Ollie Pope (148 n o, 208b, 17 x4) hit a counter-attacking unbeaten century to keep England in the hunt as the visitor finished Day three on 316/6 with a vital lead of 126 runs.
England began its second innings behind by 190 runs after India posted a dominant 436 in reply to England’s first innings total of 246.
The visitor rode on Pope’s sensational second innings century and dragged the match into the penultimate day with Zak Crawley (31) and Ben Duckett (47) giving the team a solid start. Pope found an able partner in Ben Foakes (34 off 81 balls) and forged a 112-run partnership to keep the Indians at bay.
England was off to a confident start in the second innings, but R Ashwin applied the brakes by dismissing Crawley with a straighter delivery which kissed the outside edge, giving Rohit Sharma took a simple catch.
Pope and Duckett counter-attacked and chopped off the deficit rapidly but Jasprit Bumrah bowled an inspired spell after lunch and cleaned up the latter with an inswinging delivery that uprooted the off-stump. The weekend raucous crowd was alive and kicking as Bumrah trapped Joe Root, who was beaten on the inside edge, and then Jadeja castled Jonny Bairstow with an arm-ball that pegged back the off pole.
Soon, Ashwin produced a magical delivery to dismiss Ben Stokes - who was drawn forward but the ball spun past the outside edge to crash the off-stump. Having picked five wickets, India pressed for further inroads. But in the process, it burnt a review as Axar Patel thought he had trapped Pope, but the impact was outside off.
After seeing off a testing period before the Tea break, Foakes and Pope, applied themselves and forged a fifty-run partnership to keep India at bay. Rohit tried all his five bowlers, but a breakthrough eluded India as Pope mixed caution with aggression to hit a brilliant century in 154 balls with the help of 10 boundaries. Pope reached his first Test century against India— fifth overall — with a flick off Jadeja and took three runs before removing his helmet and acknowledging the applause from the crowd and his England team-mates.
HIGHLIGHTS - INDIA vs ENGLAND
It was an innings of pure class as Pope spent 206 minutes to reach the three-figure mark. He was excellent with his sweeps and reverse sweeps, and forced Ashwin to change his line of attack. It was a gutsy knock given the position England was in. Pope, on a slow pitch, negotiated Bumrah’s fiery spell and then dealt with the spinners by constantly employing the sweep shot to become the first centurion of the series. Pope did receive a life as Axar dropped him at backward point off Jadeja, and the batsman once again switched on the reverse-sweeping mode.
Axar, however, came back to break the century-run stand as he packed off Foakes with a quicker delivery that kept low and crept under the bat of the batsman to crash into the base if off-stump.
England’s lead moved past three figures moments before the close of play as Pope held a batting lesson for his team-mates in a knock that was punctuated with guts and skill.
Earlier, India resumed the day on 421/7 and folded out for 436 as Jadeja (87 off 180 balls) missed out on a Test century. The all-rounder could add only six runs to his overnight score as he was trapped by Root. Jadeja along with Axar shared 78 runs for the eighth wicket to hand India a big first innings lead.
India will now enter Day four with an aim to polishing off the tail and knocking off the target to board the flight to Visakhapatnam with a 1-0 lead in its kitty.
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