England vs India, 4th Test, Day 3, Review: England's lower-order resurgence once again hurts the visitors

England vs India, 4th Test, Day 3, Review: England’s lower-order resurgence once again hurts the visitors

An enthralling day four is in store for everyone which might probably decide the fate of the series. Who knows? India might still have something to surprise us.

Sam Curran
Sam Curran. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The day started with the teams’ fortunes hanging in the balance. But it probably ended with England having their noses in front thanks to their yet another lower-order resurgence. As usual, the top five wickets went early and then the duo of Jos Buttler and Sam Curran made life difficult for them with very less happening for the bowlers. However, despite the fall of the former’s wicket, hosts ended the day with a hefty lead of 233 runs and two wickets in hand.

Buttler and Ben Stokes were once again at the work like the last Test match and they concentrated only on playing out the delivery on its merit. The duo slowed the game down considerably and eventually, the runs came. Both of them added 56 runs for the sixth wicket and took the opposition out of their comfort zone by taking the lead past 150. Then came the hero with the bat for England at number 8 and batted easily.

Buttler-Curran duo doom India

Buttler too was in the zone and refused to give away his wicket though he missed most of the deliveries early on. He dug in amazingly and didn’t deter at all to stitch probably the game-changing and series-defining partnership of 55 runs with Curran. Even Buttler’s wicket gave India a glimmer of hope but Adil Rashid also brought his batting skills to the fore to frustrate them even more.

Curran, on the other hand, has been batting on another planet entirely. He looked at ease from the word go and played some eye-catching strokes and England crowd found its new voice upon his arrival. He ended the day unbeaten on 37 runs even as his partner was dismissed on what proved to be the last ball of the day by Mohammed Shami. He will be keen to hurt India on the fourth day and put his team in the winning position.

England top-order continues to struggle

While their lower-order has kept on saving the face for them, England’s top-order continued to struggle. They were offered possibly the best conditions to bat today. The opening duo of Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings started off well and looked comfortable. But Jasprit Bumrah pitched one up and the former’s laden footwork meant that he edged the ball to the second slip where KL Rahul pouched yet another catch.

Moeen Ali walked out at number 3 to everyone’s surprise but it didn’t work at all with Rahul grabbing a stunning catch at his favourite position. Jennings, however, batted the best of the series and crossed the 20-run mark for the first time. Just when England were getting comfortable and at the stroke of lunch, Shami struck to pin him in front of the stumps.

The same bowler got India off to the dream start to the second session by castling Jonny Bairstow off a superb in-ducker. He bagged his second golden duck in three innings while Root was run-out, for the second time this series, on 48. A partnership was building between him and Stokes but Shami was the man again to affect the dismissal as he caught Root by surprise by throwing the ball at his end and it hit the stumps.

At 122/5 and the lead of only 95 runs, it was India’s game. But as it turned out, the lower-order rescued England for the umpteenth time in this series. An enthralling day four is in store for everyone which might probably decide the fate of the series. Who knows? India might still have something to surprise us.

Brief Scores

England 246 (S Curran 78; J Bumrah 3/46) & 260/8 after 91.5 overs (J Buttler 69, J Root 48; M Shami 3/53)

India 273 after 84.5 overs (C Pujara 132*, V Kohli 46; M Ali 5/63, S Broad 3/63)

State of the match: England lead by 233 runs with two wickets in hand

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