London: Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes put on 99 runs for the sixth wicket as England defied India’s advances to reach 230 for five at tea on day three of the second Test here, Saturday.
At the break, Bairstow was unbeaten on 62, while Woakes was batting on 55 not out as they gained a firm footing in this match and built a 123-run lead for England.
Post lunch, Bairstow and Jos Buttler (24) took their fifth-wicket partnership to 42 runs. England crossed 100 in the 27th over, even as Mohammed Shami (3/67) and Ishant Sharma (1/66) bowled brilliant spells but were unlucky at Lord’s.
Both batsmen played and missed a lot, with Bairstow in particular searching for timing as he played quite a few inside-edges that missed his stumps.
Shami finally got the breakthrough for India as he trapped Buttler plumb lbw in the 32nd over. With a lot of cloud cover, India still had hopes of reversal in the match at that point.
But Bairstow-Woakes defied them as the visitors severely missed a third full-time pacer to back up Shami and Sharma. Hardik Pandya (1/38) tried but couldn’t assert himself on the proceedings while Kuldeep Yadav (0/28) was taken for easy runs.
In doing so, Bairstow brought up his 19th Test half century off 76 balls. Soon afterwards, Woakes did the same, and reached his fifth Test half century off 71 balls. Once the lead crossed 100, Indian fielders’ shoulders dropped and it was apparent they were playing for the tea break.
When bad light stopped play, England were 357/6, ahead by 250 runs. Chris Woakes (120 batting), who scored his maiden Test century, and Sam Curran (22 batting) were at the crease at stumps. Jonny Bairstow (93) was unlucky to miss a century.
Earlier, in the pre-lunch session, India put in a hard grind as England were reduced to 89 for four.
Conditions changed drastically as the sun came out with not a hint of rain around. Moisture, both in the air and on the surface, dried up quickly as batting seemed a lot easier.
The breakthrough came in the eighth over as Shami trapped Keaton Jennings (11) lbw, with England losing a pointless review. It became a double blow as five balls later Alastair Cook (21) was caught behind off Sharma and the hosts were reduced to 32 for two.
Joe Root (19) and 20-year-old debutant Olliver Pope (28) then added 45 runs for the third wicket. Some shoddy bowling from Yadav and an ordinary first spell from Pandya helped the batting duo, as the score crossed 50 in the 14th over.
Pandya went on to trap Pope lbw in the 22nd over, as England lost their second review as well. The big blow of the morning came at the stroke of lunch as Shami returned to pick up Root, trapping him leg before.