Ian Bell scored a stroke-filled unbeaten 68 © Getty Images
Ian Bell (right) scored a stroke-filled unbeaten 68 © Getty Images

By Shiamak Unwalla

Jul 28, 2014

The third Test between India and England at Southampton is firmly in the hosts’ control after an impressive batting display in the first session on Day Two. The part-time off-spin of Rohit Sharma produced the key wicket of Gary Ballance at the stroke of lunch to provide some respite for India after they were sent on a leather hunt for the better part of a session.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Pankaj Singh started things off on Day Two. There were a few balls that went past the bat, but for the most part, it was easy going for the batsmen. Even the introduction of Mohammed Shami did not change things, as Ian Bell and Gary Ballance put together a hundred-run partnership as England got well and truly ahead in the first session.

Bell scored his 42nd Test fifty for England when he got to the landmark against India in the third Test at Southampton. He got to the landmark off 99 deliveries. Ballance got to his highest Test score as well, when he went past 110 — which he scored against India at Lord’s in the second Test of the ongoing series. He got to his maiden Test 150 in the process as well — the first time anyone had reached the landmark at the Aegas Bowl. Ballance was unlucky to be dismissed — for 156 — as the ball struck the pad rather than the bat as he was given out caught behind by MS Dhoni.

Earlier, England finished in a commanding position on Day One thanks to a huge partnership between skipper Alastair Cook and No 3 batsman Ballance. The Indian bowlers toiled endlessly, but were unable to make consistent breakthroughs as a mixture of dropped catches, close decisions and missed run-out chances meant that England lost just two wickets when they could have lost far more.

Brief scores:

England 358 for 3 (Alastair Cook 95, Gary Ballance 156, Ian Bell 68*; Mohammed Shami 1 for 81, Ravindra Jadeja 1 for 63, Rohi Sharma 1 for 25) vs India.

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Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)