India took the advantage in the third Test against England after a strong batting performance from the lower-order and then a three-wicket haul from R Ashwin that wrecked England. The visitors were reeling at 78 for the loss of four wickets, still trailing India by 56 runs. Day three saw some exciting moments.
Parthiv’s low catch
The pitches in this series have been a tricky for the batsmen and for the wicket-keepers as well. Their job has become difficult with the odd ball keeping low while others shot up. But there was one moment of brilliance. Jayant was operating from round the wicket and Jonny Bairstow was on strike. he pitched one on the off-stump line which went with the angle but kept very low. Bairstow poked at it and got a bottom edge. Parthiv, behind the stumps, had begun to get up when he realised the ball has kept low. He stopped his initial movement and kept his gloves low and took a brilliant low-catch. Actually, the ball had just bounced only seven centimetres from the ground. Seven centimetres!
Ashwin’s dream spell
There can be little wrong Ashwin can do when bowling on the Indian pitches. After an off-colour performance in Rajkot, he was back to taking wickets in Vizag and then again in the first innings in Mohali. But his spell came in the second innings. He spun the ball, put drift and dip on the ball. He had Alastair Cook in trouble and eventually got him with a delivery that held its line after pitching and went through the gap between bat and bat. Moeen Ali was the next to fall to Ashwin when the Indian got the ball to dip and deceived Ali in the flight. Ali chipped it to mid-on. Ashwin later returned to get Ben Stokes in the last over of the day.
India could have well be bowled out before the lead touched the 100-run mark. But it was the 90-run innings from Jadeja that helped India take the lead past the 100-run mark. The way we have seen Jadeja bat, like he batted in that Ben Stokes over to hit four fours, was different from what he displayed before that. He played the ball to its merit. But after reaching 90, he went for the big shot off Adil Rashid just to be caught on the ropes, extending his wait for the first Test ton.
Jayant show temperament
While Jadeja had held the Indian innings together, it was Jayant’s batting display that gave him the confidence to score runs and not go into a shell. Jayant defended the good ball, attacked the loose one and went on to score his maiden Test fifty. After Jadeja’s fall, he batted with the tail-enders and extended India’s lead before falling for 55.
India waited for eight years to finally say yes to use the DRS in an home bilateral series. But on Monday, it made the Indians, and all other wait. Cook was given out by the on-field umpire but the England captain reviewed it. After the replay and ultra-edge, the DRS didn’t show the ball-tracker for a good five minutes. The third umpire Kumar Dharmasena kept repeating “it is coming, it is processing”. Even umpire Erasamus had a smile on his face due to delay. Although Cook was not out, but it was a funny moment.