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Vijay and Pujara have added 94 runs for the second wicket so far AFP

India had a steep mountain to climb after England had posted a mammoth 537 on the board; the highest by a visiting team in India since the West Indies made 590 at Mumbai in November 2011. They started their innings in the final session of Day Two just the ideal way, with Gautam Gambhir and Murali Vijay leading the charge and staying unbeaten at the end of day. Day Three was going to be crucial, and the Indian batsmen knew it. The continued from where they left yesterday and baring Gambhir s dismissal, which came early in the day, India did well in the first session to go at lunch with score reading 162/1. Overnight batsman Vijay and local hero Cheteshwar Pujara were unbeaten on 57 and 62 respectively. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 1st Test at Rajkot.

The match started with perfect setting for a good batting display. The skies were clear, as they usually are at this time of the year. The spectators had taken their place in the stands when overnight batsmen Gambhir and Vijay came out to bat. With a southpaw at crease, England captain Alastair Cook started the proceedings with off-spinner Moeen Ali. The first runs of the morning came with a huge cheer, as wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow failed to collect a delivery going down the leg side which ran towards the boundary for four byes.

But the cheer was soon turned into pin-drop silence when Gambhir was dismissed on the first ball of the next over; the second of the day. Stuart 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.

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.

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 Zafar 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 launched a short-pitched stuff attack on Pujara, hitting him once on his helmet in the very first over.

Woakes continued with his short-pitched bowling against Pujara, hitting his helmet again in the very next over. Though Woakes was not really firing them up at a great pace, but he was accurate, and that was making the duel interesting. The next few overs were quiet as a result, with the run rate dropping significantly. We are talking about run rate in a Test because till then the two of them were scoring at a decent rate. At one stage, the two had scored 41 runs in 10 overs. The boundaries were coming quite easily. But Woakes tactics had brought the rate down.

It all changed in the 20th over of the day, when all-rounder Ben Stokes came into the attack. This was the first time he was being introduced into the attack after staying away from the field yesterday. After top-scoring for his side with 128, Stokes had not come out to field. On Day Three, he was welcomed into the attack with a couple of boundaries that came of Pujara s willow. Pujara hit him for another boundary in his next over, putting the pressure on the bowler. Stokes was not quite effective early on. He is good with the old ball and can get it to reverse swing quite brilliantly. But here, the due rendered him ineffective.

Till here, it seemed the two batsmen were having a race to reach to their respective fifties. At the end of Stokes over, both were unbeaten on 45 and Vijay won the race in the next over bowled by Ansari. The batsman stepped out twice in the over to hit the bowler over the infield. The first one resulted in a six, with which Vijay brought his 15th Test half-century. The next one was a boundary at long-off.

Pujara got to his 11th Test fifty in the next over bowled by Stokes and just like Vijay; he too brought it in style by hitting the bowler for three boundaries. In the final overs leading to the lunch, leg-spinner Adil Rashid was introduced with the idea of getting a wicket. However, the duo did well to guide India to lunch without any damage.

Brief Scores: England 537 all out in 159.3 overs (Ben Stokes 128, Joe Root 124, Moeen Ali 117; Ravindra Jadeja 3/86, Mohammed Shami 2/65, Umesh Yadav 2/112, Ravichandran Ashwin 2/167) vs India 162/1 (Murali Vijay 57 not out, Cheteshwar Pujara 62 not out, Gautam Gambhir 29; Stuart Broad 1/31) at lunch on Day 3.

(A self-confessed cricket freak, Chinmay Jawalekar is a senior writer with CricketCountry. When not writing or following cricket, he loves to read, eat and sleep. He can be followed here @CricfreakTweets)