At the end of the second day of the third Test against England on Thursday, Indian bowlers managed to fight back against the hosts but the dismal batting performance on the first day rendered the comeback by the bowlers meaningless.
Fifties from England’s top three and the 23rd Test century from skipper Joe Root (121) at No. 4 took England to 423/8 at stumps, 345 runs ahead of the visitors.
The England openers, Haseeb Hameed (68) and Rory Burns (61), who resumed at 120 without loss, couldn’t take overnight their scores — 60 not out and 52 not out, respectively — much further.
But the platform that they set with their 135-run opening stand was enough for Dawid Malan, playing his first Test after three years, and Joe Root to grind the Indian bowlers.
The duo took England to 298, adding 139 runs for the third wicket before Malan (70 off 128) fell at the stroke of Tea. By then, England had already taken a 220-run lead.
Jonny Bairstow (29) added 52 with Root to widen the lead. Mohammed Shami, who had earlier removed Burns, struck twice in quick succession, sending back Bairstow and Jos Buttler (7) before Ravindra Jadeja scalped Moeen Ali (8) as England were reduced to 383/7 from 350/3 at one stage. But England had already take the lead past 300 by that time.
A 35-run stand for the eighth wicket between Sam Curran and Craig Overton (24 not out) frustrated the Indians further before Mohammed Siraj got rid of Curran.
The day, however, belonged to Root, who drew level with Kevin Pietersen as the English player with most Test centuries after Alastair Cook.
The English skipper hit 14 fours and never looked in trouble as he timed his strokes beautifully throughout his stay. Such was his dominance that he reached his third century in the third match of the series off just 124 balls at a strike rate of just over 80.
Malan, known to be a limited-over specialist, lagged behind in scoring rate as Root dominated the show.
The Indian bowlers were unimpressive. And although none of the bowlers could find any bite, veteran Ishant Sharma (32) was the most disappointing as he kept bowling wide outside the off-stump and offered easy runs to the English batsmen.
The Indian bowlers toiled hard for 129 overs and for close to 108 overs of those, they looked completely down and out as Root & Co made the most of a pitch that had none of the moisture the first day pitch had.
Though the Indian bowlers would be happy with their show in the last session, but the poor show by their batsmen on the first day seems to have reduced the late fightback to rubble.
India 78 all out vs England 423/8 in 129 overs (J Root 121, D Malan 70, H Hameed 68, R Burns 61, M Shami 3/87, M Siraj 2/86, R Jadeja 2/88, J Bumrah 1/58)