Bairstow in left-handed stunner!
One more ball. That’s all Rohit had to see out for India to say they were zero down at lunch. But he gets squared up by an Overton delivery that straightens in the air late, pitches just short of a length, and takes his outside edge. The ream magic in the dismissal though was provided by Jonny Bairstow at second slip who stuck his left hand out as he fell to the right, and clung cleanly to the ball, which was TRAVELING. That would have been a tough grab with keeper’s gloves on, but Bairstow moved on it and held it flawlessly. (I mean, it was possible that Root would have taken this comfortably at first slip had Bairstow not intervened, but let’s not kill the vibe.)
A big break for England to close out the first session. And India have two out-of-form batters – Cheteshwar Pujara, and Virat Kohli – coming in next. Batting today, under these heavy clouds, has been a lot tougher than it seemed yesterday.
A touch of T20
It’s so overcast the floodlights are on. The ball is swinging, and moving just a touch off the surface. You could forgive India’s openers for hunkering down and leaving everything they don’t have to play at. But that’s not really Rohit’s vibe. The moment he spots a slightly wayward bouncer from Robinson, Rohit gets into position and ramps it high over the slips. The connection is so good it carries way over third man, and over the boundary. That’s India’s first six of the match.
Rahul reviews in the nick of time
A second later, and Rahul would have been kicking himself in the dressing room.
Ollie Robinson had pitched this one up, nipped it back, and struck Rahul in front of middle and off, in the 10th over. The shout always looked good, and the umpire gave him out fairly quickly. While England were celebrating the wicket of India’s in-form batter, however, Rahul seemed to be desperate to review, but talked to Rohit first. It was only in the final second of the 15-second countdown that he signaled the review to the umpire. He had been hit in line with the stumps, but the angle of the delivery, which had jagged back, was taking it down the legsside.
Anderson has also gone out of the attack – Craig Overton is in at that end.
India openers resist Anderson…for now
Four Anderson overs in, India’s openers have played him ok. He’s swinging it significantly, and moving the odd ball in as well. But both Rahul and Rohit Sharma are playing inside the line, and leaving pretty well. Rohit even hit him through extra cover for four. It’ll be a long first spell though. India have plenty of work to do.
How long will India last?
England clearly have their opposition by the short and curlies, but with Anderson swinging it again in the second innings, can India fight through and make a game of it? There are dark clouds and a bit of drizzle around, so the next 80 minutes is going to be tough for the visitors.
India wrap it up
Just like that, England’s innings comes to a close. They added only nine runs today, most of those by Overton. Ollie Robinson, in his attempts to keep James Anderson off strike against Jasprit Bumrah, tries to smear a ball through the offside, but misses, and has his offstump rattled.
England, by the way, lost their last seven wickets for 82 runs, when they had at one point threatened a score of well over 500. The partnership table tells the story. Each of the top four made more than 50. No one else did.
It’s fullish, straight, nips back off the surface slightly, and hits Overton below the knee roll. It’s plumb. Overton reviews, but he’s just doing it for the hell of it, I think. India were desperate to break this partnership, and Shami – by a distance their best bowler in the innings – has given them the opening.
Four wickets now for Shami. A shot at a five-for.
Overton gets England moving
Mohammad Shami starts for India, but is struck for two successive boundaries at the end of the over by Craig Overton. The first is a slash through deep point, the second a flick in front of square leg. Strong suggestions that the pitch is still very good to bat on. England’s lead surpasses 350.
A bad-old Ishant performance
Only problem is, Ishant was truly off colour. Ishant was having perhaps his first ordinary Test in seven years. He was cut away for three boundaries in his first four overs. The last time he conceded more than three boundaries in a whole Test – to the cut shot – was in December 2017*. It doesn’t need GPS trackers to know he was slower in his run-up than he probably has ever been. The speeds were down too. He bowled 22 overs without a maiden, the longest an opening bowler has gone without one in England since 2002.
All bar four of Ishant’s dearer spells than this came before 2015. That he has had to be so drastically off rhythm to be reminded of those bad old days is testament to his turnaround. Those bad old days were when often he would be the only bowler fit enough to toil for long spells. Here he had Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah to pick up the slack. In an innings that Ishant and Mohammed Siraj drew a mistake once every 10 balls or slower, Bumrah and Shami kept doing so once an over.
What does the path to an India win look like?
We’re at day three. England are roughly half a billion runs ahead. Although they are eight down, they still have two batters with first-class hundreds at the crease, which is a little ridiculous. Is this Test a foregone conclusion? Or can India take these final wickets quickly, rack up like 500 in the second innings, and then hope that England forget which end of the bat to hold in the fourth innings (not an entirely impossible scenario if you’ve watched England bat recently) .
The one thing that probably isn’t going to happen, though, is a rain-affected draw.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf