Sunday 12 July, 2020

Woakes hundred and Bairstow brilliance give England huge lead

Chris Woakes celebrates his century with Jonny Bairstow.

Chris Woakes celebrates his century with Jonny Bairstow.

Chris Woakes scored a magnificent maiden Test century and Jonny Bairstow also made India suffer as England built a huge lead on day three of the second Test at Lord's on Saturday.

Recalled all-rounder Woakes (120 not out) and Bairstow (93) put on 189 - a Test record sixth-wicket stand against India at the famous venue - after the tourists had the better of the morning session.

Woakes resembled a frontline batsman and Bairstow deserved a hundred, falling before bad light stopped play with England in complete command on 357-6 in reply to 107 all out as they eye a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

England were 131-5 when Mohammed Shami (3-74) struck for a third time, but Woakes - who outscored his naturally aggressive partner and struck 18 boundaries -  and Bairstow left the top-ranked side praying that Sunday's weather is as bad as the forecast.

Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings looked untroubled for half an hour in far more favourable conditions than India faced when the match got under way the previous morning following a washout on day one.

Shami got the breakthrough, trapping Jennings leg before and Cook falling caught behind to a probing delivery from Ishant Sharma that nipped away and caught the outside edge, Dinesh Karthik taking the catch.

Ollie Pope looked assured after striding to the crease with his side 32-2, the 20-year-old debutant flicking Ishant to the boundary when the paceman strayed onto his pads, and hitting another two fours before he was trapped in front for 28 by Hardik Pandya - using up England's second review.

India had a spring in their step when the excellent Shami dismissed captain Root (19) just before lunch and Jos Buttler also went lbw to the same bowler after making a quickfire 24.

Virat Kohli's side were unable to roll England over though, as busy wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow and Woakes ran superbly, rotating the strike and looking comfortable in good batting conditions.

Ravichandran Ashwin was not introduced until the 39th over in the innings and did not pose a threat, Bairstow taking him on with a lofted boundary down the ground and reaching his half-century with a glorious cover drive when Kuldeep Yadav put one in the slot.

Woakes, excellent with the ball on Friday, continued to play positively and raised his bat following a streaky boundary off Ishant, hitting the paceman for a classy cover drive later in the over as the lead moved beyond 100.

The two motored on after England took tea on 230-5, both timing the ball superbly, and a majestic straight drive moved Woakes level with Bairstow.

Woakes then received a huge ovation from the Lord's crowd when he brought up his hundred with a mis-timed hook.

Kohli returned to the field after a spell off - reportedly to receive treatment - and although Bairstow fell flashing at a tempter from Pandya, Woakes and Sam Curran (22no) stretched the lead to 250 when stumps were drawn due to the light.

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