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Root and bowlers apply late fix

By Matt Somerford

A plucky last-wicket stand between Joe Root and James Anderson ensured England narrowly completed their primary task of batting through the third day of the first Investec Test against India at Trent Bridge.

After a forgettable afternoon session, when England lost six wickets following a superb Ishant Sharma spell, the 10th-wicket pair pieced together a rescuing partnership of 54 to reach the close at 352 for nine.

After having the majority of the first two days in the field – as India churned out 457 in 161 overs – England’s bowlers had hoped to spend the day with their feet up.

Instead they were required to team with Root, who ended the day unbeaten on 78, after the afternoon collapse had threatened to see England fail even to reach the follow-on target.

It left the hosts in real danger of losing any grip on the game, at 202 for seven, but Root and Stuart Broad first counter-punched in a breezy 78-run eighth-wicket stand, from 85 balls.

After England lost six wickets in the afternoon session, Joe Root combines with the bowlers to ensure England batted through the day

Broad fell three runs short of a half-century when he was pinned lbw by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who took 4-61, but Root plugged away – despite not being at his most fluent – to become the third England batsman to reach 50.

While Liam Plunkett could only add seven, before he was bowled by Bhuvneshwar, Anderson gritted his teeth with an unbeaten 23 that not only saw England to the close, but ensured he was not required to bowl today following the heavy workload of the opening two days on an unresponsive pitch.

Sam Robson and Gary Ballance had looked like they were ready to fully profit in the conditions, when they batted through the morning session to reach half-centuries.

The pair shared in a 125-run alliance before they fell victim to Ishant’s menacing spell immediately after lunch, when he extracted pace and bounce unlike at any other stage during the game so far.

Ishant Sharma produced a spell from nothing, taking 7-1-29-3 after lunch, to leave England needing a late rescue act to bat through the day

Robson failed to add to his lunchtime 59 when he was pinned in front and when Ballance then drifted too far across his crease and missed a shot to leg he had to depart too for 71.

Ian Bell was then drawn into a false stroke, offering Mahendra Singh Dhoni a straight-forward catch, before a second mini-collapse saw England lose three for five inside 10 balls at the end of the session.

Moeen Ali completely misjudged a Mohammed Shami bouncer before Bhuvneshwar struck twice in the same over, with Matt Prior and Ben Stokes edging to Dhoni.

Root, however, kept his cool and with Broad freeing his arms, crashing 47 from 42 balls, the revival began in earnest.

It still needed last-man Anderson to dig in and, after India's record 10th-wicket stand of 111 between Bhuvneshwar and Shami yesterday, England will resume tomorrow feeling they could yet eat further into India's still sizeable 105-run lead.

Match Scorecard / Live ball-by-ball commentary

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Evening Session

6.30pm STUMPS! Eng 352/9; Root 78 Anderson 23 - England get through the day, just. It needed a 54-run last-wicket stand between Root and Anderson to do it. In the end we had 309 runs scored today, but those six wickets in the afternoon session stand out.

6.22pm - The 50-run partnership for the 10th-wicket arrives with a leg bye. England trail by 109 runs. This is a super stuff.

6.13pm - Root swats Ishant away through the leg side for a boundary. There are five overs left in the day - certainly Anderson will not want to get out now and have a bowl. Their stand is worth 41. Those pesky last-wicket stands.

5.57pm - That's it. Anderson has confirmed himself for shot of the day. Another reverse-sweep and this one races away to the rope. The Trent Bridge crowd, after a long day of merriment, are enjoying this.

5.38pm - Anderson is enjoying himself. He gets on the back foot and punches Bhuvneshwar for a boundary. He is quickly racking up candidates for shot of the day.

5.34pm - James Anderson reverse-sweeps Ravindra Jadeja to the rope to get off the mark. Of course. That boundary brings up 100 runs in the session, from 20 overs.

5.27pm - WICKET! Plunkett b Bhuvneshwar 7; Eng 298/9 - Plunkett aims a wafty drive at Bhuvneshwar. The ball tailed back in and took the top of the off stump.

5.26pm - FIFTY! Root (102b 6x4 0x6) - Root plays Bhuvneshwar away to the deep fielder on the point rope to collect the single he required for a half-century that was highlighted by graft before fluency. Still it has been a much-needed innings.

5.12pm - It has not been the prettiest innings from Root today, but he has stuck at it. His reward of a half-century is drawing closer - he's six runs away - and with Liam Plunkett they are looking like they could add some valuable late runs.

4.56pm - WICKET! Broad lbw Bhuvneshwar 47; Eng 280/8 - Broad's fun is over. Bhuvneshwar pins him in front after hitting 47 from 42 balls. That also ends a stand of 78 from 85 balls.

4.53pm - It really is all happening now. Broad thumps another couple of boundaries and then almost runs himself out. Root wanted nothing of the quick single Broad called for - and rightly so - but Virat Kohli's throw to the striker's end was too wide.

4.47pm - Broad thumps Bhuvneshwar for a couple of boundaries after the new ball is taken. He's freeing his arms and enjoying himself and Root wants to join in the fun - he cover drives supremely for four. There was 14 runs taken from that over.

4.38pm - Root brings up the 50-run stand for the eighth wicket and it comes in good time - 63 balls. This is just what England required. The follow-on target is also now just five runs away.

4.34pm - Ishant has been swung back to the Pavilion End where he enjoyed that three-wicket spell after lunch. Broad welcomes him by flicking a four through square-leg before edging through a vacant gully region for another boundary. Root finishes an expensive over with a third boundary to midwicket. The new ball is due.

4.23pm - Broad is looking to counter-punch out of trouble. He plays-and-misses at three cracking deliveries from Shami, but when the India right-armer drops short later in the over, he gets on the back foot and carves him away for four.

4.05pm - Stuart Broad pulls the first ball of the session for four before Joe Root clips Mohammed Shami away to the square-leg rope. Ishant Sharma is readying himself, though, to go from the Radcliffe Road End.

Afternoon Session

4.42pm - TEA! - Eng 205/7; Root 13 Broad 1 - A bad session for England. Six wickets were lost with 74 runs added. Ishant did the damage initially in a terrific spell which earned him three wickets before Bhuvneshwar struck twice in the same over.

3.38pm - With England on the ropes, Dhoni has thrown the ball back to Ishant. He immediately digs in a short ball that Stuart Broad awkwardly fends up in the air. Broad must have been holding his breath before watching the ball drop short of two fielders racing in from second slip and gully.

3.29pm - WICKET! -Stokes c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar 0; Eng 202/7 - Stokes is gone from his second ball. There's no mistake about this dismissal as the all-rounder pushes forward and gets a healthy edge for Dhoni to grip onto gleefully. Big trouble.

3.27pm - WICKET! Prior c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar 5; Eng 202/6 - India go up as one for a caught behind and umpire Kumar Dharmasena agrees. Matt Prior gave a look as though he did not hit it and the replays appear to vindicate his reaction. There's no DRS though, so he's out.

3.20pm - WICKET! Moeen c Dhawan b Shami 14; Eng 197/5 - England are in real strife now. Moeen completely misjudges a bouncer that does not get up anywhere near as high as he suspected. His eyes were off the ball when it hit the back of his bat and popped up for Dhawan at first slip.

3.15pm - Moeen has just provided the leading candidate for shot of the day so far. He leant forward and thumped Shami through the overs. There was a cover fielder in play, but by the time he realised he was required the ball had raced beyond him.

3.11pm - Not the most convincing of overs from Root. He edges Bhuvneshwar, but the ball falls some way short of Shikhar Dhawan at first slip, before shovelling down on another ungainly shot that also drops short of the cordon. That prompts Dhoni to stand up to the stumps.

 2.58pm - England will be relieved that Ishant's spell is done at 7-1-29-3. Mohammed Shami finds Joe Root's edge in his first over as his replacement, but the ball flies through the slip cordon - which has two catchers and a gully - for the Yorkshireman's first boundary.

2.50pm - Moeen Ali gets off the mark with a straight drive for four off Ishant. England are 180 for four.

2.38pm - WICKET! Bell c Dhoni b Ishant 25; Eng 172/4 - I feel like I've stitched up Bell. He's flirted with a short and wide ball from Ishant. It's un-Bell like. He realised his error too late and tried to pull the bat away, but conspired only to run the ball to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Ishant has now taken three wickets in 35 balls.

2.35pm - Bell nurses away Ishant to the square-leg boundary in the style that he does. Effortlessly simple. After taking Bhuvneshwar for three fours in the previous over, he is moving along beautifully.

2.23pm - Buvneshwar Kumar has been brought back on after Jadeja's spell, which spanned the lunch interval and read 12-3-19-0. He didn't claim a wicket, but such economy from the spinner has allowed the likes of Ishant to go full throttle in a spell like he is enjoying now.

It is also worth noting that he is finding some reverse-swing with this changed ball.

2.14pm - WICKET! Ballance lbw Ishant 71; Eng 154/3 - Ishant strikes again as Ballance falls across his crease and misses the ball as he tried to work to leg. It looked a good decision by umpire Bruce Oxenford. England have two new batsmen at the crease now and need to start again.

2.12pm - Bell rocks back onto the back foot and drives Ravindra Jadeja away through cover-point for four. It has been a fluent start for the Warwickshire man and England have reached 150.

2.07pm - After Ian Bell got off the mark with a perfectly-timed boundary, Gary Ballance is less convincing when he gets a thick edge that flies through where fourth slip might have been for four. There was good carry on that, although I wouldn't suspect at all that means this pitch is quickening up.

India are unhappy with the ball and we're going to have a change.

1.46pm - WICKET! - Robson lbw Ishant 59; Eng 134/2 - Sam Robson is on his way. Ishant Sharma strikes in the second over after lunch - how many times has that happened in this Test? The tall India right-armer finds some movement back in to Robson, although the opener stands briefly as though he thought he might have hit it. Ishant is not bothered, as he celebrates down on one knee and gives a fist-pump.

Morning Session

1.01pm - LUNCH! - Eng 131/1; Robson 59 Ballance 59 - Excellent work from Robson and Ballance as they batted through the morning session, adding 88 runs from 31 overs, without much alarm at all.

12.45pm - FIFTY! Robson (123b 7x4 0x6) - Robson gets to his half-century from the same number of balls as Ballance and brings it up in the same manner - a late cut for four to the third-man rope.

12.41pm - CENTURY PARTNERSHIP! - Ballance repeats the dose to bring up the century stand with Robson from 135 balls. Binny has been bowling too wide and Ballance is cashing in.

12.38pm - FIFTY! Ballance (123b 6x4 0x6) - Ballance carves away Stuart Binny to the third-man rope. He is really starting to up the tempo now.

12.30pm - CHANCE! - Robson has survived a very tough chance on 43. He turned Jadeja away and the ball just carried to Kohli at leg-slip, but he could not hold on low to his left. It would have been a sharp catch if he snapped it up.

12.26pm - London buses stat. Ballance had not hit a boundary in 64 balls; he just found the rope three times in that last Ishant over. The best was a back-foot cut that he waited on before forcing away backward of point.

12.20pm - Robson has turned Jadeja away for a single. That's his first run for 18 balls.

12.15pm - Dhoni has turned to spin after the drinks break. Ravindra Jadeja has found a little bit of turn, but not enough to offer much concern just yet. That said, his first two overs have cost just a run.

12.01pm - If Ballance and Robson are batting by numbers then they can tick off the opening hour. The moment of greatest concern arrived in the previous over from Ishant, when Robson got tucked up by a good short ball. Otherwise, 34 runs have been added so far from 15 overs. Stuart Broad might just get his wish for a lazy day.

11.50am - Ishant Sharma has switched to the Pavilion End today. He has drawn a couple of plays-and-misses from Ballance, but otherwise - for now at least - there has been little to worry about.

11.36am - There is very little happening with the ball so Mahendra Singh Dhoni has opted to stand up to the stumps to Bhuvneshwar and force Robson and Ballance back into their crease.

11.27am - Back-to-back boundaries from Robson to bring up the 50-run partnership. The first shot was the better of the two, leaning into a cover drive against Shami. 

11.21am - Gary Ballance scores his first run of the morning from the 18th delivery he faced, tucking Bhuvneshwar behind square-leg. That also takes England to 50.

11.11am - Robson tucks away the first boundary of the morning in characteristic style behind square-leg. Bhuvneshwar Kumar actually picked up the ball before the rope, but he made a meal of getting it back into play.

11.05am - Sam Robson takes a single from the first over of the day, delivered by Mohammed Shami, and we are up and running. England need to bat through the day to eat away at India's advantage. Scoring is not likely to be fast on this surface, so patience is set to be the key - for the players and fans alike.

Pre-Play News

10.50am - The England players have just finished their net on the edge of the centre square and have headed into the pavilion where, they hope to spend the entire day. Certainly Stuart Broad hopes he is not required, as he told us last night.

10.35am – Good morning and welcome to our blog of day three between England and India at Trent Bridge. England, who will resume on 43 for one, will need to make the most of a true pitch to challenge India’s 457.

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