Ollie Pope top-scored for England with a hard-fought 81. Pic: Getty Images
Sharma had a lucky escape in the third over as Rory Burns, at second slip, failed to spot an edge off James Anderson. Apart from that, England’s pacers could not make much of an impact on India’s openers on a pitch that appeared well-suited to batting.
Earlier, Pope batted with great maturity and anchored England’s innings. He featured in crucial partnerships of 89 and 71 with Jonny Bairstow (37) and Moeen Ali (35), respectively. Pope occupied the crease for 260 minutes, and hit only six fours during his 159-ball stay.
Thanks to Pope’s assured presence, England recovered from a jittery 62 for 5 to post a healthy total of 290. After Pope and Bairstow led England’s recovery following a poor start to Day 2, India hit back courtesy Mohammed Siraj, who trapped Bairstow in front of the stumps early during the second session.
Moeen Ali then joined Pope, and the two continued to frustrate India. The former had a lucky escape as a yorker from Jasprit Bumrah hit him on the toe and would have gone on to hit the stumps. But India did not appeal for lbw, thinking it was bat first. The left-hander helped himself to some handsome boundaries before perishing to Jadeja, hitting one straight up in the air.
Pope missed out on a well-deserved hundred when he bottom-edged Shardul Thakur onto his stumps. After Ollie Robinson (5) was cleaned up by Jadeja, Woakes did a Thakur with the bat. He smashed 11 fours in his entertaining 60-ball fifty before getting run out, lifting England’s lead to what could be a match-defining one.
Pope, Bairstow rescue England after top-order wobble
Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow featured in a good partnership for England. Pic: Getty Images
Pope and Bairstow batted with resilience after Umesh Yadav got India off to a bright start on Day 2, sending back nightwatchman Craig Overton (1) and Dawid Malan (31). While Overton edged Yadav to Kohli in the slip cordon, Malan also nicked one, and was smartly taken by Rohit Sharma at second slip.
At 62 for 5, India were very much in the game, but Pope and Bairstow led a brilliant fightback to put England ahead by the end of the session. The hosts went to lunch at 139 for 5, trailing India by only 52 runs.
While Pope and Bairstow did not play rash shots, they ensured they took the boundaries on offer, and kept the scoreboard moving smoothly. With the pitch easing out, the Indian pacers could not make much of an impact. Bumrah bowled decently, and got the batsmen to play and miss on a few occasions, but failed to find the edge.
Meanwhile, Daniel Jarvis (Jarvo 69) invaded the pitch again on the second day of the Test. In the 34th over, which was being bowled by Yadav, the match had to be halted for five minutes, as Jarvis was at it again. He attempted to bowl, and was seen colliding with Bairstow.
The incident occurred even after English county Yorkshire had earlier announced that pitch invader Jarvo 69 had been banned for life from entering the stadium. According to British media reports, Jarvis has been arrested on suspicion of assault.
After India conceded a lead of 99, it was important for their openers to start well. Rahul batted with the kind of determination he displayed in the first two Tests. He left balls outside the off stump, and played close to his body.
Meanwhile, Sharma was fidgety early on. However, after earning a reprieve, he tightened his game and thwarted the England bowlers. The two right-handers took Team India to stumps without any damage. The visitors will now look to erase their deficit on the third morning, before trying to take a significant lead.