Virat Kohli angered English cricket fans with a rogue act toward Jonny Bairstow as India took a strong grip on the Edgbaston Test.
Bairstow completed his third hundred in successive Tests before falling for 106 overnight Sunday to give England some hope of winning the series-decider.
Bairstow’s latest century was the cornerstone of England’s 284 in reply to India’s 416, a deficit of 132 runs. The visitors were 3/125 at stumps on day three – 257 runs ahead.
Bairstow’s century followed scores against New Zealand of 136 at Trent Bridge and 162 at his Headingley home ground, where he also made an unbeaten 71 in the second innings.
But he fell to the first ball of Mohammed Shami’s new spell when an edged drive flew to former India captain Kohli at first slip. Kohli, who earlier Sunday had been spoken to by the umpires following a verbal altercation with Bairstow, blew a kiss to celebrate. And the Poms weren’t happy about it.
No other England batsman made more than Sam Billings’ 36, with the wicketkeeper one of four wickets for Mohammed Siraj.
But with England having chased down seemingly stiff targets of 277, 299 and 296 during a recent 3-0 whitewash of Test world champions New Zealand, there was still work for India to do with the bat.
They lost Shubman Gill to just the third ball of their second innings, caught in the slips off England great James Anderson.
Hanuma Vihari (22) and Kohli (20) were also removed before stumps.
England had resumed in the dire position of 84-5 in a match they have to win to square this five-match series at 2-2.
Against New Zealand, their first series under their new leadership duo of Stokes and red-ball coach Brendon McCullum, the team had several times hit its way out of trouble.
But for all the talk of the new ‘Bazball’ approach, a reference to former New Zealand captain McCullum’s nickname, Bairstow still played himself in against India’s impressive pace attack.
Bairstow was 16 not out off 65 balls before, playing orthodox but powerfully hit strokes, he accelerated in scoring his next 84 runs off just 54 balls as the 32-year-old went to his fifth Test century of 2022.
He brought up his latest hundred when a push off seamer Shardul Thakur was misfielded on the cover rope to give the Yorkshireman his 14th four in 119 balls. He also hit two sixes.
It was no more than Shami, who bowled far better than figures of 2-78 in 22 overs, deserved.
All-rounder Stokes, nought not out overnight, batted in frantic fashion for 25.
Already dropped on 18, when Shardul Thakur floored a routine catch at cover, Stokes was missed again on 25 when India stand-in captain Jasprit Bumrah dropped a low chance at mid-off, with Thakur the unlucky bowler on this occasion.
But next ball Stokes drove harder and higher, only for Bumrah, diving to his left, to hold a brilliant catch and one far harder than the chance he had missed.
That catch continued an excellent all-round match for Bumrah, leading India for the first time after regular captain Rohit Sharma was sidelined by Covid-19.
The tailender had smashed Stuart Broad for 29 in an over costing a total of 35 – the most expensive in Test history – in a flourish to a total built on hundreds from Rishabh Pant (146) and Ravindra Jadeja (104).
Bumrah, in his more familiar new-ball role, then removed all of England’s top three. That gave him 21 wickets in the series, the most by an Indian bowler in a series in England.
This decider should have been played in Manchester last September only to be postponed just hours before the start because of coronavirus concerns within the India camp.
– with AFP