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Jos Buttler made a spectacular Test debut for England at Southampton as he smashed his way to a quickfire 85, which helped England declare their first innings at 567 for seven. Ian Bell roared back to form as he smashed a century as well. Devarchit Varma takes a look at Buttler’s impressive debut and other talking points from the second day of the third Test.
England began the second day of the third Test being comfortably placed at 247 for two. Gary Ballance had scored his century and Ian Bell had fought his way to 16 not out with a little bit of luck on his side. The Indians would have hoped to do better than what they did on the first day, but the track offered no help at all to the tourists and the hosts’ batsmen revelled on a track that suite them most.
When England came onto bowl towards the end of the day, they managed to snaffle the wicket of Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan, who is having a poor outing in England. Let’s take a look at the highlights of the second day’s play in the third India-England Test:
1) Gary Ballance registers career-best score: Ballance is making most of the purple patch. The left-handed middle-order batsman had already completed his century on the first day, and he was expected to add more to his tally. Ballance did not disappoint as he picked from where he had left off on Day One evening, smashing the Indian bowlers all around the park. Ballance, along with Bell, kept Indians at bay as England seized control. He went onto score 150 – the first time any batsman had done so at the venue – before he was dismissed by Rohit Sharma before lunch.
2) Ian Bell roars back to form: So far in the series, the senior England batsman was discovering new ways to get out. But he ensured that he hung on and was watchful initially. He had already got a lifeline on the first day and Bell made most of it. Indians were not disciplined enough with the ball on the first two days, which again played to Bell’s advantage. He got a lot of width outside the off and also a couple of balls sprayed down the leg, as Bell bounced back to being his usual self. As England passed the 450-run mark, the right-handed batsman became more aggressive and played strokes all over the park. He had a special liking for Ravindra Jadeja, off whom he smashed as many as three sixes.
3) Jos Buttler’s memorable debut: The debutant cricketer came very close to create a couple of records, but by the time he got an inside edge off Jadeja in the 164th over of the innings, Buttler had smashed his way to 85. The right-handed batsman, who holds the record of fast One-Day International (ODI) ton for England, smashed nine fours and three sixes to score 85. It was his innings that helped England get some momentum, as at a certain stage the hosts looked clueless as to how many runs they wanted on board. England got the necessary push and in no time they were past 550.
4) Indians drop way too many catches: Just give this a thought – had Ravindra Jadeja caught Alastair Cook early on Day One off Pankaj Singh, the England captain’s wretched form would still have continued to haunt. But one let-off and Cook was away. His innings gave England all the positive signs they needed from the middle that they can fight and with their captain leading their way. Soon, Ian Bell toed the line. On the second day, MS Dhoni missed a stumping off Jadeja to dismiss Buttler in the 162nd over, Shikhar Dhawan dropped the same batsman in the 151st over when the batsman was just on 24. India can only hope that the additional runs that Cook and Buttler added do not haunt them in the days to come.
5) Shikhar Dhawan’s unending poor form: If there is one reason why the Indians have persisted with Dhawan in England, a place where is not very likely to continue, is because he has started off fluently in the first two matches. James Anderson snarled his wicket once again as the left-handed batsman could not move his feet to one that came in, and ended up giving a simple catch to the English skipper in the slip cordon. With an experienced and raring Gautam Gambhir waiting in the wings, Dhawan would certainly be under pressure after his repeated failures.
(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)
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