England skipper Joe Root and top-order batsman Dawid Malan smashed half-centuries to tighten the home side’s grip on the third Test against India at Headingley on Thursday.
Having bundled out India for a paltry 78, England’s top order fired in unison to power them to 298-3, a lead of 220, at tea on day two of the contest.
Root was batting on 80 at the break, cementing his position as the leading scorer in the five-match series which India lead 1-0.
His 139-run partnership with Malan came to an end on the stroke of tea when Malan fell caught behind after a fluent 70.
Each one of England’s top four batsmen helped themselves to half-centuries against India.
After the hosts resumed on 120 for no loss, Mohammed Shami earned the breakthrough for the tourists when he pushed one through Rory Burn’s gate to hit the top of the off-stump.
Burns made 61 and featured in a 135-run stand with Haseeb Hameed for England’s highest opening stand since Alastair Cook and Hameed put on 180 against India in 2016.
Hameed made 68 before Ravindra Jadeja spun one past his bat to hit the off-stump for his first wicket in the seamer-dominated series.
Root, who hit a century in each of the last two Tests, displayed his silky touch again, playing a couple of glorious backfoot punches that sent the ball racing to the boundary.
Playing his first Test in three years, Malan cut and drove elegantly before tickling Mohammed Siraj to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.
Malan was initially ruled not out and Pant did not appeal. Siraj convinced India captain Virat Kohli to review the decision and UltraEdge confirmed the batsman had edged the ball.
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