India vs England: Virat Kohli reigns with 23rd ton, India push to win Trent Bridge Test
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India vs England: Virat Kohli reigns with 23rd ton, India push to win Trent Bridge Test

More than the 520-run target, England were left with an improbable task of trying to avoid defeat with two days left against India’s pacers with their tails up.

cricket Updated: Aug 21, 2018 00:01 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Trent Bridge
India vs England,Virat Kohli,Trent Bridge Test
India's Virat Kohli celebrates his century. (REUTERS)

Virat Kohli has seen a few of his brilliant overseas centuries end in Indian defeats, the twin knocks in the Adelaide Test on the 2014-15 Australia tour, 153 at Centurion in January and the 149 in the first Test at Edgbaston. (DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS)

However, the Indian skipper has all but ensured his 23rd Test century (103 – 197 b, 293 min, 10x4), and the second of the series, also sapped the life out of England on the third day of the Trent Bridge Test, setting up the visitors for a memorable comeback win.

It was good old consolidation by India, 0-2 down in the series and under huge pressure going into the match. Kohli declared the second innings closed at 352/7 late in the evening after the visitors had extended their domination.

More than the 520-run target, England were left with an improbable task of trying to avoid defeat with two days left against India’s pacers with their tails up.

The hosts were 23 for none from the nine overs they faced before stumps. However, Jonny Bairstow is unlikely to bat after fracturing the middle finger of his left hand while keeping to James Anderson in the morning.

The India skipper missed out in the first innings, out on 97. He was lucky on 93 when Jimmy Anderson, soon after tea, drew the edge, not for the first time in the series.

But England’s pathetic slip catching resurfaced and Keaton Jennings, at wide third slip, let the ball slip through him for four. It took chances missed by England in the series to 15.

ALSO READ: Unstoppable Virat Kohli breaks record held by Mohammad Azharuddin

Kohli led from the front, raising a 113-run third wicket stand with Cheteshwar Pujara (72 - 208b, 9x4). India were 124/2 overnight, well ahead, and the pair scored just 23 runs in the first 14 overs to deny any chance for the England bowlers in overcast conditions.

It also ensured more wear and tear on the pitch if off-spinner R Ashwin’s services were needed. The spinner though had a groin niggle on Sunday.

KOHLI CLASS

Much like his century partnership with Ajinkya Rahane in the first innings that put India on top, Kohli raised 113 runs with Cheteshwar Pujara, who hit his 18th Test half-century. It was a vital knock for the India No 3.

Pujara, frustrated by not getting a big score in South Africa or in first-class matches for Yorkshire earlier in the summer, underlined the value of his patient approach in seaming conditions.

He was lucky though on 40 when Jos Buttler at second slip (he took up the keeping gloves after Bairstow’s injury) dropped an edge off Anderson low to his left.

Pujara completed his 18th Test half-century before lunch, and was looking to play more positively when extra bounce from Ben Stokes took the shoulder of his bat and was caught at first slip.

Kohli’s priority was consolidation though he played a patent cover drive off Stuart Broad and hit a stunning drive off Anderson through midwicket.

The 36-year-old swing bowler though was furious after the let-off by Jennings which extended his wait to dismiss Kohli this series.

Kohli steered Chris Woakes to third man for four to get to his century, blowing a kiss to his wife Anushka Sharma in the stands, and acknowledging a standing ovation from the fans. Woakes trapped him soon after with a review proving unsuccessful.

Hardik Pandya hit a run-a-ball 52 not out before India declared.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 23:32 IST