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Root saves England the blushes

All-rounder partners with Broad and Anderson to take England to 352 for 9 at close of play, after Ishant, Bhuvneshwar trigger middle-order collapse

Root saves England the blushes - Cricket News
Joe Root remained unbeaten on 78 and put on 54 in an unbroken last-wicket stand with James Anderson to take England to 352 for 9.
England had much the better of the first and third sessions, but India’s bowlers dominated a middle session as their team wrested the initiative on an engrossing third day at Trent Bridge on Friday. Despite the placid nature of the surface, the pace bowlers showed great discipline and no little skill to make regular incisions. At the end of it all, England was 352 for 9, still 105 behind India’s total of 457.

In a middle order that struggled, Joe Root stood out, compiling a classy 78 to spare England greater embarrassment. Stuart Broad helped him along the way with a stroke-filled 47, and James Anderson too spared himself a spell of bowling with a stubborn 23 that included a couple of cheeky reverse-swept fours.

The entertainment on view after lunch was in complete contrast to a morning session that saw next to no encouragement for the bowlers. Sam Robson and Gary Ballance carried on accumulating steadily, with the only real talking point being a grassed chance at leg slip. Robson, then on 43, had glanced one off Ravindra Jadeja, but Virat Kohli couldn’t hold on after the ball struck his palm.

Robson, who made a century in his previous Test, against Sri Lanka at Headingley, made the early running with some crisp drives, but Ballance hit his stride once Ishant Sharma came into the attack, taking him for three fours in an over. Stuart Binny’s gentle medium pace further eased the pressure, with deliveries that were either too full or too wide. England added 88 in the session in 31 overs, and there was little hint of the turmoil to come.  

Ishant’s suitability to lead this Indian attack has been the subject of much debate, but he went some way towards answering his doubters after lunch with a seven-over spell that was both purposeful and hostile. Robson was first to go after Ishant shaped one back into the pads. He made 59.
At the end of the 54th over, with England 146 for 2, the ball was changed. The new one was clearly to Ishant’s liking. First, Ballance, who made 71, was trapped in front by a full delivery. After that, Ian Bell, who had looked in wonderful touch while racing to 25, couldn’t get his bat out of the way in time after a wide one reared up from a length. Dhoni took the catch comfortably.

Ishant’s removal from the fray didn’t improve England's fortunes either. Mooen Ali ducked into a Shami delivery that didn’t take off and gloved it to slip, while Matt Prior was given out caught behind. Ben Stokes lasted all of one ball, edging Bhuvneshwar behind, and England had lost six wickets for the addition of 68 runs.

Fortunately for England, Root, who started hesitantly against the swinging ball, was in no mood to relent. He and Broad came out in positive mood after tea and thwacked the bowling to all parts. Broad’s 43-ball cameo ended with an excellent leg-before decision off Bhuvneshwar’s bowling, but the first 20 overs of the final session realised a whopping 100 runs.

When Bhuvneshwar then outfoxed Liam Plunkett to get his fourth wicket, England was still 159 in arrears. Fortunately for the team, Anderson showed India that irritating last-wicket stands are not a one-way street. 

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