BIRMINGHAM: Capitalising on a splendid bowling effort, India reached 116 for three in 41 overs in its second innings extending its lead to 248 runs on the third day of the Edgbaston Test here on Sunday.
Having lost opener Shubman Gill cheaply for 4, Cheteshwar Pujara played a characteristically resolute innings remaining unbeaten on 47.
Hanuma Vihari, too, fell for just 11, followed by Virat Kohli who got out for 20. First innings centurion Rishabh Pant was batting on 25.
Earlier, Mohammed Siraj bowled a hostile spell in the post-lunch session to neutralise a fine hundred by Jonny Bairstow as India bowled out England for 284 to take a sizeable 132-run first innings lead.
The morning session belonged to Bairstow (106 off 140 balls), who smashed the Indian attack after being extensively sledged by Virat Kohli.
Kohli had something to say to Bairstow about his ‘play and miss’ game and the England batter wasn’t someone to take the stuff lying down.
However, Siraj (4/66 in 11.3 overs) came back strongly in the second session to mop up the tail after Mohammed Shami (2/78) finally had some luck going his way.
The England innings lasted only 61.3 overs but its run-rate of 4.61 certainly keeps it in the fight in case it can keep the fourth innings target within 325, something the current set-up under Stokes would be confident of chasing.
Once Bairstow smashed Shardul Thakur (1/48 in 7 overs) through cover point to complete his 11th Test century off 119 balls and third in as many games, he suddenly went into a shell.
Skipper Jasprit Bumrah (3/68 in 19 overs), who has had a dream game as an individual performer, bowled a probing spell, beating the bat time and again.
Once the Bairstow-Sam Billings (36) stand of 92 runs ended, Siraj bowled fast and quick to get the remaining three wickets for addition of another 43 runs.
In the morning session, Thakur more than made up for dropping a regulation skier by dismissing Ben Stokes, but the in-form Bairstow’s brutal yet swift counter-attack did create some worries for the Indian team. Stokes (25) and England’s ‘man of the moment’ Bairstow added 66 for the sixth wicket before Bumrah produced a moment of inspiration on the field, taking a diving screamer off Thakur’s bowling to dismiss his opposite number.
The dismissal couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for India after an attacking field proved to be counter-productive as seven boundaries came between overs 33 and 36.
In fact, in a spell of 10 minutes, Stokes was dropped twice, first by Shardul, who couldn’t latch on to a skier when the English skipper had shimmied down the track only to mistime it.
BRIEF SCORES: India 416 & 116/3 in 41 overs (C Pujara 47 batting) vs England 284 in 61.3 overs (J Bairstow 106, M Siraj 4/66, J Bumrah 3/68).