Tea England 452 for 8 (Dawson 55*, Broad 17*, Jadeja 3-101) v India
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Trott: Moeen must let the field dictate how he deals with short balls
A century stand for the eighth wicket between Adil Rashid and the debutant Liam Dawson set England’s innings back in order after a shaky second morning and lifted their total past 450. They came together at 321 for 7, after their side had lost three wickets for 37 runs at the start of play, and scored half-centuries that reiterated the depth of England’s batting. Umesh Yadav dismissed Rashid for 60 six overs before tea, but India were still to get past Dawson, who was batting on 55 at the break with Stuart Broad with him on 17.
The eighth-wicket pair had begun cautiously before lunch, scoring 31 in 15.2 overs. Dawson had been the dominant partner, shrugging off a nasty welcome to Test cricket – an Ishant Sharma bouncer that followed him as he tried to sway and clattered the badge of his helmet – and moving to 27 with three fours: a flick off Umesh, a square-cut off R Ashwin, and a cover drive, against the turn, off an Amit Mishra googly. Rashid, in that time, had made 8 off 55 balls.
The roles were reversed somewhat after lunch, as Rashid unshackled his wrists, stepping out to Mishra to whip him through the leg side – on one occasion over the infield to bring up England’s 400 – and driving Ravindra Jadeja for two inside-out boundaries in one over: the first through the covers, the second past point’s right hand. He overtook Dawson, reaching his half-century first, before top-edging an attempted slice off Umesh to the keeper.
India’s bowlers were impressive at the start of play, with a ball that was only 4.4 overs old. Ashwin struck in the first over of the day, drawing Ben Stokes forward and getting him to reach out at a dipping and sharply spinning offbreak to get him caught behind. Then Ishant Sharma, defying the age of the ball, began getting it to reverse, producing a series of awkward induckers against Jos Buttler, two of which led to loud lbw shouts. The first one was turned down – and India reviewed unwisely, the ball clearly striking pad outside off stump – and the second, off a full, straight ball, was so plumb, Buttler’s head falling over as he missed a flick, that the batsman barely thought of reviewing.
Moeen Ali now held the key to England’s hopes of a big total, but he wasn’t looking like a man batting on 120 overnight. This had a lot to do with India’s method of attack against him. They hadn’t tested him with the short ball on day one, puzzlingly, but now they did. He played two uppish pulls against Ishant that dropped short of fielders in the deep, and an attempt to flick the ball against Umesh Yadav resulted in a blow to the chest.
Umesh’s next ball was another bouncer, which struck Moeen on the armpit as he looked to ride the bounce and keep it down. Perhaps the lack of success with two attempts at defence caused Moeen to change his mind and revert to the pull. Umesh bounced him once more, and this time the ball carried nicely to Ravindra Jadeja, who was a few yards in from the backward square leg boundary, placed with the miscontrolled hook in mind.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo