Day 3 review –
There have been rare occasions when an Indian team is on top of the opposition in overseas
conditions. Day 2 of this match was one such instance where India quite unexpectedly dominated
England and further tightened its grip on the match on day 3. It was refreshing to see the tourists
getting past the initial woes to play with freedom and extend their supremacy over the hosts.
When the day started it was pretty clear that India had to bat through without taking any risks to
extend the lead. Pujara and Captain Kohli did exactly what was doctor ordered. They scored only 70
runs in the session but there was no damage done. Both the batsmen took their time to set in and
got their fifties to strengthen India’s hold on the game.
Against the run of play, Pujara lost his wicket after a well compiled 72 as he edged one off Ben
Stokes. He was terribly disappointed after getting out as he was well set to get a big one.
Nevertheless, it was good to see him get some runs in England which should do his confidence a
world of good. The skipper at the other end looked unflustered. Kohli was rock solid and made the
most of every bad ball that came his way. Virat brought up his 23 rd Test ton with a gentle dab to third
man for a boundary. It was his 4 th slowest test century ever but was significant to put India in a great
position. He put on 57 runs with Ajinkya Rahane before falling LBW to Chris Woakes on 103.
Rishabh Pant soon followed his captain on 1, nicking behind a classic Anderson outswinger. Hardik
Pandya joined Rahane in the middle to take the attack to the hosts. While Rahane was struggling a
little bit, runs were flowing of Pandya’s bat as he had got the license to go for it. Rahane’s sluggish
innings was ended on 29 by Adil Rashid who went through his defence. Meanwhile, Pandya
continued his onslaught to reach a quickfire half-century of as many balls. India declared the innings
on 352/7 setting a target of 521 runs for the hosts. The English openers survived a tricky period of
play of 9 overs at the end of the day needing 498 more to win.
After the events on day 2, today had to be India’s day. The batsmen put their heads down to make
the English bowlers toll and extended the lead beyond 500. The captain has been nothing short of
outstanding on this tour so far going past 400 runs already. The kind of form Virat is in, he can do no
wrong. After a terrific spell of bowling on day 2, Hardik Pandya decided to stamp his authority with
the bat. The all-rounder’s quick half-century enabled the visitors to stretch the lead beyond 500 and
declare the innings with just 9 overs to go on the day. It was another near-perfect day for India as
the hosts are now set an improbable target of 521 runs. With two full days to go, England have a
mountain to climb.
– Prasad Palkar