2nd Test: England take slender 27-run lead as Root scores unbeaten 180 (lead)

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London, Aug 15 (IANS) Captain Joe Root scored a fighting 180 not out — his 22nd century and 11th score of 150-plus — to help England make 391 in their first innings and gain a 27-run lead against India on the third day of the second Test at Lord’s on Saturday.

England, who were bowled out on the last ball of the day, batted for 128 overs to defy the Indian bowlers who at times looked clueless and bowled plenty of no-balls.

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Mohammed Siraj was the pick of the Indian bowlers, taking four wickets for 94 runs while Ishant Sharma chipped in with 3/69, including two off successive deliveries. Mohammed Shami, who took the last wicket, finished with two for 95.

England started strongly from the overnight 119/3 and did not lose a single wicket in the first session as both Root and Jonny Bairstow (57) brought up their century partnership while adding 97 in the first session.

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Bairstow, who came in at No. 5, was aggressive on resumption of play on the third morning, hammering Siraj and Shami for five fours in the first six overs.

That forced a change from skipper Kohli, who brought in Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja. Although tight, both couldn’t get India a breakthrough. England had added 54 in the first hour which allowed them a headstart.

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Just before lunch, Jonny Bairstow reached his half-century, his first in two years and after 19 innings. The Indian bowlers struggled to extract movement from a flat deck something that James Anderson had masterfully managed on the second day.

However, the England hard-hitter soon fell prey to India’s plan of attacking with short deliveries, falling to Siraj as he mistimed a pull and ballooned a catch to slip.

While Root and Bairstow had added 121 for the fourth wicket, Jos Buttler and Root added 54 for the fifth wicket before Buttler was beaten by Ishant Sharma through his defence.

Moeen Ali, batting at No. 7, played some shots and took England to tea with five wickets down. Ali added 58 for the sixth wicket with Root before Ishant Sharma took two wickets off two successive deliveries to leave England tottering at 341/7 after tea.

However Root, who at 30 years 227 days became the second youngest batsman to get to 9,000 Test runs after Alastair Cook, added 50 runs with the last three wickets, including 20 with James Anderson (0) to take England to their eventual total. This was Root’s second hundred in this series, after the century in the second innings of the fist Test at Trent Bridge.

Brief scores: India 364 in 126.1 overs vs England 391 all out in 128 overs (Joe Root 180 not out, Jonny Bairstow 57, Rory Burns 49, Mohammad Siraj 4/94, Ishant Sharma 3/69, Mohammed Shami 2/95).

–IANS

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