CHENNAI: Opener Lokesh Rahul hit a career-best 199 to power India’s strong reply as England bowlers struggled on day three of the fifth and final Test in Chennai on Sunday.
India were 391 for four at stumps with Karun Nair (71) and Murali Vijay (17) at the crease. The hosts still trail by 86 runs in response to England’s 477.
Rahul shared a 161-run fourth-wicket partnership with Nair before missing out on what could have been his maiden double century.
“Hopefully by the end of tomorrow or the fifth day the wicket might break, there are footmarks there,” Rahul, who looked visibly upset after missing out on 200, told reporters on Sunday. “We did see that Liam Dawson and Moeen Ali were trying to bowl in the rough. Few balls did turn and bounce so it’s important for us to get back tomorrow and get some runs,” he said.
Rahul, who recorded his fourth Test century, was the ninth batsman in the world to get out on 199 after falling to leg-spinner Adil Rashid in the final moments of the day.
The 24-year-old batsman chased Rashid’s widish delivery on the off-side to give away a catch to point as he crumpled into a heap with hands on head.
“I’ve never been somebody who has chased landmarks but getting a 200 will always be a proud moment for a batsman and I’m gutted that I missed out,” he said.
Earlier Rahul had surpassed his previous best of 158 as he entertained a raucous Sunday crowd with a couple of reverse sweeps.
He struck 16 fours and three sixes during his marathon knock, prompting England skipper Alastair Cook to rotate his bowling options.
The tourists took the second new ball in the 85th over of the innings but Rahul and Nair made sure that India continued to mount the runs.
Nair recorded his maiden Test fifty in just his third match to play the perfect sheet anchor role as Rahul piloted the Indian innings till his departure.
England pacemen worked hard on a batting-friendly M.A. Chidambaram pitch to claim two crucial wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara (16) and skipper Virat Kohli (15) in the afternoon session.
It was the first time in the series that Kohli, who leads the batting chart with 655 runs, had been out for less than 40. He chipped a drive to extra cover off Stuart Broad.
Overnight batsmen Parthiv Patel and Rahul made England’s bowlers toil earlier in the day with a 152-run opening stand, before Moeen Ali’s off-spin prised out Patel — the only wicket of the morning session.
It was India’s first century opening partnership in 32 innings even though wicket-keeper Patel was filling in for regular opener Vijay, who got treated for a bruised shoulder before coming into bat.
Patel (71) was undone when he played against the spin of a flighted and sharply turning delivery from Ali to spoon a simple catch to Jos Buttler at cover.
“I think we tried a lot but sometimes you got to hold your hands up and say the partnership that they had throughout the day… they played really well,” said Stokes who got the wicket of Pujara. So yes that’s probably our aim tomorrow to try and restrict them and not try and let them get too far ahead…
We want to walk away with a win and go away with our heads held high.”
India hold an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series.
ENGLAND (1st Innings) 477 (Moeen Ali 146, J.E. Root 88, L.A. Dawson 66 not out, Adil Rashid 60, J.M. Bairstow 49; R.A. Jadeja 3-106).
INDIA (1st Innings, overnight 60-0):
K.L. Rahul c Buttler b Rashid 199 P.A. Patel c Buttler b Moeen 71 C.A. Pujara c Cook b Stokes 16 V. Kohli c Jennings b Broad 15 K.K. Nair not out 71 M. Vijay not out 17
EXTRAS (LB-2) 2
TOTAL (for four wkts, 108 overs) 391
FALL OF WKTS: 1-152, 2-181, 3-211, 4-372.
TO BAT: R. Ashwin, R.A. Jadeja, A. Mishra, I. Sharma, U.T. Yadav.
BOWLING (to-date): Broad 18-4-46-1; Ball 15-1-50-0; Moeen Ali 24-1-96-1; Stokes 9-1-37-1; Adil Rashid 17-0-76-1; Dawson 23-3-72-0; Root 2-0-12-0.
Courtesy : Dawn News