India leave door ajar for England after setting record 399-run target

Gill stole the show with his century but Axar also looked assured batting at number six.

Gill, who had completed his half century before lunch, continued to attack the spinners.

Leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed tried the round-the-wicket tactic but it did not work as Gill stepped out to smash him for a straight six before unleashing the sweep and on-drive for back-to-back fours in the same over.

The India number three got to three figures off Bashir in the 52nd over and his celebration was rather a muted one, as if he expected a lot more consistency out of himself. He had completed his first 50 plus score in 13 innings.

With Ben Stokes going for a short mid-on and short mid-wicket, Gill was trapped into playing a reverse sweep off Bashir. The ball deflected from Gill’s gloves and keeper Ben Foakes pouched an easy catch.

Closer to tea, Axar also departed after a flat ball from Hartley kept a bit low and as per replays, was crashing into the stumps.

In the morning, Anderson struck twice before Gill rode his luck to complete a much-needed half-century to take India to 130 for four at lunch.

Gill survived two close DRS calls in successive overs soon after his arrival into the middle to post his first fifty plus score in 13 innings.

The first 30 minutes of the morning session belonged to Anderson, who continues to lord over batters at 41 years of age.

The veteran pacer first removed Rohit with an unplayable ball that seamed away a touch to knock the Indian skipper’s off stump in his first over of the day before getting the in-form Jaiswal caught at first slip with a full ball in his following over.

The first innings double centurion went through with the loose drive and Joe Root did the rest at first slip. Gill and Iyer, both struggling for runs, found themselves in the middle and ended up sharing an 81-run stand off 112 balls.

The India number three was tentative at the start and Anderson’s accuracy made him look more vulnerable. Gill first survived a close lbw call off Tom Hartley with the TV umpire overturning the on-field decision after spotting an inside edge that the batter himself was not sure about.

In the next over, an incoming ball from Anderson thudded into Gill’s knee roll and on this occasion, the umpire’s call saved Gill.

It seemed that was the stroke of luck that Gill desperately needed as he grew in confidence from thereon. He stepped out for a straight six off Shoaib Bashir to get going before using is feet against the other spinners.

Iyer too played a few strokes at the other end before a moment of sheer brilliance from Stokes sent him back to the dressing room.

Seeing mid-off up, Iyer took the aerial route against Hartley and Stokes showed great athleticism to run backwards to pluck that catch out of thin air.

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