Nottingham: Skipper Virat Kohli continued his fine form, scoring an unbeaten 93 as India reached a commanding 270 for three at tea on day three of the third cricket Test against England, here today. At the break, Ajinkya Rahane (17 not out) was giving Kohli company as India consolidated their overall lead to 438 runs.
The duo had put on 46 runs for the unconquered fourth wicket stand. Kohli continued his sedate partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara (72) after lunch as the duo went about their business in style. The pair looked in no hurry as they continued grinding the English bowling attack.
India crossed 200 in the 63rd over with Kohli and Pujara bringing up their 100-run partnership off 270 balls. Kohli also crossed the 400-run mark in this series, becoming only the second Indian captain after Mohammad Azharuddin (426) to do so against England. Overall, he is the sixth Indian batsman to achieve this feat.
Things were moving along nicely when Pujara edged a Ben Stokes’ (2/53) delivery to Alastair Cook at first slip against the run of play. Pujara faced 208 balls and struck nine fours. He put on 113 runs with Kohli for the third wicket. Kohli and Rahane then batted with purpose as India’s lead continued to swell with time. England took the second new ball as soon as it became available, but to no avail.
Earlier, starting at the overnight score of 124 for 2, India had perfect conditions for batting on a humid and warm day and Kohli and Pujara looked to grind and play for time with no hurry whatsoever. It could be seen in the manner Pujara took his sweet time to get going, even as Kohli set off quickly for the day. They scored 70 runs during the wicketless session.
James Anderson though bowled a superb spell in the morning and didn’t let the batsmen score easily. He bowled seven overs in the first hour of play, including three maidens and gave away only seven runs. Chris Woakes and Stokes kept things tight at the other end, particularly the latter, as the two batsmen were troubled by awkward bounce on a few occasions.
There were many play-and-miss deliveries, but nothing came forth for the bowlers. Anderson was very unlucky not to have got a reward for his efforts, as Pujara, on 40, was dropped at second slip by Jos Buttler in the 40th over of the innings. England kept things tidy, with 63 balls passing between two boundaries during this passage of play.
However, there was reason for worry when keeper Jonny Bairstow was hit on his left middle finger in the 44th over. He went off the field, and at last news, had gone for an x-ray with Buttler taking over keeping duties. Thereafter, Pujara reached his 18th Test half-century, his first in six innings, off 147 balls. At the other end, Kohli reached his 18th Test half-century as well, off 82 balls.