Series squared as England win by an innings and 76 runs : India vs England 3rd Test Review
Cricket really is a contrasting game where the tables turn around so quickly, like you’re a front runner ahead of everyone and in a matter of time you’re far far away from others. You lose. That’s how contrasting this match has been from an Indian point of view where India were booming with confidence winning a difficult test at Lord’s and now losing the third test in just a matter of three meagre days!
Lack of intent from the middle order is what has been the major problem for the Indians.
When asked about his plans to get Virat Kohli out Ollie Robinson, the man of the match smiled and replied “ Keep bowling to the fourth and fifth stump and hope that he knicks one “ . Literally its been that simple for the English spearheads with Kohli getting the feather on all the occasions in this series. On the very first day itself when Virat won a surprise toss at Leeds, he immediately chose to bat first with the sunny weather and the pitch was looking pretty good for batting. But Anderson had different plans as he ran through the Indian batting line-up in the very first session where five Indian top and middle order batsmen combined knicked the Dukes ball straight into Jos Buttler’s hands. The woes and despair of the Indian batters saw them bundled up for a meagre 78 runs in the second session of the day itself. England bowlers were certainly on a treat as the opening spell of Jimmy Anderson was backed by ever-impressing Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton picking up 2 wickets each. The England openers too were in a different mood , with a rejig in the England top order where Dom Sibley was replaced by Haseeb Hameed , returned with a fine knock of 68 alongside Rory Burns (61) who made batting look really easy in the third session of day . Their 1st wicket partnership of 135 laid the base for the English middle order to follow. Coming back to the test set-up after a gap of 3 years, Dawid Malan took the test arena into storm scoring 70 runs along with some brilliant shots and leaves with his ever shining captain Joe Root who went on to score his second 100 of the series with an ever stamping authority over the Indian bowlers on day 2 of the test match. The Indian bowlers had a short comeback when they reduced England to 431 from 350 for 3, but the major damage was done with a healthy lead of 353 runs in the first innings.
The match looked pretty much one-sided until the third day morning where India showed tremendous sight of grit and got themselves back into the game with a Rohit-Pujara partnership who batted for almost 60 percent of the day bailing India out for the time being. After the wicket of Rohit, who fell on 59, Virat Kohli came in alongside a different Pujara who significantly had changed his batting style scoring at a faster rate and including a flurry of boundaries at his disposal. The duo saw off the third day pretty well and it was looking bright for the Indians who looked determined of at least saving the match where winning was a far cry. The deficit of 139 runs was still looming on the Indian minds as Pujara and Kohli came back to the crease on the day 4 of the test match. But to Pujara’s ill-fate, he fell to delivery which he thought was straight but nipped back at him . This was the sixth occasion where Pujara didn’t add a single run to his overnight score. From there on India completely lost their way with the captain knicking Robinson just after he scored his first fifty of the series and the others were cleaned up quickly by the former who took his second five wicket haul for his country. India’s last 8 wickets fell for just 61 runs and that was the sad ending to India’s story at Leeds.
Joe Root was the only one in the race for the Man of the Match but Ollie Robinson who genuinely bowled pretty well was deemed as the man of the match for his 7 wickets. So here we are, the series is all squared up with England definitely burgeoning with confidence and India will be looking on to put up some quick bandages to their Headingly wounds, fourth test at the Kenningtan Oval will certainly be a staggering contest between these two cricket-rich nations. See you then on the 2nd of September for the fourth test as the third one was truly a charm for the Englishmen.
Feature image caricature by Shrinivas Prabhudesai