India lose openers in steep climb

India lose openers in steep climb
Having lost their openers early, India once again have their backs to the ball as the visitors took lunch on 9 for 2 after Joe Root's unbeaten ton helped England post 486 on the third day of the fifth and final Test at the Oval here today.

Getting behind a 338-run lead, India lost Murali Vijay for 2 after pace spearhead James Anderson (1-1) trapped him LBW in the fifth over of the innings.

A struggling Gautam Gambhir threw away his wicket after the left-hander fell short of his ground at the non-strikers end when a direct throw from Chris Woakes sent him back for 3.
Heavens soon opened up as the umpires called for early lunch with Cheteshwar Pujara unbeaten on nought as India trail by 329 runs.

Earlier starting on their overnight score of 385 for seven, the hosts managed 486 in 116.3 overs, courtesy Root's unbeaten 149 as Indian bowlers once again struggled for line and length on a cloudy morning.

Ishant Sharma picked up the wickets of Chris Jordan (20) and Stuart Broad (37) to end up with figures of 4-96. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (3-72) wrapped up England's innings after trapping Anderson LBW for 1.

With an extra wire on his helmet grill to protect his injured nose, Broad played a crucial cameo as he was consistently treated with bouncers by the Indian pacers.

The eight-wicket 82-run partnership between Jordan and Root and the 63-run ninth wicket stand between Broad and Root were the highlights of the morning session before the fall of the two Indian wickets.

India, who were shot out for 148 in 61.1 overs in the first innings, have still not learnt their lessons and will certainly have to pull a rabbit out of the hat or pray for the weather Gods to help them save this game.

In the first hour, India bowled only 11 overs but conceded a massive 98 runs. Root and Broad added 63 runs for the ninth wicket off just 6.4 overs with a scoring rate of 9.45 runs per over.

Broad was finally caught at gully off a short ball from Ishant, after scoring a quick-fire 37 runs off 21 balls, with 5 fours and 1 six.

Ashwin then brought an end to the innings dismissing Anderson (1) cheaply. But the Indian batsmen face a mammoth task in front of them to even make England bat again, let alone save this match and salvage the series.

On the opening day, Dhoni had waged a lone battle with 82 runs as Jordan (3-32) and Woakes (3-30) shared six wickets.

England were in control from the very start with Alastair Cook (79) and Gary Ballance (64) scoring fifties to shepherd the English innings and later Root led them through safely to stumps on the second day after a mini-collapse.

England already enjoy an unassailable 2-1 lead in the five-match series after humbling India by an innings and 54 runs at Old Trafford. Even if India are able to draw the game, the hosts will retain the Pataudi trophy, which they won after a 4-0 series win in 2011.

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