India reach 257-6 at stumps, still 321 runs behind England

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CHENNAI, India (AP) — Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar put on a show of resistance on Sunday as India reached 257-6 at stumps on day three of the first test against England.

Ashwin was on 8 and Sundar 33 after the duo batted out the last 17.3 overs of the day to defy England in the final session of play but the hosts still trail by 321 runs.

Paceman Jofra Archer bowled a sensational spell with the new ball to remove openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill on his first test outing on Indian soil.

Gill reaches 29 off 28 deliveries and Rohit 6 as Archer finished the day with figures of 2-52.

Spinner Dom Bess then removed both Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in the space of 11 deliveries as England took command of proceedings after lunch, with the hosts reduced to 73-4.

Kohli fell for 11 off 48 deliveries and Rahane could only manage a solitary run.

“I was just trying to bowl at a spot, trying to build pressure for a long time, and it just happened. It wasn’t like I was trying to bowl that magic ball. It was really just about hitting that box. It seemed to drift a little more, and got him playing at a wider line, and I am glad the catch was taken,” Bess said of the Kohli dismissal.

It brought Pujara and Pant together at the crease and their contrasting styles appeared to put the English attack on the back foot.

Pant smashed 91 off 88 deliveries, including nine fours and five sixes. Pujara made 73 runs and faced 143 balls.

Their 100-partnership came off 121 balls and together they managed to take India past 200 after tea.

Pujara was eventually dismissed in rare fashion against the run of play. His pull shot ricocheted off the fielder at forward short leg and was caught by Rory Burns off the bowling of Bess.

Bess finished with figures of 4-55, that also included Pant’s wicket.

Pant (91) had counter attacked England’s bowling with success, hitting nine fours and five sixes, but fell short of a century when his lofted hit in the 57th over was caught at deep cover by Jack Leach.

“He’s (Pant) a phenomenal talent. We saw him in the Australia tests, and that ability," said Bess. “It was a very bold innings.”

England scored 578 in their first innings thanks in large part to Joe Root’s 218, his fifth test double hundred across the first two days of the test.

Ben Stokes added 82 and Dominic Sibley scored 87 as England made the most of the conditions after winning the toss and batting first.

During the day's morning session England was bowled out in their 191st over, adding 23 runs to its overnight score.

Jasprit Bumrah finished with 3-84, while Ishant Sharma took 2-52. Among the spinners, Ashwin took 3-146, while Shabaz Nadeem took 2-167.

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