Sport

Stokes, Buttler battling to stave off defeat for England

Stokes, Buttler battling to stave off defeat for England

However, the most likely outcome is that England will be bowled out at some point and India will reduce their series deficit to 2-1. A ninth-wicket stand of 50 between Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad kept India waiting, but once Bumrah got his fifth the end appeared near.

England went into tea on 173 for four and doubtless hoping for more of the same once back in the middle.

While India were never in trouble but the period once again defined the beauty of Test cricket where it was once again proved why patience is the most important virtue for top teams.

A day after taking 5-28, Hardik Pandya smashed 52 off 52 balls as India closed in on the declaration on day three. Buttler brought out the cover drive on multiple occasions, while Stokes was more content keeping balls out.

With 23 centuries under his belt, Kohli now has equalled Virender Sehwag (India), Kevin Pietersen (England), Justin Langer (Australia), Steve Smith (Australia) and Javed Miandad (Pakistan), who have 23 centuries each to their names.

After such a crushing first innings in which England were bowled out in a session, the partnership between Buttler and Stokes and a stubborn tail meant England were able to take the game into the fifth day.




Asked how his breakthrough Test century compares with his many limited-overs highs, Buttler added: "It's a lot more fulfilling, probably. It's really tough. It's tough cricket, it tests you in all sorts of ways and yeah, it's definitely the proudest moment in an England shirt". It wasn't swinging a great deal and the bowler was grumpy, Kohli was approaching his hundred for the second time in the match. When Ashwin returned, three fours came off three overs as Stokes and Buttler opened their arms. That left the hosts on 27 for one. Alastair Cook is now in one of his ever more-regular lulls in terms of run scoring.

A lot was said about Kohli's 2014 horror show in the Old Blighty during the lead up to the ongoing series.

India will have their eyes on the victory, though they will need to pick ten England wickets for that. For Kohli, it was his 23 Test century as well. In the midst of a sustained spell of pressure, the tireless James Anderson drew an edge from Pujara only for Jos Buttler to shell the catch at second slip.

Thereafter, Buttler tightened up and along with Stokes as India were made to wait till late afternoon when Bumrah got into the act with second new ball.

It could have been even worse for England but Jos Buttler was dropped by Pant off Bumrah.


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