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India finally took firm control of the third Test against England here on Monday, thanks to another splendid rescue act from their lower-order and Ravichandran Ashwin’s fine late-evening spell.

Ravindra Jadeja struck a career-best 90 (241m, 170b, 10x4, 1x6), newbie Jayant Yadav scored a superb 55 (165m, 141b, 5x4) and Ashwin hit 72 (173m, 113b, 11x4) as India’s last four wickets amassed 213 runs to help post 417 all out at the I S Bindra Stadium. Ashwin, the No 1 bowler in the world in Tests, then grabbed 3/19 to reduce England to 78/4 at stumps on the third day as India still stayed 56 runs ahead.

Starting the day at 271/6 and the match finely in balance, India relied on Ashwin and Jadeja for a substantial lead. Ashwin, scorer of four centuries, and Jadeja did just that with the former playing some delightful shots and the latter showing good maturity to not throw away his wicket.

England skipper Alastair Cook, looking shorn of ideas, spread the field around hoping either of the two would perish while trying something overambitious. Neither did though and mixing caution with aggression, they motored along smoothly to leave Cook scratching his head in desperation.England, however, got a welcome breather when Ashwin fell while trying to drive a wide Ben Stokes delivery to end a fruitful 97-run partnership for the seventh wicket. The visitors would have hoped to clean up the tail quickly but Jayant then forged a crucial 80-run stand with Jadeja.

Jayant, playing in just his second Test match, batted with plenty of calmness while Jadeja played the innings of his Test career so far. Holder of



three triple-centuries in Ranji Trophy but just two fifties at the Test level in 22 previous appearances, Jadeja batted with rare maturity.

Right after tea, England, with hardly anything going their way, resorted to defensive tactics. Bowling a wide of off-stump line with two men at short cover in a 7-2 off-side field, they teased Jadeja into the trap. The Saurashtra cricketer swallowed his ego for about seven overs before deciding enough was enough as he launched into Chris Woakes. He hammered four boundaries, three in a row, to break the shackles, rattling Cook and Co.

A century looked in sight as Jadeja raced to 90 in a flash but departed when he failed to the clear the long-on boundary while attempting to take on leg-spinner Adil Rashid. The damage though had been done and when England resumed batting after tea, they faced an improbable task on a pitch that seemed to behave differently when the Indian spinners were bowling.

Skipper Virat Kohli introduced Ashwin as early as in the fourth over and the off-spinner looked threatening from the outset. Deceiving both Alastair Cook and makeshift opener Joe Root — regular opener Haseeb Hameed injured his hand while batting in the first innings and didn't take the field at all — in the air and flight, Ashwin had the English skipper in all sorts of trouble.

Cook, who survived two reviews in a tense phase of play, returned to the pavilion after being castled by a peach from Ashwin. Playing for the turn, England’s all-time leading run-scorer completely missed the line and the ball just gatecrashed through his defences onto the stumps.


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