3rd Test, day 3: India batsmen struggle with England in complete command
by Andy Jalil

Ground:The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Scorecard:England v India
Event:India in England 2014

DateLine: 29th July 2014


By Andy Jalil at Ageas Bowl In association with INVESTEC


Andy Jalil - Cricket Writer and Commentator
Andy Jalil at Ageas Bowl
In association with INVESTEC,
© Andy Jalil


Southampton Ė India batsmen made a valiant effort in their first priority of saving the follow-on but on reaching 323 for eight, they still need a further 47 to make England bat again as they trail by a massive 246 runs. England have remained on top on all three days of this Test and despite a disciplined auxiliary action led by the captain MS Dhoni who remained unbeaten with his 31st Test half century over a grinding two-an-a-half hours, it is unlikely that the tourists can force England to loosen their grip on the third Test.


Resuming on 25 for one, Indiaís fall of wickets began from the tenth over of the morning when Cheteshwar Pujara, having added 20 to his 4 runs from the previous evening received an excellent ball from Stuart Broad which rose from not too short of a length and kept coming into the batsman to take the glove for a catch behind.


Six overs later and with 32 runs added Murali Vijay who had looked well set on 35 played-on to a ball from Broad just outside off stump and India were 88 for three. With two specialist batsmen at the crease, Virat Kohli who hasnít had a good score in the series so far and Ajinkya Rahane, there was still hope for India to consolidate the innings.


But half-an-hour after lunch with the total on 136 the fourth wicket fell. Kohli, who began this match with scores of 1, 8, 25 and 0 in the previous two Tests, and averaging just 8.50 was dismissed for 39. It was a good length ball from James Anderson which moved away just enough to take the outside edge. Thereafter, it was left to the last pair of specialist batsmen Rahane and Rohit Sharma to revive the innings.


Their attempt, during the 80 minutes they batted together, didnít go far enough. Rahane did, though, play some fine shots with confidence, cutting and pulling every time the ball was short. But having added 74, Sharma, on 28 from 61 balls, advanced down the pitch to Moeen Ali in the penultimate over before tea and lofted a drive to mid-off for Broad to take the catch. At tea, on 214 for five India were trailing by 355.


India suffered a double blow with a wicket either side of tea. With Sharma having gone almost at the end of the second session, Ali struck with the first ball of his second over after the break. It was one wicket that India would not have wanted to lose at a time when recovery was imperative.


Rahane had batted precisely as the circumstance required, he was cautious yet picked up runs at every opportunity to score with good running between the wickets as well as hitting the occasional loose ball that brought him five boundaries. He looked solid with a half century in nearly three hours, following the hundred in the previous Test, but on 54 from 113 balls, he pulled a short ball from the off spinner high to mid-wicket and Ali had taken his second wicket in a 12 ball spell for four runs.


Dhoni and Ravendra Jadeja took the total to 275 in a 58-run partnership during which the latter wasnít afraid to play his shots with 24 of his 31 runs coming from boundaries. He was dropped at gully by Joe Root on 14 off Broad in the second over with the second new ball. It wasnít a particularly easy chance with the fielder having to dive full length and he did well to get his hand to the ball. Six overs later he was trapped in front of the stumps by Anderson and that was 275 for seven.


Dhoni held the innings together with Bhuveshwar Kumar until the latter was held, bat-and-pad for 19 to become Broadís third victim.


(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2014 Andy Jalil)


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