NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom: Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes frustrated India with an unbroken century stand as England at last showed some fight with the bat in the third Test at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.
India were on course for a colossal win when England slumped to 62 for four before lunch on the fourth day.
But England, 2-0 up in this five-match series, had recovered to 173 for four at tea, with Buttler 67 not out and recalled all-rounder Stokes 42 not out.
That still left England needing a further 348 runs to reach a huge target of 521. But Buttler and Stokes’s stand, so far worth 111 runs, had at least helped England regain some self-respect by ensuring they got through a session without losing a wicket.
The pair had their moments of good fortune along the way.
Buttler was dropped on one by debutant wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant and on 35 he edged fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah only for the ball to bounce in front of Cheteshwar Pujara, stood too deep at first slip.
Left-handed batsman Stokes had made 38 when he was rapped on the pad by Ravichandran Ashwin.
India reviewed the not out decision for lbw, with off-spinner Ashwin’s delivery seemingly having straightened enough to hit the stumps.
Stokes, however, survived on umpire’s call. But both batsmen defended solidly and Buttler completed his fifty in style.
KOHLI HITS TON
England had been shown the way by India captain Virat Kohli, who was far from his fluent best but still made 103 on Monday and Pujara who demonstrated a patient application in grinding out 72 off 208 balls in more than four hours at the crease.
England, however, lost their first wicket just five balls into Tuesday’s play when fast bowler Sharma, testing the left-handed openers from round the wicket, got one to straighten away from the flat-footed Keaton Jennings (13), who was caught behind.
England’s 27 for one soon became 32 for two when Sharma had Alastair Cook (17) edging one that straightened late to second-slip KL Rahul.
England then lost their next two wickets on 64, captain Joe Root (13) and Ollie Pope (16) both caught in the cordon. — AFP
India 1st Innings 329
England 1st Innings 161
India 2nd Innings 352-7 dec
England 2nd Innings (target 521)
A Cook c Rahul b Sharma 17
K Jennings c Pant b Sharma 13
J Root c Rahul b Bumrah 13
O Pope c Kohli b Shami 16
B Stokes not out 42
J Buttler not out 67
Extras: (lb2, nb1) 5
Total: (4 wkts, 62 overs, 280 mins) 173
Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-32, 3-62, 4-62
Bowling: Bumrah 18-5-52-1, Ishant 14-3-43-2, Ashwin 13-5-31-0, Shami 11-3-38-1, Pandya 6-3-7-0