Pink Ball Test: England 112 all-out benefited India

As India got the upper hand in their vital day-night third test against England yesterday, Axar Patel took six wickets, bowling out their competitors for 112 and then coming within 13 runs of leading the way. In the final over, only the absence of Captain Virat Kohli ruined India’s opening day when they advanced to 99 for three at the world’s largest cricket ground with Rohit Sharma on 57 and Ajinkya Rahane on one.

With Patel taking the starring role, spin bowlers overtook again, while England’s Jack Leach claimed two wickets, including 27 for Kohli. The Indian captain saw Ollie Pope slip a tricky chance on 24, but soon after playing Leach’s left-arm spin on his stumps, he walked out noticeably upset with himself.

Patel said the pink ball “skids” gave him more chance to make more lbw choices. Three victims from England walked leg before. Patel said he had carried his ‘confidence’ into the pink-ball game after taking five wickets on his debut in India’s wrecking win in the second of the four Tests.

England won the toss with the series perfectly positioned at 1-1 and chose to bat, but only 48.4 overs managed to survive. Patel connected with Ravichandran Ashwin, who took three wickets, while one was claimed by fast bowler Ishant Sharma, playing his 100th Test. Zak Crawley, returning after missing two tests through injury, top-scored with 53 in the middle of a general collapse.

The only others to get into double figures were Captain Joe Root (17), Ben Foakes (12), and Jofra Archer (11). With his fourth Test fifty and a 47-run third-wicket stand with Root, Crawley put up some resistance. Ashwin asserted another lbw for the England captain. Root checked the call, but replays showed that the ball hit the top of the leg stump and left the field to the home crowd’s loud cheers. Crawley said the batting specialists in England had let their bowlers down.

After Jofra Archer sent back Shubman Gill for 11 and Cheteshwar Pujara dropped, England struck back with two wickets. But Sharma held strong for his 12th Test fifty and positioned with Kohli on 64 runs, exulting the crowd with a capacity of 110,000 fans at India’s renovated venue.

Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, just half the tickets were put up for sale and a crowd of over 30,000 was registered on the first day. After the new LED lights went off for two minutes in the second over and then for 30 seconds in the 12th, India’s innings experienced chaos.

A juvenile ballboy also found his way onto the field and tried to get close to Kohli until being led away by safety guards. Two TV umpire calls, along with Sharma stumping opportunity, on 53, and a Ben Stokes catch that was turned down early in the innings, irritated England. In both times, Root had a long discussion with the on-field umpire.

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