England in battle to avoid India series defeat despite Jonny Bairstow hitting a third hundred in as many Tests

England in battle to avoid India series defeat despite Jonny Bairstow hitting a third hundred in as many Tests

Jonny Bairstow hit his 11th Test century, off just 119 balls, but England trail India by 257 runs at the close on day three; Watch day four at Edgbaston, live on Sky Sports Cricket, with coverage starting at 9.45am and play getting under way from 10.30am on Monday

Last Updated: 03/07/22 7:24pm

Jonny Bairstow hit yet another hundred but couldn’t help prevent England from giving India a sizeable first-innings lead

England face a sizable battle to avoid a series defeat to India as they trail by 257 runs in the rescheduled fifth LV= Insurance Test, with the tourists only three down in their second innings at the close of day three at Edgbaston.

Jonny Bairstow (106) hit another magnificent hundred – his third in as many games and fifth in his last eight Tests – to help England, reeling at 84-5 overnight, post 284 in their first innings.

India, with a lead of 132, lost Shubman Gill (4) in James Anderson’s opening over, but with Cheteshwar Pujara (50no) leading by example – bringing up a 33rd Test fifty late in the day – they battled their way to a dominant position at 125-3 by stumps.

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Virat Kohli (20) fell late in the day, extending his barren run of 32 Test innings without a century, stretching back to November 2019 – Ben Stokes (1-22) with a snorter of a delivery to take Kohli’s glove and Joe Root showing super reflexes to claim the catch on the rebound as Sam Billings spilled it behind the stumps.

Stokes, in particular, found considerable movement late in the day but England couldn’t add further to their wicket tally, with first-innings centurion Rishabh Pant cracking four boundaries to sit unbeaten on 30 at the close.

England’s captain will be disappointed with his dismissal earlier in the day. He and Bairstow countered to good effect in the morning, as expected, but Stokes did not heed the warnings to rein in his aggressive strokeplay somewhat when dropped on 16 and again on 25, the ball before his downfall, to the very same shot.

Stokes continually charged down the pitch to the skilled Indian seamers and firstly skied one high and to Shardul Thakur at cover, who spilled the chance. Thakur (1-48) made amends soon after, with the ball in hand, as Jasprit Bumrah took a terrific diving catch to his left a ball after dropping a far simpler chance.

At the other end, Bairstow – in the form of his life – continued to batter the ball to the boundary, sparked into life after a heated exchange with Kohli in the middle. Bairstow, who had watchfully seen out the previous evening’s play, had only 13 runs from his first 63 deliveries, but after a few words with Kohli he motored to an 11th Test ton, his next 87 runs blasted off just 56 balls.

Billings (36) provided good support, the pair putting on 92 for the seventh wicket, either side of a rain-induced lunch interval.

Bairstow had initially been given out on 89 shortly before the break, lbw to Thakur, but he immediately reviewed safe in the knowledge that he’d got a thin inside edge on the ball. He picked up right where he left off with a beautifully-timed clip through midwicket for four upon the resumption.

His hundred duly arrived two overs later courtesy of a slip from Ravindra Jadeja on the cover point boundary, but Bumrah, in particular, did brilliantly to bottle up Bairstow thereafter and his eventual dismissal to the first ball of a new Mohammed Shami (2-78) – edging a wide loosener to Kohli at slip – was perhaps the result of some frustration at his scoring having been subdued.

Stuart Broad (1) came and went quickly, bounced out by Mohammed Siraj (4-66), who also claimed Billings, chopping onto his stumps, and Matthew Potts (19) after he’d shown a nice array of shots at the back-end of the innings.

Gill got off the mark with a beautiful push through mid-off for four second ball, but he then perished to the next – a near identical dismissal to the first innings as he nicked one ever-so-slightly tighter in line to Zak Crawley at second slip.

Pujara and Hanuma Vihari (11) watchfully saw India safely to tea without further alarm, only for the latter to undo his good work with a flash at a fuller ball from Broad (1-38) soon after the break, sending a thick edge to Bairstow at third slip.

Kohli arrived at the crease to a chorus of boos from the vocal home support in the Hollies Stand, but countered well with a couple of early boundaries that saw the Indian fans in attendance emphatically find their voice.

He watchfully saw off the threat of great nemesis Anderson, but could do nothing about an absolute jaffa of a delivery from Stokes that reared up off a length and made its way to Root’s outstretched right hand via both Kohli and Billings’ gloves.

But, despite the ball beginning to move about considerably under the late evening sun, and with the pitch beginning to offer some variable bounce, England just couldn’t eke out any further breakthroughs as Pujara and Pant put a fifty partnership that they will pick back up on the fourth morning.

Watch day four of the rescheduled fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India, at Edgbaston, live on Sky Sports Cricket on Monday. Coverage starts at 9.45am with play getting under way at 10.30am.

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