Mohali: India bowled with a lot of perseverance to restrict England to 268 for 8 despite a defiant 89 from Jonny Bairstow on the first day of the third cricket Test here today.
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On a slow track, the home team bowlers maintained a disciplined line and length only to face resistance from England’s wicketkeeper-batsman, who forged couple of important partnerships — 57 for the fifth wicket with Ben Stokes and 69 for the sixth wicket with comeback-man Jos Buttler (43).
With the Mohali track not among the most batting-friendly pitches, Bairstow showed steely temperament and admirable technique against India’s spin trio and faced 177 balls hitting six fours in the process.
A well-deserved century was denied when Jayant Yadav (2/49 in 15 overs) flighted one that had turn and drift to find him leg before.
Umesh Yadav (2/58 in 16 overs), who bowled a lethal delivery first up to remove opener Haseeb Hamid (9), delivered a beauty with the second new ball to get rid of Chris Woakes (25 off 70 balls).
The stodgy Woakes also provided some support to Bairstow and the duo added 45 runs for the seventh wicket.
Ravichandran Ashwin (1/43 in 18 overs), Mohammed Shami (1/52) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/56 in 21 overs) were the other wicket-takers for the home team.
Bairstow, who has been England’s top run-getter in Test cricket in the past one year, mixed caution with occasional aggression en route his 13th half-century in Test cricket.
He reached for the pitch of the deliveries to hit three cover drives, rocked on the backfoot to strike a cut shot. Bairstow was also not afraid to play the paddle sweep when spinners decided to bowl the fuller length.
The post lunch to tea session proved to be productive for England as they scored 113 runs losing only one wicket. It was more due to the comfort that Buttler displayed while facing the spinners as his 43 off 80 balls had five boundaries.
However, England went into the final session with Bairstow suddenly getting into the shell and that increased pressure on Buttler to up the ante.
He misjudged the length of a flighted delivery from Jadeja and Indian skipper Kohli took a fine low catch diving at mid-off.
India pressed hard in the final session and the defensive mindset again led to England’s downfall as only 63 runs came off 28 overs. For India, however, the session yielded three wickets.
In all, save the wickets taken by Umesh, the others were a result of bad shots and pressure that visitors put on themselves.