Pant leads India’s fightback, England remain on top on Day 3

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Chennai, Feb 7 (IANS) England remained on top at the end of the third day of the first Test against India after Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara led the hosts’ fightback to reduce their first innings deficit to 321 runs. India ended Day 3 on 257 runs for six wickets in reply to England’s 578 at the M.A. Chidambaram stadium here.
England reduced India to 73/4 earlier in the day with captain Virat Kohli (11), Ajinkya Rahane (1), Rohit Sharma (6) and Shubman Gill (29) being dismissed cheaply. Rohit was dismissed in the fourth over when fast bowler Jofra Archer forced an edge out of the opener. The ball went behind to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler who made no mistake with the catch.
Archer then got Gill five overs later after the latter mistimed a drive. The ball looped up in the air and James Anderson did well to take a sharp diving catch at mid-on. Gill faced 28 balls in his innings and hit five fours.
Kohli and Pujara then looked to stabilise the innings and but the former fell to some sharp bowling and fielding from England after facing 48 balls. Bess extracted good turn and bounce off the pitch and the ball took Kohli’s inside edge before poping to Ollie Pope at short leg. Pope lunged to his right and held on to the catch to dismiss the Indian captain.
Bess then dismissed Kohli’s deputy Rahane in his very next over with England captain Joe Root diving to his left to pull off a one-handed catch at short cover. Rahane scored just one run off six balls.
Pant then put up a measured counter-attack, targeting Leach and refraining himself from going after Bess. Pant smashed nine fours and five sixes and was dismissed when he finally mistimed a lofted shot off Bess. Leach completed the catch at deep cover to leave Pant nine runs short of his third Test century.
Pujara was dismissed by Bess in a rather bizarre fashion. The Indian batsman attempted a pull shot. The ball rebound off Pope’s shoulder at short leg before looping to Burns at short midwicket.
Washington Sundar, batting on 33, was in the middle with Ravichandran Ashwin on eight off 54 balls at stumps.
Brief scores: England 578 all out (Joe Root 218, Dom Sibley 87; Jasprit Bumrah 3/84) vs India 257/6 (Rishabh Pant 91, Cheteshwar Pujara 73; Dom Bess 4/55)

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