England vs India: Third test, Day Three - India in cruise control as the hosts are outplayed

England vs India: Third test, Day Three - India in cruise control as the hosts are outplayed

Virat Kholi notches another hundred as defeat becomes inevitable for Joe Root's men.

matt-rennie
Matt Rennie

Virat Kholi produced another sensational batting display to effectively hand victory to India in the Specsavers Third Test. 

The India captain registered his 23rd test ton, scoring 103, as the visitors racked up a lead of 521 runs. 

It seems to be virtually impossible for England to claw their way to victory after Joe Root's side produced a disappointing display in the field, with simple fielding errors marring the innings. 

Adil Rashid bowled, with credit, with 3/101, but on a relatively uninspiring day of test cricket, it's inevitable India will make the five-match series 2-1. 

England's fielding woes still remain as India plug on

The Indians came out to the crease on 124-2, with a commanding lead of 292 runs over the hosts. 

The 300 lead was brought up just five overs into the day, as captain Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara looked to take control and snuff out any hope England had left. 

England's fielding woes continued soon after, as Pujara was spared off James Anderson's bowling with another dropped slip catch by Jos Buttler, following on from the easy catches shelled by the Lancashire man in the previous test. 

The lack of luck on the hosts side showed no letup at all, as Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow was painfully struck on the middle finger by a wobbling delivery. 

A grimacing Bairstow was able to walk off the pitch for treatment on a fractured finger in what was another blow for Joe Root's side on a forgetful morning. 

Captain Kholi and Pujara showed no mercy however and set out to suck the life out England's attack, and Pujara brought up a well deserved fifty as India's lead crept up to 350. 

It was only two balls later when Kholi inevitably followed his partner to the half-century mark, the captain was determined to convert it into three figures after falling for 97 in the first innings. 

Thankfully for England, the lunch break soon followed, and the bowlers would be able to gain some rest for the arduous task ahead. 

India were 194-2 at the end of the session, with an imperious lead of 362 runs to take into the two sessions remaining today. 

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Breakthrough for England, but India pile on the pressure 

It looked be a case of different session, same result. But 40 minutes in, the returning Ben Stokes found the edge of Pujara, who was safely caught at first slip. 

It was a sturdy innings by Pujara, registering a disciplined 72 to ease the pressure off his counterpart Kholi. 

It was a patient session, and India went into tea on 270-3, with a lead of 438. 

King Kholi crowned after shambolic fielding 

While there was a lack of drama all day, the resumption after tea immediately provided plenty. 

Kholi, by this time in the nervous nineties, edged a ball straight to Keaton Jennings at Gully, only for the ball to go straight through the rookie's legs. 

Bowler Anderson was downright livid with England's incapability of catching, the senior paceman had the right to be. 

As any supreme professional does, Kholi capitalised on these mistakes and in the next over, he recorded his 23rd test ton and swiped away the demons that plagued him on the 2014 tour. 

Much to the frustration for Root's men, only three runs later Kholi was pinned LBW to Chris Woakes with the lead just one run shy of the 450 mark. 

It was the perfect innings by Kholi, who undoubtedly - even if official figures do not say so - is the number one batsman in the world at this time. 

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Anderson creeps closer to history in the face of defeat

Just like London buses, once a wicket falls another one comes straight away, as debutant Rishabh Pant was comfortably caught by Alistair Cook at first slip for 1. 

It was a deserved wicket for Anderson, who is edging closer to overtaking Glenn McGrath as the leading seamer in history. 

The wicket did not stop the onslaught, however, as the in-form Hardik Pandya smashed a brisk 52 not out to back up his five-wicket haul yesterday. 

The only other wicket to fall was Ajinkya Rahane at the hands of Adil Rashid, who bowled with plenty of credit for his 3/101. 

The Indians predictably declared at 352-7, not only leaving England with little hope of victory, but a tough nine over session to bat out. 

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Opening pair survive difficult test 

Needing 522 to win, the job for England is to restore pride and some levels of form. 

Openers Cook and Jennings came in under extreme pressure, and the pace bowlers smelt their blood. 

However to their credit, the duo came out unscathed and gave very little chances to leave England 23-0 at the end of play. 

The visitors will expect to wrap up the match tomorrow, while for England, its a rebuilding job of restoring pride heading into the fourth test. 

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