Jos Buttler stood strong amid an England collapse to keep his side in the hunt for victory over India.
England consolidated their lead to 125 as they reached the 150-mark before heading into tea. Ben Stokes (20 not out) and Buttler (22 not out) looked solid under difficult circumstances.
Mohammed Shami couldn’t be kept out of the game as he made his mark on the session and the innings. Having picked up Keaton Jennings (36 off 87 balls) before lunch, he returned to remove Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck after lunch, and then pulled a rabbit out of the hat by running out England captain Joe Root two runs short of his 50.
After demoting himself to the No 4 slot – and hearing plenty about it from opposing captain Virat Kohli once he stepped to the crease – Root played a diligent innings before being run out for the second time in the series just when it looked like he was setting himself up for a big score.
Stokes (30) added 56 with Buttler, with the latter continuing the England fightback by sharing a 55-run partnership with Sam Curran for the seventh wicket.
Buttler was trapped leg before by Sharma after scoring a brilliant 69 off 122 balls in an innings that has kept England’s hope for this match alive.
Shami had Adil Rashid caught behind for 11 to end the day’s play, leaving England on 260-8 and Curran standing firm on 37 not out. One wonders what more this young man must do to justify a permanent spot in the England side.
The England team will be feeling comfortable with their current position considering the struggles that the Indian batting order has experienced throughout this series. Right now, the fate of the series seems to rest on the shoulders of Kohli… but cricket has a habit of surprising us in the most wonderful ways.
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