By: Eastern Eye Staff
RAVINDRA Jadeja fell agonisingly short of his maiden test century but India’s strong lower-order batting display gave the hosts a healthy advantage midway through the third test against England this morning.
Jadeja made a fluent 90 and forged two 75-plus partnerships with Ravichandran Ashwin and Jayant Yadav before India were bowled out for 417, a handy first innings lead of 134 runs, prompting an early tea on the third day of the match.
Resuming on 271-6, the Indians needed four overs to erase the 12-run first innings deficit at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.
Ben Stokes, who came up with a lion-hearted effort with the ball to claim 5-73, earned a breakthrough when he dismissed Ashwin for 72, a composed knock including 11 boundaries.
The Ashwin-Jadeja stand was worth a match-high 97 runs and India will expect the spinning all-rounders to forge a similar partnership with the ball in England’s second innings.
Jadeja went on to complete his third test fifty, celebrating with his trademark swirling of the bat, before accelerating and smacking four boundaries in one Chris Woakes over.
The rush of blood eventually proved his downfall as Jadeja stepped out to Adil Rashid only to hole out in the deep and depart after an entertaining 170-ball knock that included 10 boundaries and a six.
Jadeja added 80 runs with Jayant, who made 55, his maiden test fifty.
Stokes bowled his heart out but could only look on in agony as captain Alastair Cook dropped Umesh Yadav at slip and keeper Jonny Bairstow could not catch Jayant within a few balls.
Moen Ali, however, had a tighter grip than his team mates, catching Jayant off the final delivery of the over and Stokes went on to dismiss Umesh to complete his five-wicket haul.
India lead the five-match series 1-0 after the opening two tests.