the session, England’s ideas of batting quickly didn’t waver as they reached the first intermission at 89/1 in just 16 overs – wiping out nearly half the deficit.
Bumrah forced a change in complexion of the flow of play in the second session with a stirring spell that had him dismissing Duckett twice. First, LBW that Rohit refused to review (he should’ve) and then, in his next over, with one that came in with the round-the-wicket angle and sent Duckett’s off-stump cartwheeling. Life got queasy for England when shortly he trapped Joe Root leg before. Jonny Bairstow weathered a bit of the Bumrah storm, who was varying his pace for fun, unfurling deliveries 20kmph slower than the previous one with just a well-disguised flick of the wrist. Bairstow, however, was sucked in by a Jadeja trap as the left-arm spinner got one ball to turn away sharply and just the next to hold its line and flummox an unsuspecting Bairstow who offered no shot.
Ollie Pope meanwhile brought up a brisk fifty but shifted his gears downwards while trying to rebuild in the company of Ben Stokes. The England captain made an ultra-cautious start as India doubled up on spin and attempted to run through the middle and lower order while they still held a lead. As has always been the case, a mini-tussle of grit and wit ensued between Stokes and Ashwin, with the latter emerging victorious once more with a full ball that had flight, dip and turn to beat the outside edge of Stokes’s bat and clean him up.
From 172/5 at Tea, England’s attempt to politely turn the tables back began with Pope finding an able ally in Ben Foakes. The third session offered very slow spin, allowing the two batters to comfortably use their feet without fearing the consequences of the turn. The pair batted together for 30.1 overs to take the team to a respectable lead before Foakes fell to a slider from Axar Patel. Pope carried on in the company of a plucky Rehan Ahmed, who batted 31 of the 60 balls in the partnership.
Even after such a gritty batting day, England will need to have a lot more defiance in the tank on Day 4 if they are to take something away from this fixture.
Brief scores: England 246 & 316/6 (Ollie Pope 148*, Ben Duckett 47; Jasprit Bumrah 2-29, Ravichandran Ashwin 2-93) lead India 436 (Ravindra Jadeja 87, KL Rahul 86; Joe Root 4/79) by 126 runs