Southampton, July 28 IANS | 5 months ago

Aggressive batting by Ian Bell (167) and debutant Jos Buttler (85) helped England reach an imposing first innings score of 569 for seven declared and in response, India were 25 for one at stumps on day two of the third Test at The Rose Bowl here Monday, trailing by 544 runs.

After the heroics from the English batsmen, the pacers came to the fore. India received a jolt almost immediately as Shikhar Dhawan (6) was sent packing with just 17 on the board.

James Anderson, England's highest wicket-taker, squared Dhawan, who edged the ball straight to Alastair Cook at slips. Murali Vijay (11 batting) and Cheteshwar Pujara (4 batting) were the unbeaten Indian batsmen at the end of day.

Buttler and Bell added 106 runs for the sixth wicket off just 136 runs in the final session. Buttler then combined brilliantly with Chris Woakes to smash 43 runs off just 31 balls for the seventh wicket as the English batsmen ran amok.

Indian bowlers had no answer to Buttler's power hitting and looked completely short of ideas. The two wickets that fell after tea for the hosts - Bell and Buttler - were both thanks to the duo trying to go for quick runs.

Bell became Bhuvneshwar Kumar's third victim, holed out at mid-on while Buttler was castled by Ravindra Jadeja.

Earlier, England continued to dominate the proceedings as a 142-run partnership between Gary Ballance (156) and Bell took the hosts to 358/3 at lunch.

England, who resumed the day on 247/2, scored 111 runs in 29 overs, losing just one wicket in the morning session.

Rohit Sharma was the sole wicket-taker for India, albeit a bit fortuitously. Ballance was adjudged caught behind but the deflection was off the thigh pad and not the bat, bringing to an end a fine innings from the Englishman.

Bell too was very fluent, stroking 10 fours and a six on his way to his 42nd career fifty.

The Indian seamers struggled for their consistency and sprayed the ball all around the stumps. The ineffective bowling helped Bell and Ballance record the third successive fifty-plus stand in the innings.

Bell continued the good work and his century took England to 452/5 at tea.

There was some respite for Indian bowlers, who removed Joe Root (3) and Moeen Ali (12) cheaply but failed to make further inroads as Bell and Buttler.

Bell was much more aggressive in the session and took on the Indian spinners. The 32-year-old notched his 21st Test century with a six and ended up smashing Jadeja for 21 runs in that over.

Bhuvneshwar was the pick of the bowlers, taking both the wickets to fall in the session. The pacer almost had another in the bag but Buttler's edge just bounced in front of Ajinkya Rahane in the slips.

(Posted on 29-07-2014)

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