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The third Test between India and England is turning out to be an exciting one. After England won the toss and decided to bat, India proved their decision wrong by picking up four quick wickets in the first session of day’s play. India handed a Test debut to middle-order batsman Karun Nair. They also brought in Parthiv Patel, who replaced injured Wriddhiman Saha. England were also forced to make a few changes. Stuart Broad was replaced by Chris Woales while Gareth Batty came into the side in place of Zafar Ansari. Out-of-form batsman Ben Duckett was also replaced with Jos Buttler.
First day’s play in Mohali provided some interesting points for both India and England. Here are the five which were the most talked about:
The fielding of the home team once again became the talking point in Mohali after the fielders dropped a few catches and made many errors in ground fielding. Cook, in the second over off the day bowled by Mohammed Shami, got a leading edge which flew towards the slips. Ravindra Jadeja could not even get a hand to a possible catch. Cook was dropped again this time by R Ashwin. Cook flicked one to mid-wicket where Ashwin dropped one of the easiest catches one can get. Later, Parthiv Patel dropped a catch behind the stumps to give Jonny Bairstow a reprieve. Towards the end of the day, Parthiv gave another life to Bairstow when he dropped a regulation catch off Jayant Yadav. India’s ground fielding was even worse as they let slip many boundaries. Kohli was rather unimpressed with many of his fielders. The team has been criticised for poor fielding in the first match in Rajkot as well.
After the first hour of play on the first day, England had reached 51 for the loss of one wicket. Cook and Joe Root, England’s two best players of spin were at the crease. After the drinks, Jayant Yadav came on to bowl. Root tried to play the ball on the leg-side which would have given him only one run. But he completely missed it because he misjudged the length and pace of the ball. He was struck on the pads and it was plumb. Then Cook played a rash shot off Ashwin to be caught behind. Overs later, Ali was in no control of the hook shot he played off Shami. That put England on the back foot and they reached Lunch at 92/4.
JBs threaten India
England got some good partnerships on the first day but none of them was a big one. A really threatening one for India was between Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow. Both were focussed on scoring some runs for their team and it was a really good partnership till it was on. The 69-run stand for the sixth wicket for England made sure the visitors go to Tea at 205/5. In the second session, England lost only Ben Stokes who shared a 57-run stand with Bairstow for the fifth wicket.
With a lot of talk about spinners in India, pacers feel left out but the Indian seamers made sure that is not the case with them. Both Umesh Yadav and Shami impressed with the new ball and again with the second one. Even with the old ball, both could reverse it. Umesh was impressive with his ball movement early morning and then returning to pick the wicket of Chris Woakes in the penultimate over of the day. Shami had troubled the England batsmen in the morning while kept up the pressure the spinners had build in the middle overs.
Jayant with the turning point
England would have liked Bairstow to be at the crease at the time of stumps. But that was not the case as Jayant produced a rare turning delivery to get him leg-before. Coming round the wicket, Jayant pitched it at good length and Bairstow came forward to defend it, playing for the angle away from him. But the ball straighten and struck him on the pads. India appealed and umpire gave it out. Biarstow reviewed but the it was hitting the leg-stump and the decision was upheld. Had Bairstow survived the day, England would have been in a better position going into second day’s play on Sunday.