Edgbaston: India Hold Reins Despite Bairstow’s Dazzling Ton

| Updated: 04 July, 2022 12:03 am IST

BENGALURU: India fortified their position despite Jonny Bairstow’s sparkling century on Day 3 of the rescheduled fifth Test against England in Edgbaston. The visitors reached 125-3 at stumps, a lead of 257 runs, in their second innings. Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant were batting at 50 and 30 respectively.

At the start of the day, England were trailing by 332 runs and were reeling at 84-5. However, both Jonny Bairstow and captain Ben Stokes threw caution to the wind in the first session and 65 runs in just 10 overs. Initially, Stokes took the centre stage and reeled off a flurry of boundaries. He didn’t hesitate in skipping down the track even against pacers and threw his bat around.

The left-hander was hugely supported by Indian fielders as he was dropped twice. However, his recklessly audacious cameo was scuppered by Shardul Thakur in the 38th over.

Bairstow, who has been in dazzling form, continued to coast as he unleashed a gamut of shots including stinging pulls, punches, upper-cuts and booming drives. The right-hander was at sea for the first 60 balls he had faced and was ostensibly fired by Virat Kohli’s sledging. After that, he went berserk and slaughtered Indian bowlers with utter disdain.

He reached his 10th Test hundred, which came off 119 balls, in the 48th over by punching Thakur on the off-side for a boundary. This was his third Test hundred in the last 4 innings.

He was eventually prised out by the seamer Mohammed Shami for 106 in the 55th over as he went for an ambitious drive but the outside edge flew to the first slip where Kohli pocketed a simple catch. It was a well-deserved reward for Shami who bowled with supreme control and zing but was unlucky to not have chalked up more scalps.

After Bairstow’s dismissal, Mohammed Siraj got into his element and swiftly mopped up the tail as the hosts were skittled out for 284, giving India a lead of 132 runs.

India lost the opener Shubhman Gill in the first over of their second innings as he pushed at the ball outside the off-stump and was caught at the second slip. Hanuma Vihari scratched around for 11 before he was snared by Stuart Broad for 11.

Kohli played a few exquisite shots but was undone by a brute of a ball which kicked up menacingly after pitching as he pressed forward. The wicketkeeper Sam Billings failed to grab the catch but Joe Root at the first slip plucked it neatly to send Kohli to the pavilion for 20.

Pujara demonstrated fine application and negotiated England seamers ably. He brought up his fifty in the 45th over by tucking Root away for a single. He and Pant have added an unbeaten 50 runs for the fourth wicket.

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