bairstow-woakes

England’s Jonny Bairstow (93) and Chris Woakes (120*) combined for a stand of 189 runs for the sixth wicket on Day 3 of the second Test at Lord’s against India. That was 82 runs more than what India managed in their first innings.

LORD’S TEST SCORECARD | MATCH HOME DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS

While England’s four-pronged pace attack ran roughshod over India on day two, day three was all about England batsmen flattening the Indian bowling attack. At close of play, England had amassed 357 for six, taking a lead of 250.

Game Over, you would say? Most probably yes.

India did have tougher conditions while batting, but therein lies the real test of Test cricket. Overcoming the external factors – especially for any visiting team – is crucial, but India failed to do so.

However, India did have their moment under the sun, which ironically shone beautifully for most part of the day going in favour of England. India had England reeling at 131 for five, with Mohammed Shami looking in terrific rhythm, having taken three wickets before Bairstow and Woakes took the game away  from India. The English duo bided their time in the middle when the pacers were on top in the second session, but once they withered the storm, the Lord’s track eased out for batting.

Shami bowled beautifully getting the ball to shape back in, while Hardik Pandya was good in patches. But the biggest disappointment for India was wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who was drafted in, in place of pacer Umesh Yadav, for the second Test.

Kuldeep was quite average, bowling too short and with not much venom. In the first session, Kuldeep’s four overs were negotiated easily by Joe Root (19) and Ollie Pope (28), while in the second, the wrist spinner was employed for just two overs, giving away 13 runs. He didn’t trouble either Woakes or Bairstow in the third session as well, finishing with rather forgettable figures of 9-1-44-0.

Woakes, playing in place of Ben Stokes and returning from an injury, scored his maiden Test hundred after putting in a bowling performance of a lifetime a day earlier. Bairstow was unlucky to miss out on a well-deserved century.

Earlier in the day, Shami and Ishant had removed England openers  - Keaton Jennings (11) and Alastair Cook (21)- inside the first nine overs before Root and Pope made the most of the sunny conditions. They got starts, but departed before building on it.

Kuldeep was introduced as early as the 13th over but both Pope and Root swept well against the wrist spinner taking England past the 50-run mark. The duo combined for 45 runs. India though came back well late in the session with Shami and Pandya removing the set batsmen in a span of three overs and then Shami removed Jos Buttler inside the first hour of play post-lunch to keep India in the game.

Unfortunatley, that was it for India. Buttler scored at a fair clip – strike-rate of 109.99 – and so did Bairstow and Woakes and that prove to be decisive in the larger scheme of things. India did find it tough to get wickets, but they could have bowled with better control. Instead, they leaked runs at a rate of 4.65 run per over in the second session and then at nearly five in the third before the day’s play was called-off due to bad light.

India’s lead spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was brought in late – 39th over of the innings – and even though the Lord’s track showed signs of uneven bounce when the pacers bowled, the off spinner failed to extract much from the track. He finished with 17-1-68-0.

That meant Bairstow could wait for the loose deliveries to score while Woakes was more than happy to rotate the strike and give most of the strike to his senior pro.

The England wicketkeeper-batsman continued his good form scoring his eighth Test fifty and his second of the series when he got on top of a full delivery from Kuldeep, dispatching it to the cover boundary. Woakes got to his fifth Test fifty off 71 deliveries and then outscored Bairstow for his maiden hundred off 129 deliveries.

Sam Curran then added 22 off 24 before bad light forced early stumps.

England scored 141 runs in the session in 30.2 overs and went on to add 127 runs in 26 overs in the third.

Brief Scores: England 357/6 (Chris Woakes 120*; Jonny Bairstow 93; Mohammed Shami 3/74) lead India 107 (Ravichandran Ashwin 29; James Anderson 5/20) by 250 runs.