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Pujara shows the way as India sneak ahead

Seen from a different angle, England have a real chance on their hands. Even if they manage to go past 200, it would not be an easy target for India in the fourth innings.


IND - 273
ENG - 246, 6-0 (4.0 Overs)

The day began at 19 for no loss with Indian openers at the crease. KL Rahul was the first wicket to fall who was wrapped on the pads on an inswinger from Stuart Broad. This is something that Rahul needs to work on as he has been dismissed on the inswinger far too often for his liking.

Dhawan looked very watchful till he reached 23 but poked at a delivery from Broad outside off stump. He paid the price as Jos Buttler did not make any mistake behind the wickets.

Pujara and Kohli then took matters in their hands. Kohli (46) looked to take on the opposition while Pujara batted his typical style. However, in a bid to be positive, Kohli played at one from Sam Curran which was almost on the 5th stump and could have been left alone. He was caught by Alastair Cook at slips.

Ben Stokes, who had been hitherto struggling with his knee, suddenly came out to bowl after Lunch. To everybody's surprise, he bowled a searing spell and looked completely in control. After Root dropped a difficult one as Rahane edged the ball to second slip, Stokes had him lbw soon after.

Hardik Pandya fell in the trap that was laid for him and flicked a dipping ball from Moeen Ali to short mid wicket as Joe Root completed a diving catch. Ravichandran Ashwin threw his wicket away, trying to reverse sweep a delivery which was in line with the stumps. The ball took the bottom edge and went on to hit the stumps. Mohammed Shami also missed a straight one from Moeen Ali as it knocked back his off stump.

Ishant Sharma then showed a lot of heart and stuck around with Cheteshwar Pujara who slowly inched towards his century. Once Moeen Ali completed his fifer after dismissing Ishant, Jasprit Bumrah fought it out in the middle. This phase saw Pujara not only getting to his century but also accelerating the scoring rate.

India, who at one point were looking all set to concede a lead of 20-30 runs, ended up taking a lead of 27 runs. Although Moeen Ali, who was the pick of the bowlers, bagged five wickets, the contributions of Stuart Broad to dismiss both Indian openers and Ben Stokes to change the flow of the match cannot be overlooked.

The England openers came out to bat, having to play two overs each of Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah. They saw off their short stay at the crease and were able to leave unscathed to come back on Day 3.

Although India would be satisfied with the overall result of the day, they have only themselves to blame as at one point they looked good to bat long. At the same time, Kohli & Co have Cheteshwar Pujara and the lower order to thank. They stuck around with him to go past England's total.

England, on the other hand, have a real chance on their hands. Even if they manage to go past 200, it would not be an easy target for India in the fourth innings.

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