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India loses Dhawan after conceding 569

Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and Jos Buttler are the big stars on the second day as England pile on the misery for India at Ageas Bowl

India loses Dhawan after conceding 569 - Cricket News
James Anderson of England appeals for the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara.
Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance made the initial incisions, leaving Ian Bell and Jos Buttler, the debutant, to tear a tiring Indian attack apart as England romped to a commanding position in the third Test of the series at Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Monday (July 28). When England declared 70 minutes into the final session, it had added 322 to its overnight 247 for 2, with Bell scoring his 21st century and Buttler smashing 85 off 83 balls. By stumps, India had limped to 25 for 1 in reply.
 
It takes only a split second for someone’s luck to change, for better or worse. On the first evening of this Test, Bell survived a vociferous lbw appeal from Pankaj Singh. Replays later suggested that the ball would have clipped the top of middle stump. A day later, Bell walked off to a standing ovation, after his sparkling 167 had put England firmly in control of the Test. Pankaj, who took the catch at mid-on off Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling, went wicketless and was taken for 146 runs.
 
Bell had not scored a century since the Durham Test against Australia last August and had been under nearly as much scrutiny as Cook after an underwhelming start to the summer. But a 142-run partnership with Ballance, who played with all the poise of a seasoned veteran, eased him back into the groove, and some gorgeous strokes followed, especially as England upped the ante in the afternoon. There was another century partnership in the final session, as Buttler made the most of his good fortune to join Bell in flaying the bowling. 
 
India hadn’t been especially threatening on the opening day, but it had bowled with enough discipline to keep the run rate down. That was not the case on the second morning, as a steady stream of short, wide and leg-stump deliveries were picked off with ease. Ballance mainly played from the crease, driving and deflecting, while Bell drove and cut with the finesse of last summer. The bowlers regularly served up the freebies and they were not missed out on as 111 were added in the 29 overs bowled.
 
By then, India had a wicket to show for their troubles, a gift from Rod Tucker. Rohit Sharma was brought on to bowl before the interval, and an energetic appeal was upheld though the ball brushed nothing more than Ballance’s thigh pad. Ballance’s composed 156 had featured 24 fours and spanned 288 balls.
 
Joe Root, who made a century in the opening Test at Trent Bridge, scratched around for three runs before nicking Bhuvneshwar to MS Dhoni not long after lunch. By then, Bell was moving through the gears, and he reached his century in a Ravindra Jadeja over that went for 21. A beautiful straight loft for six took Bell to his century and a sequence of four-six-four followed, as England’s intentions were made clear.
 
Moeen Ali, like Root, failed to cash in though. Having come out to band with a ‘Save Gaza’ band on his left forearm, Ali was once again undone by the short ball. Bhuvneshwar was the bowler, and what appeared to be a pre-meditated pull flew off the bottom edge to the slip cordon where Ajinkya Rahane dived across to take a superb catch.
 
That was as good as India’s day would get. Buttler might have gone without scoring, but he stood his ground after edging Bhuvneshwar to Rahane at second slip. At normal speed, it appeared to be a clean take, but repeated inconclusive replays compelled the third umpire to give Buttler the benefit of the doubt.
 
Throughout the session, Dhoni used his pace bowlers mostly in one-over bursts, with Jadeja tasked with containment at one end. It helped keep the run rate below four, but there were no answers once Bell and Buttler started to blaze away after tea. India didn’t help its cause with more indifferent slip catching. Buttler had 23 when Shikhar Dhawan put down a low chance to his left, and a straight six soon after took England past 500.
 
Bell slapped and cut anything that was wide down to third man or backward point, and eased into some glorious drives as well. Buttler too favoured the cut and drive, though he did hoick Pankaj for two leg-side sixes before the declaration came. Dhoni fluffed a stumping off Jadeja when Buttler had 59, and shoulders slumped further as England raced from 500 to 550 in 41 balls.
 
When Buttler played on to Jadeja, he was just 15 short of a debut hundred. By then, Cook had seen enough. It was time for James Anderson and Stuart Broad and a 14-over passage in which to inflict even more pain on India. Dhawan’s day, and tour, went from awful to rotten in the seventh of those overs, as Anderson – coming round the wicket – squared him up and induced the nick to Cook at first slip.
 
After the high of Lord’s, India now face a grim fight for survival, albeit on a surface that still seems full of runs.

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