India extend lead to 160 on third morning in Ahmedabad

Rory Dollard, PA Cricket Correspondent
·2-min read

Washington Sundar was stranded on 96 not out as India established a hefty 160-run lead in the first innings of the fourth Test in Ahmedabad.

The hosts added 69 runs in the first 90 minutes on day three, extending their advantage in ruthless fashion, before losing all three of their remaining wickets in the space of five balls to finish 365 all out.

Sundar was seemingly on course for a well-deserved maiden century but saw Axar Patel run out for 43 after sending him back at the non-striker’s end and did not regain the strike before Ben Stokes made short work of tailenders Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj.

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The swift conclusion left England’s openers with three awkward overs to face before the break, but there were no scares as Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley shaved six off the deficit.

India resumed their innings in buoyant spirits, riding high after Rishabh Pant’s game-changing 101 on the second evening.

England’s weary attack would have been hoping to bring a quick end to the innings but soon found themselves in a familiar conundrum. While James Anderson was able to hold down one end for five overs at a cost of just four runs, Joe Root’s decision to throw his support behind the struggling Dom Bess did not come off.

His two overs leaked 15 runs, including two boundaries and a six from Sundar. Root’s attempts at bolstering the off-spinner’s confidence had taken a swift turn for the worse and he was promptly removed with his self-belief suffering again.

Sundar and Patel had no intention of making life easy for England, scoring 50 in the first hour and batting with the kind of freedom only a healthy scoreboard can provide.

Jack Leach was tighter than Bess but worryingly docile, generating no real chances as the game drifted ever further away.

After more than 100 overs of work in sweltering 38-degree heat, England were understandably flagging, with Root filling in for Bess with the ball and Stokes flogging his body for the cause.

It took a run out to end the eighth-wicket stand at 106, Patel setting off ambitiously before Jonny Bairstow and Root combined to raise the bails at the bowler’s end. By then, Sundar had moved within a boundary of a special landmark but he did not face another ball.

Gratefully accepting the opportunity to cash in on his hard work, Stokes had Ishant lbw first ball with a big in-swinger then rushed one through Siraj to finish with hard-earned figures of four for 89.