Off-colour Ashwin and other talking points as England take control of fourthTest

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A day to forget for Ashwin.

India struck with the final delivery of day three in the fourth Test at Southampton but it was England who came out with the psychological advantage after another see-saw battle at the Ageas Bowl.

The hosts ultimately ended the day on 260-8 in their second innings with Sam Curran unbeaten on 37 and once again proving to be a thorn in India’s side. Joe Root‘s men now have an overall second innings lead of 233 runs heading into day four.

Here, we take a look at the key talking points from day three at Southampton.

JENNINGS AND ROOT LEAD ENGLAND FIGHTBACK

Resuming the day at 6-0, England lost opener Alastair Cook early in the day before the first-innings deficit of 27 runs had been overturned. Soon, they lost a second wicket in the form of Moeen Ali after the all-rounder was promoted to one down in the batting order. At 33-2 with an overall lead of just seven runs, the prospect of England crumbling was high with India’s pacers extracting some prodigious movement from the pitch.

Keaton Jennings though, got stuck into the Indian bowling attack in the company of skipper Joe Root as the two batsmen looked to repair the early damage. Jennings, who had been in woeful form coming into the match, resisted his urge to fish around the off stump in a dogged innings which could very well prove crucial to the final outcome of the Test.

At the other end, Root looked to be largely in control as he kept the runs ticking at a steady rate. The two Englishmen not only succeeded in preventing an England collapse, they also set up the platform perfectly for the hosts to seize the initiative later.

Jennings finally showed some fight.

Jennings finally showed some fight.

MOHAMMED SHAMI COMES ALIVE EITHER SIDE OF LUNCH

Jennings and Root had dug in after the loss of the two early wickets and England looked set to go into the lunch interval without any further damage.

However, disaster struck for Jennings and the hosts in the final over before lunch as Mohammed Shami finally found his radar. The Indian pacer trapped Jennings on the pads after he got a fuller delivery to swing into the left-hander sharply. The England opener opted to review the leg-before decision but it proved futile as India found the perfect riposte before lunch.

Jonny Bairstow arrived at the crease for England immediately after lunch but he was soon making the long walk back to the pavilion after just one delivery. Shami got a delivery to tail in sharply and beat the Englishman’s defence, shattering his stumps. That sensational delivery was not the only impact Shami would have post lunch with the pacer then running out Root with a direct hit to leave the England skipper two runs short of a half-century. The third dismissal effected by Shami in a span of a few deliveries had dragged India back into the game after Jennings and Root’s 59-run partnership.

Shami pulled India back into the game around the lunch mark.

Shami pulled India back into the game around the lunch mark.

BUTTLER AND STOKES SEIZE INITIATIVE FOR ENGLAND

After Shami’s exertions, the game was finely balanced on a knife’s edge with no side having the clear initiative. It is at this point that Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler swung the pendulum well and truly in England’s favour. The former more than made up for his wrongly judged single which cost Root his wicket by putting together another gritty innings where he once again curbed in his natural instincts.

On the other hand, Buttler continued to play his free-flowing game when the bowlers erred in their line as a potential game-changing sixth-wicket stand began to develop for England.

The two batsman had their fair share of fortune with edges falling just short of the fielders but they continued to soldier on with a 56-run stand before Stokes fell to Ravi Ashwin.

Buttler marched on towards his ninth Test half-century as England’s overall lead crossed the 200-run mark. Their innings, along with another fine showing by young Sam Curran, had put the hosts completely on top by the end of day three with India left staring at a mammoth ask on day four.

Jos Buttler's innings put England in complete control.

Jos Buttler’s innings put England in complete control.

OFF-COLOUR RAVI ASHWIN

Day three at Southampton could very well prove to be a decisive one in the Test series with India letting go of the advantage they held from the first innings. They first allowed England to rebuild from 33-2 and then allowed Stokes and Buttler to take the game away from them in the latter half of the day.

India’s frustrating time on the field was highlighted by Ashwin’s ineffectiveness. With Moeen Ali running riot with the older ball in the first innings, India would have expected their sole spinner to take his toll on England’s batting card in the second innings. But, the 31-year-old did not look his usual self as the wickets evaded him all day. Having just recovered from a hip injury, the Indian spinner was unable to stamp his authority with his only wicket of the day coming late in his 27th over.

His failure to make the most of the help on offer for the spinners allowed England to take complete command and it would have left Virat Kohli ruing the fact that he did not line up with two spinners at the Ageas Bowl. Ashwin ultimately ended with figures of 1-78 from 35 overs by the end of day three.

A frustrating day in the field for Ashwin.

A frustrating day in the field for Ashwin.

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England v India fourth Test LIVE: Mohammed Shami strikes late but England on top

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Sam Curran continued to frustrate India with the bat.

England captain Joe Root and opener Keaton Jennings guided the hosts to 92 before the opener fell lbw at the stroke of lunch.

England went into the break 92-3 with a lead of 65 in the Southampton Test against India. The visitors struck in the very first delivery after lunch with Mohammed Shami shattering the stumps of Jonny Bairstow. Root was on course for a hard-fought fifty before he was run-out by a direct hit by Shami to depart for 48. England were placed at 122-5 at the time of Root’s dismissal.

By the time tea was taken on day three, Ben Stokes (20) and Jos Buttler had guided England to 152-5 with an overall lead of 125. The English pair were going strong post tea and had taken the lead to beyond 150 before Ravi Ashwin claimed his first wicket of the innings by removing Stokes. Buttler though, has continued to go from strength to strength and has brought up a fine half-century. He was finally removed by Ishant Sharma for 69 after India had taken the second new ball. Shami struck with the final delivery of the day but England had advanced to 260-8 and had taken a 233-run overall lead by then.

The fourth Test between England and India is on a knife’s edge.

It’s up to England’s batsmen to put their foot down and accumulate runs quickly to put the pressure on India as it’s No1 team that has to do all the running.

Catch all the live update below.

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Live Cricket Blog: Jos Buttler, Sam Curran put England on top in Southampton

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9:35pm – Jos Buttler, Sam Curran put England on top in Southampton

Day three in the fourth Test between England and India at Southampton has drawn to a close and it is the hosts who have come out with the upper hand. With the match very much in the balance in the opening two days, it is England who are now on top after they reached 260-8 in the second innings before stumps were drawn.

The hosts now have an overall second innings lead of 233 runs with two wickets in hand. Read more on the day’s play here. To read the talking points of the day’s play, click here.

Buttler was dismissed after a 69-run knock.

Buttler was dismissed after a 69-run knock.

8:30pm – Mohammad Abbas continues to impress in county cricket

Pakistan seam bowler Mohammad Abbas has been in brilliant form in red ball cricket this season and he continued his super run in English conditions as he finished among the wickets yet again.

Abbas picked up five wickets (5-30) in the first innings against Gloucestershire but couldn’t save his team from sinking to a massive 328-run defeat.

Read more on Abbas’ excellent display here.

Another fine outing for the Pakistan seamer.

Another fine outing for the Pakistan seamer.

8:00pm – Kamran Akmal frustrated by continued omission from Pakistan squad

Pakistan wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal expressed anguish at his continued omission from the team despite an excellent season.

The 36-year-old stated the team is being selected by captain Sarfraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur and it is because of their preferences that he is not getting an opportunity.

Read Akmal’s quotes in full regarding his omission here.

Not holding back on his words: Kamran Akmal.

Not holding back on his words: Kamran Akmal.

7:00pm – Adam Gilchrist lauds Virat Kohli’s remarks on Test cricket

Former Australia wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist has lauded India skipper Virat Kohli for his stance on Test cricket.

In a recent interview with the Wisden Cricket Monthly, Kohli had described Test cricket as the ‘most beautiful’ format.

Read what Gilchrist had to say about Kohli here.

Kohli had described Test cricket as the 'most beautiful' format.

Kohli had described Test cricket as the ‘most beautiful’ format.

6:00 pm – Pakistan to train in Lahore

The 18-man Pakistan squad for the upcoming Asia Cup will take part in a week-long training camp in Lahore before flying out to the UAE for the tournament.

The national selection committee headed by former skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq announced the squad on Thursday after consultations with head coach Mickey Arthur and captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

For more, click here.

5:45 pm – Malinga returns to Sri Lankan team

CRICKET-SRI-IND

Veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga returned to the national team after a gap of one year.

Sri Lankan selectors picked him in the 16-member squad for the upcoming Asia Cup tournament in the UAE.

For more, click here.

2:45 pm – India pick up two early scalps

India’s opening bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma dismissed England opener Alastair Cook and one-down batsman Moeen Ali in the Southampton Test on Saturday.

England were 38-2 after 19 overs with Ishant warned twice by the umpires for running on to the danger area.

Catch all the live updates here.

1:30 pm – Kohli rested for Asia Cup

England v India - 3rd ODI: Royal London One-Day Series

India captain Virat Kohli was excluded from the squad for the Asia Cup which begins in the UAE on September 15.

Rohit Sharma will lead an otherwise full-strength Indian team. Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar also returns to the side, which means he has regained his fitness.

For more, click here.

11:30 pm – Support for Malinga

Sri Lankan pace ace Lasith Malinga has not played for his country for a year now but following his fine effort in recent months, there is a growing call for his return to the national team.

A petition has been started, addressed to the country’s premier politicians, to ensure Malinga’s return to the national team.

Read the full story here.

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