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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Report: England vs India, 1st Investec Test - Day 3


England were trailing by 105 runs with a wicket in hand at stumps on Day 3 of the first Test at Trent Bridge. Although Sam Robson and Gary Ballance denied India a wicket in the first session, Ishant Sharma led England’s downfall in the second session. The pacer claimed three wickets in the second session to bring the visitors back in the game. Mohammed Shami then chipped in with a wicket while Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked two as the trio wrecked the hosts’ middle-order in the session. However in the final session of the day, Joe Root dropped anchor to keep England in the game and was ably supported by Stuart Broad (47) and James Anderson in the effort. (Also Read: Stats Highlights: England vs India, 1st Investec Test - Day 3)

When play ended on the third day, Root (78*) and James Anderson (23*) had taken England to 352 for nine to keep the match hanging in balance. The pair had denied India an opportunity to bat again with an unbeaten 54-run stand for the tenth wicket. 

Earlier, the first session belonged to England as Robson and Ballance added 88 runs to their overnight score of 43/1 without losing a wicket. Unlike the first two days, the third day began under overcast conditions.

Facing an imposing total, the pair were circumspect in their approach in the morning. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami varied their length and kept the England batsmen quiet in the first hour of the day. Although runs were not flowing freely, Robson had struck a few boundaries as he worked his way forward. He nudged and drove the ball to the fence as he inched towards his fifty. 

Ishant who had conceded just a single in his only over in the early part of the session, hit the deck hard when brought back into the attack. Half-way through the session, MS Dhoni introduced spin from one end in the form of Ravindra Jadeja while Ishant pegged away at the other end. 

Ballance, who had begun slowly, too caught up. The No.3 bat, who was on 18 when Robson reached 41, changed gears with a boundary through mid-wicket off Ishant and followed it up with another through point. Not looking back thereafter he reached his fifty before the opener with a boundary off Stuart Binny behind point. Robson, who was dropped by Virat Kohli off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja earlier, soon followed suit and brought up his fifty with a hit to the ropes. 

However, early in the second session, Ishant ended the Robson-Ballance partnership for 125. The tall pacer trapped Robson lbw; and with a pitched-up delivery also claimed Ballance leg-before 20 runs later. 

With England on 154/3, Root joined Ian Bell in the middle to help recover from the fall of two quick wickets. Looking to keep the momentum going, Bell struck Bhuvneshwar Kumar for three boundaries in an over to collect 12 off it. But, the middle-order batsman’s stay in the middle was cut short by Ishant. A short ball from the pacer took the edge off Bell’s willow and was caught by Dhoni. Bending his back, Ishant got purchase out of the wicket and tipped the fortunes in his team’s favour post Lunch. 

A while later Shami got the better of Moeen Ali with a bouncer. The ball grazed past the bat and glove and was caught by Shikhar Dhawan in the slips as the batsman tried to get out of the way. In the next over Bhuvneshwar Kumar followed up with the wickets of Matt Prior and Ben Stokes. Both batsmen departed nicking the ball to the wicketkeeper leaving the hosts on 202/7. 

Broad then joined Root who was striving to hold-up one end. A few edges and hits didn’t carry to the fielders but the balance had shifted in India’s favour at tea. 

It was a testing period for the hosts when Root and Broad resumed the innings in the final session of the day. After a flurry of wickets the pair stabilised the innings. Scoring at a steady pace they built a partnership to ensure that England didn’t face a follow on. 

Broad changed the pace of the England innings as he milked the Indian bowlers and raced past Root. When Bhuvneshwar bowled with the new ball, he was dispatched to the fence with ease by the lower-order bat. Ishant faced a similar fate in the next over as Broad counterattacked. Sent back by Root he was fortunate not to be run out. However, in the next over, he was trapped leg-before by Bhuvneshwar for 47.

But, Root plodded along and posted a hard earned fifty as he kept the team in the fray with the tail-enders for company. Bhuvneshwar soon toppled Liam Plunkett’s bails to bring out the hosts’ last batsman out to the middle. Root farmed the strike as he looked to extend the innings with James Anderson. The No.11 bat swung his bat to add valuable runs as he helped England go past 350. 

Brief scores: 

Day 1: India 1st inn 259/4 in 90 overs (M Vijay 122*, MS Dhoni 50*)

Day 2: India 1st inn 457 all out in 161 overs (M Vijay 146, MS Dhoni 82, B Kumar 58, M Shami 51*, J Anderson 3/123); Eng 1st inn 43/1 in 17 overs (S Robson 20*, GS Ballance 15*) 

Day 3: Eng 1st inn 352/9 in 106 overs (J Root 78*, G Ballance 71, S Robson 59, B Kumar 4/61, I Sharma 3/109)

source: bcci.tv


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