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Biiig shout fourth over…. Pujara’s gone!
Pujara’s been leaving dangerously all through the innings, particularly to Robinson, who has frequently angled balls in towards the right-handers’ pads. This time it’s cost him big. This was delivered from slightly wide of the crease and might have nipped back juuust a touch. Pujara is expecting it to swing away and shoulders arms, but it keeps coming with the angle, and hits him just outside off, mid-way up the front pad. Umpire Kettleborough declines to give it out, but this just looked so close on first viewing, it always felt like one England would review. They do. And ball tracking shows the ball crashing into the middle of off stump.
Pujara’s going to have to wait longer for that hundred. He doesn’t add to his overnight total. Gone for 91.
Calling for predictions
Personally, I’m hoping for an early mini-collapse from India, before Rishabh Pant comes in and whomps a mindblowing 160 in the company of Mohammad Shami (a-la Angelo Mathews and Herath at Headingley, 2014), to get India about 100 runs ahead. This doesn’t seem like enough at first, but then Jasprit Bumrah gets five wickets in a spell, and we go to stumps with England needing 20 to win and just two wickets in hand, setting us up for a tensest of fifth-day mornings.
A boy can dream.
Three days, 22 wickets, 725 runs, and it’s all led up to this high-stakes morning at Headingley.
In the blue corner are India’s two most experienced batters, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, who had skidded their way through the series on modest scores, but discovered something of their most resilient selves on Friday. They battled through difficult spells under gloomy skies to put on 99 together, giving India some hope of making England bat again. Pujara is on 91 – nine runs short of his first century in over 36 months. Kohli is five runs short of his first fifty since February. Happily for them, the sun is said to be out at Headingley, which technically should make batting easier.
In the red corner, though, is the great grump-faced grandaddy of swing bowling, James Anderson, who frequently makes the ball do mocking orbits of the batter before it seeks out his edge then a pair of hands in the slips. He was unplayable at the top of day one, dismissing both Pujara and Kohli with outstanding deliveries. He’ll have a brand new Dukes ball, which whom he has built a partnership more impressive than Lennon+McCartney (and which has lasted longer too). He’ll also have a cohort of right-arm acolytes – Ollie Robinson (who was excellent yesterday), Craig Overton, and Sam Curran in support.
Who will triumph? Stick around and find out.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
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