england’s day


England just made too much ground in that middle session. Joe Root hit his third hundred of the series and sixth of the year. Dawid Malan struck a fifty. England went to tea 220 runs ahead with seven wickets in hand, and though they ended the day eight down, they scored briskly through session three as well, finishing 345 runs in front. India needed a dramatic collapse to force themselves back into the match on day two, and did their best to set one in motion during an attritional first session. But they were eventually foiled by Root in the form of his already exceptional cricketing life.Once Root got going after lunch, India’s strategy of bowling tightly and keeping the runs down – which had been somewhat successful in a morning session in which they removed the overnight batters – was essentially torn apart. It’s not that Root’s innings was necessarily a counterattack – he just went into ODI mode and found ways to score off even good balls, frequently deflecting balls in the arc between point and third man in particular. He was on 27 off his first 25 balls, 41 off 50, and reached triple figures off the 123rd ball he faced.Growing in confidence as he batted in Root’s slipstream, Malan grew in confidence as he hit 70 off 128 balls in his comeback Test innings. The pair’s 139-run partnership was the best of the innings, just pipping Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns’ opening stand, which was worth 135. Root also shared a 52-run association with Jonny Bairstow, and it is between these three stands that much of England’s batting progress has been made. At stumps, they still had Craig Overton and Ollie Robinson at the crease. Both have been known to contribute handy runs at the county level.India had a tough day, though perhaps the final session, in which they claimed five wickets, took the worst of the edge off. They are so far behind in the match that chances of victory appear remote. There are still three days left in the game, so a draw seems almost as unlikely. Still, the bowlers will be pleased that they can at least dream of wiping England’s last two wickets out early on day three, when for much of Thursday, there was a strong possibility India would be made to bowl for substantial portions of Friday as well.Mohammed Shami was the best of India’s bowlers, nipping one back through the defences of Rory Burns early in the day, before having Bairstow caught at slip, and Jos Buttler out at catching midwicket after tea. Ravindra Jadeja picked up Haseeb Hameed and Moeen Ali. And although he was expensive, Mohammed Siraj took two wickets, while Bumrah claimed one. The severe disappointment in this bowling effort, however, was Ishant Sharma, who struggled for rhythm all day, rarely seemed menacing, and went at 4.18 across his 22 overs. That Kohli bowled him so much was something of a surprise.