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India vs England: Rohit Sharma's Century, Cheteshwar Pujara's 61 Put India in Position of Strength

Pic - AP

Pic - AP

Rohit Sharma and No. 3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara tweaked their respective batting styles and curbed natural instincts to drive India into a position of strength

India opener Rohit Sharma and No. 3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara tweaked their respective batting styles and curbed natural instincts to drive India into a position of strength by the end of the third day. Rohit made his first overseas century while Pujara made a stroke-filled 61 as India ended the day with a lead of 171 rus with seven wickets in hand.

At stumps, India were 270 for 3 with Virat Kohli (22) and Ravindra Jadeja (9) at the crease. Pujara and Rohit had made a 153-run stand for the second wicket but both fell to Ollie Robinson in the first over with the second new ball to allow England to crawl back into the game. However, Kohli and Jadeja ensured there would be no further damage before stumps was called early due to bad light.

Thanks to Sharma’s gritty and circumspect eighth Test century and Pujara’s uncharacteristic attacking display at the start, India stretched the lead gradually while tiring out the English bowlers. The partnership could have stretched on but Rohit played an avoidable shot in the first delivery with the second new ball, trying to pull Ollie Robinson only to give a catch to deep backward square leg. Pujara was then caught in the slips to one that nipped back in and took the inside edge, England reviewing successfully.

Pujara had come in after the fall of KL Rahul’s wicket in the first session with the score of 83 and raced to 14 off 21 deliveries before lunch to take India past the deficit.

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He hit fours Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton — on a full and a short delivery — as bowlers found it difficult to find assistance from the pitch.

A twisted ankle didn’t deter him from going after the bowling as hit Overton for two fours off two deliveries. Then he followed it up with an upper cut boundary off Woakes.

Pujara applied ‘attack is the best form of defence’ strategy and took off pressure from Sharma who had batted with grit and survived a few dropped catches on way to his half-century.

Sharma on the other hand reached his half-century in 145 deliveries. But then, with Pujara around, he shifted gears and reached his hundred off the 204th ball he faced, with a six off Moeen Ali.

(IANS inputs)

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first published:September 04, 2021, 22:44 IST