Visakhapatnam Test poised for enticing finish

By BD Naraayannkar

Visakhapatnam, Feb 4 (UNI) Shubman Gill’s third Test hundred helped India set 399 runs for England after the visitors managed to post 67/1 at stumps on Day 3 of the second Test here on Sunday.

Earlier, India started the third morning to extend the 171-run lead in their second innings, but England had different ideas.

The seasoned James Anderson set the tone, ripping Rohit Sharma’s stumps out of the soil. He then forced first-innings double centurion Yashasvi Jaiswal to nick in the slip cordon to give England a thumping start.

England’s tails would have been up had Shubman Gill not managed to survive a couple of LBW shouts. The first shout was acknowledged by the on-field umpire but was overturned by the TV umpire as he got a feeble inside edge against Tom Hartley. He survived the second shout due to an extra bounce against Anderson.

Thereof, Gill and Shreyas Iyer rebuilt India’s innings after they were reduced to 30/2 in the ninth over. The duo put on a very crucial 81-run partnership for the third wicket before Gill reached his fifty after being under tremendous pressure.

Shreyas, at the other end, could not convert a good start for the second time in the match as skewed a big hit against Hartley and was caught by Ben Stokes, who ran behind from mid-off.

Debutant Rajat Patidar too did not stay long after Ben Foakes held on to an excellent under-edge catch to leave India in a spot of bother at 122/4 before Gill and Axar Patel managed to remain unbeaten by lunch.

Gill and Axar played sensibly and sewed up an 89-run stand that pushed India’s lead further. Soon, the No.3 batsman got to his third Test ton, but succumbed to Shoaib Bashir, gloving a reverse sweep to boost the run rate.

Axar departed next, pushing India further back as Hartley trapped him LBW. Ravichandran Ashwin and KS Bharat batted till Tea with India leading England by 370 runs in the second innings.

In the very first of the final session, Bharat hit a cross-batted shot into the hands of Stokes at mid-on against Rehan.

Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah strutted around to knit a 25-run stand to extend the lead towards 400, but they fell quickly, leaving England with a target of 399.

The chase began in usual style with Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley (29*) stitching up 50 runs stand for the first wicket. Duckett (28) was out caught bat-pad off Ashwin.

Brief Scores: India 396 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 209; James Anderson 3-47, Rehan Ahmed 3-65) & 255 (Shubman Gill 104, Axar Patel 45; Tom Hartley 4-77, Rehan Ahmed 3-88) lead England 253 (Zak Crawley 76, Ben Stokes 47; Jasprir Bumrah 6-45, Kuldeep Yadav 3-71) & 67/1 by 332 runs.

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