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Both the players will be rearing to accelerate after getting to their respective tons AFP

India had a steep mountain to climb after England had posted a mammoth 537 on the board but showed character to fightback as they went for tea break at 228 for 1, courtesy a 99 not out by Cheteshwar Pujara while Murali Vijay remains unbeaten at 86. The partnership for the second wicket stands at 160 off 329 balls as India still trail by 309 runs. Both the sessions have gone in India’s favour as Pujara-Vijay continued to stay on top despite some half-chances coming England’s way. In the final session, Pujara and Vijay will like to get to their milestones and accelerate. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 1st Test at Rajkot

Day Three started with perfect setting for a good batting display. Overnight batsmen Gambhir and Vijay came out to bat but the former fell quickly for 29 to give England their early breakthrough. Though Alastair Cook started the proceedings with off-spinner Moeen Ali, he resorted to his best bowler, Stuart Broad, and he picked up a wicket off his first ball.

Broad bowled a full length delivery which came in sharply. Gambhir, despite having an open stance, got himself in a position from where he could not play the intended shot towards the on side and could not get out of the way either. Result, the ball hit him on pads. A huge appeal ensued and umpire had no hesitation in giving that out. The batsman knew it he was out and decided not to review it. Live Cricket Updates, India vs England, 1st Test, Rajkot

This brought Rajkot s famous son Pujara in the middle. The local boy walked out to quite a cheer by the spectators present on the ground, as his father, coach and mentor Arvind and wife Puja watched from the sidelines. Pujara started off with blocking the first ball towards covers. But there on, we got see a completely different Pujara; one we are not used to watch.

The batsman took on English bowling with an aggressive intent and out came a flurry of boundaries. He hit the third ball he faced for a boundary, which was a typical Pujara shot. He hit Broad for a boundary in his next over once again, before milking Moeen for three fours in his next two overs. Within no time, Pujara was batting in the mid-twenties with a strike rate hovering over the 90-mark. Vijay, on the other hand, looked in complete control, played with a straight bat and struck where and when necessary.

Pujara s attacking approach forced Cook to make a change in the bowling. He removed Moeen from the attack and introduced the young left-arm spinner Ansari, with the idea of troubling the two right-handers with the ball going away from them. However, the move backfired as Ansari was hit for a six by Vijay straightaway. Broad was replaced by Chris Woakes from the other end and the pacer brought some momentum back as he troubled the local lad with awkward bouncers. There were three instances where Pujara was hit in the helmet and he survived.

Though Woakes was not really firing them up at a great pace, but he was accurate, and that was making the duel interesting. Pujara and Vijay carried on and kept hitting the boundaries at regular intervals. India, despite off England posing some answers in the middle, went about their business without losing any wicket at lunch. Both the batsmen had near a 100-run stand and added fifties to their name. ALSO READ: India vs England, 1st Test: Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara lead hosts charge

The second session was an interesting part of play as India still had a mountain of 375 runs to reach close to England’s 537. India had to begin again as they could not afford to lose grasp from the match after being 162 for 1. Vijay and Pujara were troubled by some turn and bounce on the pitch as Adil Rashid gave a sneak peek into what was in store in last over before lunch. The ball defeated both the well set batsmen but it was Broad’s over which gave a chance for England to comeback.

Vijay played a cover drive off Broad but could not keep it down as the shot went straight to covers where debutante Haseeb Hameed was standing. Hameed did not look ready as he dropped a sitter and gave another reprieve to Vijay. The English bowlers slowed things down in the overs after lunch but still could not find a wicket. In the 71st over, Ansari bowled an arm-bowl which was missed by Pujara and was given out. Pujara was in no mood to walk back soon as he reviewed instantly and to India and his delight, the decision turned in hosts’ favour.

The highlight of the second session was undoubtedly the way Pujara’s wife, who is present in the stands, reacted to the decision being turned down. She celebrated in joy and stood up to applause the decision. It is clearly Pujara’s day as he timed the ball, left well, looked positive and stuck around without doing anything silly. He has also been striking the ball at a brisk rate while Vijay has shown great application being patient and resilient at his end. Vijay has consumed more balls while Pujara has played more strokes. It has been a fighting partnership with England rotating their bowlers, setting up attacking fields, asking few questions at time but still hanging on. The final session will still be another tough phase for both the teams as it always turns out to be a tricky period of play in India.

Both Indian batsmen will try to remain for long and score big at Rajkot.

Brief Scores:

England 537 (Ben Stokes 128, Joe Root 124, Moeen Ali 117; Ravindra Jadeja 3 for 86, Mohammed Shami 2 for 65) lead India 228 for 1 (Murali Vijay 86*, Cheteshwar Pujara 99*, Gautam Gambhir 29; Stuart Broad 1 for 32) by 309 runs.