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India sense victory against England

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OLLIE POPE led England’s battle to save the opening test with a fighting fifty but hosts India looked on course for a comprehensive victory on day three of the contest at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Saturday (27).

India, who have not lost a test series on home soil since 2012, amassed 436 in their first innings to claim a sizeable lead of 190.

Left with a mountain to climb, England did not retreat into any defensive shell but were at a precarious 172-5 at tea, still 18 behind.

Vice-captain Pope was batting on 67 with Ben Foakes on two at the other end.

England began their second innings brightly with openers Zak Crawley (31) and Ben Duckett (47) frequently employing the sweep shot — both traditional and reverse — to negate the India spinners.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin induced an edge from Crawley and India captain Rohit Sharma grabbed the catch at the lone slip.

Duckett combined with Pope and England reached the 100-mark in the 18th over.

Duckett, then on 39, was lucky when Jasprit Bumrah’s lbw appeal was turned down and India did not review the decision. Replays confirmed the ball would have hit the leg stump.

In his next over, Bumrah uprooted Duckett’s off-stump and let out a roar that injected fresh excitement into the stands.

The ball had started reversing by then and Bumrah was particularly threatening.

A length ball from Bumrah rapped Joe Root on his front pad and the batter challenged the lbw decision against him but could not get it overturned.

Root, who excelled as a part-time spinner claiming 4-79, made two.

Ravindra Jadeja foxed Johnny Bairstow (10) with a ball that did not turn and Ashwin dismissed Ben Stokes (six) for the 12th time in tests to peg back England.

(Reuters)

 

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