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England down in the dumps

Ravindra Jadeja led India’s strong lowerorder batting display with a career-best 90 before spin partner Ravichandran Ashwin wrecked England’s top order to put the hosts firmly in charge of the third Test.

England down in the dumps
Indian captain Virat Kohli celebrates as England captain Alastair Cook is bowled by R Ashwin


Jadeja (90) fell agonisingly short of his maiden Test century but shared 75-plus partnerships with Ashwin and Jayant Yadav to give India, who were all out for 417, a handy first-innings lead of 134 runs. Ashwin struck three times in the final session as England, 1-0 down in the fivematch series, slumped to 78-4 at the end of third day, still 56 runs behind. Joe Root was unbeaten on 36 at the close with nightwatchman Gareth Batty on nought and the touring side face an uphill battle to save the match at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. Resuming on 271-6, India needed four overs to erase the 12-run first-innings deficit before their lower order batsmen led them to a substantial lead. Ben Stokes, who produced a lion-hearted effort with the ball to claim 5-73, earned a breakthrough when he dismissed Ashwin for 72, a composed knock including 11 fours. 

The Ashwin-Jadeja stand was worth a match-high 97 runs and Jadeja went on to complete his third Test fifty, celebrating with his trademark swirling of the bat, before accelerating and smacking four boundaries in one Chris Woakes over. Aggression proved his downfall, however, as Jadeja stepped out to Adil Rashid and holed out in the deep to depart after a 170-ball knock (10 fours and a six). Jadeja added 80 runs with Jayant, who made 55, his maiden Test fifty. England opener Haseeb Hameed was struggling with a finger injury sustained in the first innings and Root opened the innings with Alastair Cook. Cook survived two reviews but could not capitalise, Ashwin pushing a delivery through the England captain’s defence to bowl him for 12. Moeen Ali chipped Ashwin to Jayant at mid-on, Jonny Bairstow fell caught behind to Jayant and Ashwin dismissed Ben Stokes for five to put India in a dominant position.

Lower-order batted well: Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja, who cracked a crucial 90, said India’s lower middle-order batting has been more than useful against England. “If lower-middle order contributes well, then it’s a plus point for every team and it’s a good sign for us that all have contributed well till now,” Jadeja told reporters after the day’s action. “In Test cricket, it all depends on the situation, if your team is in good position, the opposition feels the pressure and hence everything looks good,” he added. Commenting on the batting, off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who scored his maiden 50 said that his confidence has grown with this innings. “Really enjoyed getting maiden Test fifty. Really enjoyed batting with Jaad. Definitely the confidence has grown with the wickets and the runs. If I bat well, I can feel it in my bowling,” Yadav, who also picked up one wicket in the second innings said after the day’s play. “The best thing about this team is it didn’t make me feel I was playing for the first time. I didn’t feel out of place in the dressing room. They shared experience with me that might help me,”  he added.

Tickets for Chennai Test on sale

The season tickets for the fifth India vs England Test match, to be played at the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, will be on sale from Tuesday, 29 November from 8.30 am. The prices for the C and E lower chair are Rs. 300 and fans can buy these tickets at Booth No. 6. Tickets for the C and E upper stands will cost Rs. 500 and will be sold at Booth No. 4.

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