Tue, Aug 21, 2018 - Page 16 News List

India pile on agony against England


India captain Virat Kohli plays a shot during the third day of their third Test cricket match against England at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, England, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Chesteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli yesterday scored fifties as India piled on the agony for England in the third Test at Trent Bridge.

India were 194-2 in their second innings at lunch on the third day, a commanding lead of 362 runs.

Pujara was 56 not out and India captain Kohli, who made 97 in the first innings, 54 not out.

Their so far unbroken partnership of 83 meant that India batted through the session without losing a wicket, and remained on course for a win that would cut England’s lead in the five-match series to 2-1.

England now need to surpass their highest fourth-innings total to win a Test — 332-7 against Australia at Melbourne back in the 1928-1920 season — if they are to achieve an astounding victory.

To make matters worse for England, wicket-keeper and leading batsman Jonny Bairstow on Sunday suffered a finger injury and had to leave the field.

India resumed on 124-2, already 292 runs in front, with Pujara 33 not out and Kohli unbeaten on eight.

With three days still left to play, India could dictate the course of the game after skittling England out for 161, with Hardik Pandya taking a stunning 5-28 in six overs — the pace-bowling all-rounder’s maiden five-wicket Test haul — on Sunday.

Kohli was soon into his stride, clipping all-rounder Chris Woakes off his pads for four in the second over of Monday’s play, with Pujara scoring a boundary in similar fashion off James Anderson.

While conditions offered a degree of assistance to swing bowlers on Sunday, they could not explain England’s latest in a long line of batting collapses.

Having been 54-0, they lost nine wickets for 74 runs and only avoided the follow-on thanks to Jos Buttler’s 39.

Moreover, a score of 86-4 meant that in their past 61 Test innings, England had lost their fourth wicket having scored 100 runs or fewer on 30 occasions.

Another longstanding problem for England has been their slip catching and they floored their fifth chance in the cordon this match when Buttler, a wicket-keeper by trade, moved late at the second slip before grassing a low, left-handed chance after Pujara, on 40, edged Anderson.

Buttler was pressed into service as a replacement wicket-keeper after Bairstow failed to gather a swinging Anderson delivery by Pujara and took a painful blow on the tip of his left middle finger.

Bairstow writhed in agony before walking off for an X-ray with England one-day gloveman Buttler, who was a wicket-keeper early in his Test career, taking over behind the stumps.

India had no need to rush, with Pujara happy to grind England into the ground with a 147-ball fifty including seven fours.

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