3rd Test: Mohammed Siraj, Yashasvi Jaiswal's exploits help India take firm control over England

Rajkot, Feb 17 (IANS) Yashasvi Jaiswal notched up the second century of the ongoing series while Shubman Gill supported him with an unbeaten fifty to help India extend their lead to 322 runs and take a strong grip in the third Test against England at the Niranjan Shah Stadium here on Saturday.

Ravichandran Ashwin’s overnight withdrawal from the match because of a family medical emergency meant India were one frontline bowler short ahead of Day Three. But others stepped up, with Mohammed Siraj taking 4-84, especially fuelled by a strong spell after lunch.

Kuldeep Yadav impressed in the morning with his pace, turn and variations to take two scalps while Ravindra Jadeja also picked two wickets and Jasprit Bumrah triggered the collapse by taking out Joe Root as England lost eight wickets for just 95 runs, giving India a 126-run lead and momentum in the match, which wasn’t a realistic possibility in the morning.

In their second innings, Jaiswal showed restraint before attacking England’s bowlers to make 104, hitting nine fours and five sixes. He retired hurt shortly before stumps due to back spasms, putting a pause on his 155-run stand with Gill. On the other hand, Gill also cashed on the tiring England bowlers by batting at his own pace while hitting six fours and two sixes to remain 65 not out at stumps, with Kuldeep Yadav giving him company on three not out, as India reached 196/2 in 51 overs.

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The start of Day Three saw England collect a brace of boundaries before Bumrah got India the breakthrough as Root dragged a reverse ramp straight to second slip, as his nightmarish tour continued.

One brought two as Kuldeep trapped Jonny Bairstow LBW for an eight-ball duck by a delivery which gripped and turned sharply. Bairstow went for the review, but the decision was unchanged.

Ben Duckett wasn’t looking comfortable but did enough to get past 150. From the other end, Stokes struggled against Bumrah and the varying turn Kuldeep got. Stokes tried to counter-attack when he lofted, flicked and drove with ease to get boundaries. But Duckett, who was struggling with wider lines of Kuldeep and couldn’t get boundaries nonchalantly, reached out for a short and wide ball which he cut straight to cover, ending his knock at 153 off 151 balls. Foakes survived a big lbw shout off Kuldeep, even as Stokes slog-swept him for four till lunch came.

Post lunch, Jadeja struck as Stokes went for the slog-sweep, but didn’t time it well and was caught by Bumrah running in from long-on. One brought two as Foakes tried to whip a slower ball from Siraj which stopped on him and took the edge to mid-on.

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Siraj then cleaned up Rehan Ahmed with an immaculate yorker hitting the base of the off-stump, while Jadeja had Tom Hartley stumped easily by debutant keeper Dhruv Jurel. Siraj ended England’s innings by rattling James Anderson’s off-stump to pick his best Test figures at home.

Rohit Sharma began India’s second innings by taking two boundaries from James Anderson’s first over, while a sedate Jaiswal survived an lbw call off Tom Hartley. Sharma tried to sweep Root but was beaten in the air to be trapped LBW. England took the review and got the not-out decision from umpire Joel Wilson reversed in their favour, as Rohit walked back to the pavilion.

Gill got going by lofting Root over mid-wicket for four, while Jaiswal ended the session driving the part-time spinner past extra cover for a boundary to end a steady session for India. At the start of the final session, Jaiswal and Gill were content with tiring out England’s bowlers.

But the change of gears happened in the 27th over, as Jaiswal moved from 35 off 73 balls to 49 off 76 balls, pulling and smashing Anderson for six and two fours. He then smacked Hartley over long-on for two sixes, the first of which fetched him his fifty.

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Jaiswal’s onslaught continued when he punched and swept Root for boundaries, followed by lofting Rehan Ahmed for six. The highlight, though, was Jaiswal reverse-sweeping Ahmed for back-to-back fours. He then cut through cover-point for four to raise his third Test century, with him making 65 runs off his next 49 balls.

Gill took on Root by lofting over long-off for six and then pulled Mark Wood for another maximum to get his fifty as well in 98 balls. After being troubled by back spasms twice, Jaiswal had to retire hurt.

Gill continued to flay boundaries even as Rajat Patidar pulled straight to mid-wicket and fell for a 10-ball duck. Despite that, India managed to make 152 runs in the final session on day three and have taken a firm grip on this Test, with England left in a dire situation to save the match.

Brief scores: India 445 & 196/2 in 51 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 104, Shubman Gill 65 not out; Tom Hartley 1-42, Joe Root 1-48) lead England 319 all out in 71.1 overs (Ben Duckett 153, Ben Stokes 41; Mohammed Siraj 4-84, Ravindra Jadeja 2-51) by 322 runs

–IANS

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