45th over: India 125-3 (Pujara 50, Pant 29) Pujara works Root for a single to reach an admirable half-century from 139 balls, an innings that has extinguished any hopes England had of winning this game.
In fact that’s the last action of the day, which means a whopping 16 overs will be unbowled. India lead by 257 and will surely win this series 3-1 – probably on Tuesday, maybe tomorrow.
44th over: India 123-3 (Pujara 49, Pant 29) Now Pujara receives an official warning for running on the pitch. Nobody thinks he’s doing it deliberately, but rules are rules and another warming would mean a five-run penalty.
Anderson, meanwhile, has gone round the wicket to bowl some short stuff. I’ll be honest, I didn’t see this coming. Imaginary statistics show he is the first 39-year-old to take on the enforcer role in a Test match. Pujara deals with everything pretty comfortably, and it’s another maiden.
43rd over: India 123-3 (Pujara 49, Pant 29) Root’s first ball to Pant is so far outside off stump that it’s called by wide by Aleem Dar. He gets straighter as the over progresses, which allows Pant to whack a short ball through midwicket for four. Pant is batting with contemptuous ease.
42nd over: India 118-3 (Pujara 49, Pant 25) Pujara gets an unofficial warning for running on the pitch, then works Anderson off the hip to move to within one run of an excellent half-century.
41st over: India 116-3 (Pujara 47, Pant 25) Time for spin – but it’s Joe Root rather than Jack Leach who comes into the attack. That’s understandable with Pant, who eats Leach’s bowling for larks, at the crease.
Root starts by bowling very wide of off stump, the same line that led to Pant’s dismissal in the first innings. Pant isn’t playing, at least not yet: he ignores all six deliveries, and it’s a maiden.
40th over: India 116-3 (Pujara 47, Pant 25) James Anderson returns in place of Stokes, who bowled a pretty good spell of 7-0-22-1. Pujara survives another biggish LBW appeal, with the ball hitting him outside the line of off satump. There’s an argument Pujara wasn’t playing a stroke, but Richard Kettleborough would have been guessing.
39th over: India 113-3 (Pujara 47, Pant 22) Pant flogs Broad for four, which inadvertently leads to another ball change, the third of the innings. Broad gets the new old ball to zip past the outside edge later in the over. England have beaten the bat a lot today, and have arguably bowled better than they did when they reduced India to 90-odd for five in the first innings.
“I’ll tell you what, Rob,” says Matt Dony, “Bairstow’s match-winning innings is going to have to really be something…”
38th over: India 108-3 (Pujara 47, Pant 17) Pujara flashes Stokes past backward point for his fifth boundary, a really lovely stroke.
“Greetings from sweltering Berlin!” says Eva Maaten. “I wonder if anyone else has noticed that Coach Beard from the Ted Lasso series has made an appearance on the balcony of the Indian dressing room? Perhaps the series producers are exploring moving from football to cricket for series four?”
I haven’t seen Ted Lasso, on the grounds that it looks a bit cringeworthy, but am reliably informed it is extremely funny. Is that fair? And will the cricket spin-off be called Ted Bazball?
37th over: India 103-3 (Pujara 43, Pant 16) It was hard work for Pujara against the new ball, with plenty of playing and missing, but he has looked ominously solid in the last hour or so. Pant, meanwhile, is breezing along at close to a run a ball. India lead by 235.
36th over: India 102-3 (Pujara 43, Pant 15) A poor delivery from Stokes, well wide of leg stump, is flicked easily for four by Pant. Actually, it might be a plan from Stokes, because the next ball is also full outside leg stump. It runs away for a couple off the pad, and a few bits and bobs complete a productive over for India – 11 from it.
35th over: India 91-3 (Pujara 39, Pant 10) There’s been a bit of uneven bounce this evening, which reinforces the feeling that India are a sure thing. Happily for Pujara, the grubber from Broad is well wide of off stump.
There are still 26 overs remaining tonight, though we’ll do well to get half of them.
34th over: India 90-3 (Pujara 39, Pant 9) Bazball has hit the Wall. Pujara has faced almost as many deliveries for his 39 as Pant did for his 146 in the first innings, 106 to 111, and has inched India into a formidable position.
33rd over: India 88-3 (Pujara 38, Pant 8) “If the ball goes out of shape so regularly, shouldn’t Dukes look at its composition and make a change?” says Richard Holmes. “It is becoming an annoying feature of every Test. Moan over.”
Bloody Brexit. (Apparently it’s to do with the quality of the leather.)
32nd over: India 86-3 (Pujara 37, Pant 7) “What an impressive performance from Pujara,” says Robert Ellson. “At the risk of seeming grumpily preBazerian, I would suggest that a couple of hours spent rewatching his innings would be more useful for Lees, Crawley and Pope than any number of tub-thumping motivational speeches.”
Different strokes, I guess. I do think there should be room for at least one grinder in the top three, especially in a summer like this where the old ball does so little. Dom Sibley has a higher average in England Test victories than Marcus Trescothick, Michael Vaughan, Ben Stokes, Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff. There’s a moral in that story. Possibly one about sample size, sure, but defensive batters can be matchwinners.
PUJARA IS NOT OUT! It was closer than I thought – umpire’s call, so England do at least keep their review.
REVIEW! 32nd over: India 86-3 (Pujara 37, Pant 7) Pujara pads up to a big inswinger from Stokes, with Richard Kettleborough rejecting the ensuing LBW appeal. Stokes decides to review, which looks a poor decision to me. We’ll soon find out.
31st over: India 84-3 (Pujara 36, Pant 6) Broad has an LBW appeal against Pujara turned down by Aleem Dar. It kept low, but it also hit the underedge of the bat rather than the pad. While Broad was appealing, Root (I think) tried to run out the non-striker Pant and gave away three overthrows.
Those runs bring Pant on strike, and he flicks Broad wristily through midwicket for four. Shot!
30.3 overs: India 77-3 (Pujara 33, Pant 2) Broad, back into the attack, raps Pujara on the glove with an unpleasant delivery. The ball was changed again a few overs ago, and the replacement has bounced nastily on a couple of occasions. Pujara has cut his forefinger, in fact, so there’s a break in play while he receives treatment.
“Hello Rob,” writes Sidhartha. “I would think writing off England already is not wise given their recent history. They may chase even 400 and India has still a long way to get there!”
You might be right – and it’ll be a helluva ride if you are – but I can’t see them chasing 250+ against this Indian attack.
30th over: India 76-3 (Pujara 33, Pant 1) Evening Rishabh.
Stokes has got Kohli with a snorter! It burst from a fullish length to take the glove and, though Billings parried a relatively straightforward chance to his right, Root reacted smartly to grab the rebound.
Kohli’s poor run continues, though he was entirely blameless. That was a violent delivery, utterly unplayable. It was also an extremely good reaction catch from Root.
29th over: India 75-2 (Pujara 33, Kohli 20) This has been India’s most dominant performance of this elongated series. They had to come from behind to win famously at Lord’s and the Oval. It’s slightly surprising to recall that they only took a first-innings lead in one of the four Tests last summer, the draw at Trent Bridge.
28th over: India 75-2 (Pujara 33, Kohli 20) Pujara has left well all day, and does so a few more times in that Stokes over. Every dot ball helps build a foundation for the devastating hitters down the order: Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and the rest.
27th over: India 73-2 (Pujara 32, Kohli 20) Anderson beats Kohli on the inside with another fine delivery; Kohli responds by punching a half volley through mid-off for four. Anderson was disgusted with himself for bowling such a rank bad ball, especially as he had kept Kohli quiet until that point.
Actually, I think Anderson was annoyed with the footholes rather than himself, though the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
26th over: India 69-2 (Pujara 32, Kohli 16) Stokes replaces Potts and concedes a single from his first over. With India’s lead moving past 200, England urgently need wickets plural. Realistically it’s already over, though Stokes won’t feel that way.
25th over: India 68-2 (Pujara 32, Kohli 15) Anderson goes a bit shorter in this over, particularly to Pujara, who leaves a handful of deliveries on length. He’s fought really hard to see off the new ball, making 32 from 77 balls, and you’d imagine at least one of the Indian middle order will be the beneficiary of his graft.
24th over: India 66-2 (Pujara 31, Kohli 14) This is the eighth over of Potts’ spell, so it might be his last. Three singles from it, and India’s lead is 198.
Potts runs off the field at the end of the over, so I guess there will be a change. He bowled expertly, far better than figures of 8-2-20-0 would suggest.
23rd over: India 63-2 (Pujara 29, Kohli 13) No bowler has dismissed Kohli in Tests more often than Anderson – he has him seven times, the same as Nathan Lyon. Kohli has plenty of credit in the bank as well, mind, most notably from the 2016-17 and 2018 series.
The second over is similar to the first – Kohli walking down the wicket with intent, Anderson making him play and giving him nothing; another maiden.
22nd over: India 63-2 (Pujara 29, Kohli 13) Pujara flicks Potts for two, with Billings again complaining that Pujara is running down the middle of the pitch. Then he survives another LBW appeal after pushing around a good delivery. Missing leg I suspect, and possibly too high.
Despite the best efforts of England’s seamers, and they really have bowled well, India lead by 195.
21st over: India 61-2 (Pujara 27, Kohli 13) Here we go: Anderson v Kohli, one more time. Kohli looks in bullish mood and is walking down the track to Anderson from the off. But Anderson is right on the money, forcing Kohli to play all six deliveries, mostly defensive strokes. A maiden.
20th over: India 61-2 (Pujara 27, Kohli 13) This really is a high-class spell from Potts. Pujara survives a big LBW appeal, and this time Stokes goes for the review. I think Pujara was outside the line.
In fact he was hit in line, but replays show the ball was bouncing over the stumps. England aren’t happy – they thought there was an inside edge, and that Pujara should have been given out caught behind by Billings. Wrong!
The next ball is another jaffa from Potts, which Pujara edges through the diving Billings for four. Technically it was a chance, but it would have been a miraculous low catch. Potts’ figures of 6-2-15-0 are a minor scandal.
19th over: India 57-2 (Pujara 23, Kohli 13) Kohli, who has started with intent, pushes Broad through the covers for another thrilling boundary. There’s a break in play shortly after, with England successfully appealing for a ball change.
18th over: India 53-2 (Pujara 22, Kohli 9) Kohli survives a huge shout for caught behind after pushing defensively at a jaffa from Potts. Stokes decides not to review, mainly on the advice of Sam Billings, and it’s the correct decision. The noise that got England excited was bat on pad.
Kohli fiddles a boundary to third man and then takes a quick single to move to nine from six balls. Potts completes an outstanding over by snapping one past Pujara’s defensive push.
17th over: India 47-2 (Pujara 22, Kohli 4) The new batter is Virat Kohli, who apparently hasn’t scored a century in his last 120 innings in all formats. That’s an barely believable statistic. He’s 96 away from righting that statistical wrong, having just got off the mark with a glorious cover drive.
“Ahoi Rob,” says Dan. “Much as we cherish YJBs clubbing of centuries this summer, England fans are already getting used to the idea of his latest being in a defeated cause. Being a world-beating numpty in the stats department I’d love someone to tell us where he stands in the pantheon of centurions who are also match winners.”
Vihari’s shift is over. He leans into a drive at a full delivery from Broad and snicks it straight to Bairstow at third slip. That was nicely done by Broad – and by Stokes, who is rewarded for sticking with three slips.
16th over: India 43-1 (Pujara 22, Vihari 11) Pujara opens the face to steer Potts for four. He and Vihari are doing a fine job here, slowly batting England out of the series (if they were still in it). But they are having to work pretty hard against some good bowling, and Pujara is beaten again later in the over.
15th over: India 39-1 (Pujara 18, Vihari 11) Broad returns in place of Leach. His first over back is accurate but unthreatening – two from it.
“Hi Rob,” writes Simon Brereton. “Since we announced our engagement on your OBO it would be remiss of me to point out that Suzy is having a great career playing for Germany!”
This is brilliant!
Moeen Ali to return to Warwickshire
A bit of news here from Ali, and about Ali – Moeen is set to return to Warwickshire when he leaves Worcestershire at the end of the season.
14th over: India 37-1 (Pujara 17, Vihari 10) Potts charges in to bowl the first ball after tea … and then Pujara pulls away because of some oblivious eejit behind the bowler’s arm.
When the over does start, Pujara fences short of gully before playing and missing at an excellent delivery. Potts looks a seriously good bowler to right-handers.
“Hello Rob,” says Matthew Doherty. “When does the semi-customary Broad magic spell begin?”
Now you mention it, it’s been a while since the last one. Johannesburg 2015-16, or have I forgotten a more recent rampage?
“England are going to rue two things: Broad’s crazy over to Bumrah and Stokes’ insistence on slogging instead of playing second fiddle to Bairstow as Jadeja intelligently did when Pant was on song on Friday,” says Colum Fordham. “We’re now 132 runs behind and, bar a miracle, India have got this match in the bag. There’s attacking cricket and there’s foolhardy cricket.”
I agree that Stokes is overdoing it, though I understand the logic – if he wants his team to run towards the danger, he needs to be at the front of the pack. Eoin Morgan did a similar thing in 2015 before settling down slightly. I’m sure the same will happen to Stokes.
13th over: India 37-1 (Pujara 17, Vihari 10) Jack Leach, who was ransacked by Rishabh Pant in the first innings, comes on to bowl the last over before tea. It’s a harmless affair, with five runs from it, and that’s tea. India lead by 169 and are on course for a 3-1 series victory. See you in 20 minutes for the evening session.
12th over: India 32-1 (Pujara 16, Vihari 6) Potts boings a spectacular delivery past Vihari’s defensive push. Sheesh, that really bounced. England have bowled excellently this afternoon, and without much luck.
11th over: India 31-1 (Pujara 15, Vihari 6) A loose ball from Anderson is flashed past backward point for four by Vihari. Anderson’s response is predictable, an immaculate delivery that beats the outside edge. India lead by 163.
10th over: India 27-1 (Pujara 15, Vihari 2) Potts replaces Broad, who bowled a decent spell of 4-1-11-0. He starts well, forcing Pujara to play at pretty much every delivery. A maiden. Pujara has 15 from 36 balls, Vihari 2 from 22. England need a wicket, if nothing else to preserve Tim’s great stat from the previous over.
9th over: India 27-1 (Pujara 15, Vihari 2) Pujara is beaten by another beauty from Anderson that is angled in and then straightens sharply. Two from the over.
Meanwhile, this is a tremendous spot from Tim de Lisle. Get it while it’s hot, though, because Pujara and Vihari will ruin it if they hang around after tea.