It’s only the first test of the series and what a match are we having! After 3 days of exhilarating Cricket, you cannot predict which way the game is going. Day 3 saw another seesaw battle between the two terrific sides.
After a Kohli masterclass and an Ashwin special to knock Alastair Cook out, India started day 3 on a positive note. Ashwin continued to impress as he sent back Keaton Jennings and the mighty Joe Root leaving England at 39-3. You wouldn’t normally see a spinner opening the bowling in a test match and being as successful as Ashwin. In conditions not exactly favoring spinners, Ashwin has bowled quite beautifully so far. He tossed the ball up slowly through the air to get the drift and troubled the English top order. A spinner isn’t supposed to do that on English wickets. But the Offie’s control over his line and length and the ability to get the purchase out of the wicket is absolutely fantastic.
It was the turn of Ishant Sharma then who ripped through the English batting by picking up a five-for. The lanky fast bowler first dismissed Dawid Malan with an away swinger, squaring him completely making him edge the ball to gully. At the stroke of lunch, he dismissed Bairstow, Stokes, and Buttler in an over, everyone edging behind, which put India firmly in the driver’s seat. He finished off with 5 wickets, Stuart Broad being his final victim. His ability to get the ball into the right-handers and take it away from the left-handers was on full display as he got every batsman edging behind the wickets. Umesh Yadav who was handed the ball pretty late in the innings finished off strongly with 2/20 as England were bowled out for 180. At one stage England were tottering at 87-7. Thanks to a fighting 63 from the young Sam Curran, England could manage a total of respectability leaving India to get 194.
It was another shaky start for India as Stuart Broad dismissed both the openers inside 8 overs at the score of 22-2. Captain Kohli joined KL Rahul in the middle to add another 24 before Rahul was dismissed by an absolute beauty from Ben Stokes. The English All-rounder squared him up completely and took the edge off Rahul’s bat to the wicket-keeper. Ajinkya Rahane’s woes continued as he was dismissed for another low score. Ashwin was promoted ahead of Dinesh Karthik. But after an adventurous 13, he knicked one behind off James Anderson, who has bowled quite beautifully throughout this match. India’s Keeper Dinesh Karthik then joined skipper Kohli in the middle to add an unbeaten 32 run stand. At the end of the day, India finished at 110-5 still needing 84 to win the match. England will back themselves to pick the remaining 5 wickets. But Captain Marvel in Virat Kohli stands between victory and the hosts. The team who will hold its nerve will end up on the right side as we look forward to the fourth and most likely the final day of this fabulous test match.
- Prasad Palkar