What a day it turned out to be for India! India put themselves in complete control of the Third Test at Trent Bridge after setting a target of 521 for the English batters. Virat Kohli’s comfortable ton, Pujara’s come back to form with 73 runs and Pandya’s half-century all added up to 352/7 before declaring the innings.
Starting Day 3 with a wicketless session, the overnight pair of Kohli and Pujara slowly inched forward to Lunch. The English bowlers bowled with gusto but their fielders were a let-down, literally. Jos Buttler dropped Pujara on the ninth over of the day of James Anderson. Keaton Jennings let down Virat Kohli’s catch at slip when he was in the nervous nineties. English wicket-keeper spent most part of the day in the dugout after he fractured his left middle finger. England’s fielding lapses, especially in the slip cordon were on full display drawing criticisms. With the costly drop of Kohli at 93, the English fielders have dropped 15 catches this series.
Positives emerged for India with Pujara hitting his first fifty in all first-class matches that he has played in the county season in England. The most defensive and patient Test cricketer in the squad steadily mounted his runs. In the first hour, he faced 58 balls and scored only 8 runs. After lunch, he got to the fifty-run mark for the second time this year. The first one coming in the series against South Africa. Though his fifty is not a sign of perpetual form, it is a glimpse at the Test batsmen’s ability.
Pandya complemented the efforts with his run a ball 52*. India’s strategy seemed to hinge on tiring the Englishmen rather than on the runs. India piled up the runs, declaring with 352/7 – the highest total in the entire series for India.
England sent in to bat for the second time in two days, ended the day with 23 runs on the scoreboard with 10 wickets intact. With uncertainty over Bairstow’s availability, England seems to be reduced to a 10-man side.
England’s chances look bleak. India seems on a high and ready to win this.
Very rarely do Test matches swing the other side after being in such positions. England needs to summon up the courage to avoid a batting collapse like in the first innings. With two days in their hand, the batsmen need to pace out their innings and not lose wickets against a bowling attack that has some variety.
For India, placed comfortably on the winning path, they would look to pitch the ball in the right areas, and hope for wickets with some assistance from the seaming conditions.