Shubman Gill’s century keeps India in good stead at stumps on Day 3
India had a good time on the field on Day 3 of the Visakhapatnam Test as Shubman Gill starred with a century helping the hosts set a target of 399 runs for England who had 9 wickets in hand at stumps.
Starting the play on Day 3 at the ACA-VDCA Stadium, James Anderson took the attack to the overnight Indian batters Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal in his first over as he removed the stumps from the ground exposing the poor defensive technique of the Indian captain. In his next over, the fast bowler got his 695th Test wicket as Jaiswal edged the ball straight to Joe Root in the slip cordon failing to build on the mammoth score he put in the first innings.
Gill opened his account with a boundary against Tom Hartley who got him LBW on the next ball but the incumbent Gujarat Titans skipper was saved by a slight inside edge, utilizing the Decision Review System in his favor.
Anderson got Iyer to edge the ball to the slip cordon but the bell fell short of Root and ended up hurting the former English skipper who wasn’t seen fielding in the latter half of the day and might not turn up on Day 4 with the bat in hand.
Shoaib Bashir proved to be expensive as he was smacked for a maximum down the ground by Gill on the last ball of the 17th over. In the next over, Gill scored consecutive boundaries off Hartley’s bowling. Gill and Shreyas Iyer kept the attack going as Hartley and Rehan Ahmed conceded 42 runs between the 20th and the 27th over with the former bringing up his half-century inside 60 balls.
On the first ball of the 28th over, Iyer decided to keep the attack going and got out to a spinner for the fourth time in the series as Ben Stokes kept running backwards from the mid-off position and completed a memorable catch to gift Hartley his first wicket of the day.
Debutant Rajat Patidar got his second crack at Test cricket after scoring 32 runs in the first innings but the Madhya Pradesh batter fell to Ahmed for a miserly score of 9 runs off 19 balls.
Axar Patel joined Gill and the duo batted cautiously till lunch as the visitors headed into the shed happier as India was 130/4. The duo negated Anderson’s early threat at the start of the second session before Gill smacked Ahmed for a big maximum down the ground followed by two consecutive fours in the 41st over.
After bringing up the 50-run partnership, Axar decided to open up his arms and went after Tom Hartley. Gill brought up his third Test century in the 52nd over but fell to Bashir on the last ball of the 56th over while trying to play a reverse-sweep ending his innings at a score of 104 runs off 147 balls.
Srikar Bharat joined Axar in the middle but the partnership didn’t log last as Axar was dismissed by Hartley as the ball kept low and crashed into his pads with Stokes utilizing the DRS properly this time around ending the all-rounder’s innings at a score of 45 runs off 84 balls.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Bharat were at the crease when Tea was called with the hosts at a score of 227/6 after 64 overs. The wicket-keeper threw away his wicket in the first over of the third session as Stokes completed a regulation catch off Ahmed’s bowling.
Soon after, Kuldeep Yadav tried to go big against Hartley and top-edged the ball high in the air with Stokes once again under the ball sending the tail-ender back in the pavilion without affecting the scorers.
Jasprit Bumrah joined The Tamil Nadu-based all-rounder in the middle and Zak Crawley allowed the partnership to foster as he dropped Ashwin in the slip cordon allowing the hosts to add a few valuable runs to their second innings score.
After blocking out a lot of overs, Ashwin finally freed up his arms in the 77th over as he scored a six and a four against Ahmed. In the very next over, Jonny Bairstow completed a fine low catch ending Bumrah’s stay at the crease after he successfully blocked out 25 balls without scoring a run.
The 10th-wicket partnership bore no run as Ashwin was caught behind the wicket by Ben Foakes with Ahmed taking his third wicket of the innings while Hartley ended as the top wicket-taker with 4 wickets and the evergreen Anderson dismissed both opening batters.
Ben Duckett decided to activate his ‘Bazball’ instincts against Mukesh Kumar early in the fourth innings as he scored two consecutive boundaries off the seamer’s first over. Crawley was next in line as the opening batter took his turn in the next over bowled by Kumar scoring two boundaries without breaking a sweat.
Kuldeep replaced Mukesh and Crawley straightaway smashed a maximum against the left-arm chinaman bowler followed by two boundaries from Duckett against Kuldeep in the 8th and the 10th over respectively. Ashwin’s introduction prompted the visitors to lose their first wicket as Duckett was sent packing courtesy of a brilliant catch by Bharat ending the 50-run partnership between the opening pair.
Ollie Pope was expected to walk in next but Stokes decided to send a night watchman as Ahmed found himself contributing to the 2nd-wicket partnership as the visitors ended Day 3 on a score of 67/1 with Rohit’s men needing 9 wickets on Day 4 while England would try to wrap up the match by scoring 332 more runs.