Karun Nair looks good for his maiden Test hundred    AFP
Karun Nair looks good for his maiden Test hundred AFP

The third day of the ongoing India versus England fifth and final Test belonged to the hosts, as the Indian players made merry on a flat pitch at M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Both teams have had moments of joy, pain and anguish on Day Three, with India coming out being the more content of the two sides. England would have rued their chances on a cloudy, windy and at times sunny day in Chepauk. KL Rahul and Karun Nair showed why they are a lethal pair together when it comes to batting in pressure situations.

Rahul, who is making a comeback into the Test team after an injury looked settled and composed right from the beginning, taking an attack on a timid-looking spin attack. Unfortunately, Rahul became a victim of his own brashness departing on 199 when all he needed to do was push the ball into the gap for a single. There was some good news as well for the Indian team as Nair finally flourished with the bat. After having made a poor start to his career, the 25-year-old rose to the occasion and battled his way to a maiden Test fifty.

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs England, 5th Test at Chennai

India were 391 for 4 at stumps on the third day, just 86 runs behind England. It could very well be a make-or-break day for both teams as the contest heads into Day Four.

Day Four from India’s perspective

With Nair and Murali Vijay looking well set, India will want to knock off the 86-run deficit in the first session. Mostly importantly for India, both Nair and Vijay are known to be quite explosive and can change their gear any moment. Nair will first want to register his maiden Test ton and then march on making quick runs.

Vijay would be expected to rely on his frugalness, with an injured shoulder still in back of his mind, even though he has not shown any discomfort. Vijay can use his feet extremely well to distress England spinners out of the game. Luckily for India, their lower-middle order has the entire arsenal to power their way past England s total and build a massive lead on Day Four. .Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Amit Mishra and even Ishant Sharma can all bat and if needed, use the long handle to good use. Ashwin has been in red-hot form this year; will want to make up with the bat after disappointing with the ball. Jadeja, on the other hand, will be eager to use his fencing oops batting skills to belter English bowling unit.

Mishra, Umesh Yadav and Ishant can contribute with the bat and knowing how hard they work in the nets, one could not rule out a strong resistance by these three.

Day Four from England’s perspective

England, on the flip side, will be the most anxious starting Day Four. With as many as 6 wickets to scalp, they will be banking on early morning liveliness from the pitch to help their seam bowlers. Also with a relatively newer ball it would be handy for Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson and Adil Rashid to put their spinning skills to decent conclusion.

Indian players in all likelihood will eye to score quick and big, so it kind of makes their job easy to grab wickets, but onus will still be upon Moeen, Dawson and Rashid to bowl on perfect lines.

If Alastair Cook decides to go defensive it would mean they are giving India much-needed breathing space, and they might turn over an upset much like the Mumbai Test.

Another thing that would linger in the minds of English batsmen will be the fluster in deciding to go for the win or just play out time whenever they bat. If India takes lead it would only add a ton of pressure on the likes of Cook, Joe Root, Jonathan Bairstow and Ben Stokes to bat their team out a predicament.

Either way, Day Four will surely throw-up a great exhibition of cricket for all fans, critics and non-believers.