Buttler, Stokes fightback as England reach 173 for 4 at tea
Nottingham, Aug 21 (PTI) Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes provided stiff resistance as India endured a wicketless session against England, who reached 173 for 4 at tea on the fourth day of the third Test.
Buttler (67 batting) and Stokes (42 batting) added 111 runs for the fifth wicket after England were reduced to 62 for 4 in the opening session.
However India still have the upperhand as England need another 348 runs in their pursuit of 521.
Post lunch, Stokes and Buttler added 89 runs in the session but more importantly mixed caution with occasional aggression.
Ravichandran Ashwin (0-31) didn't take the field immediately because of a hip niggle but came on after a brief delay. Mohammed Shami (1-38) was off at the start of this session as well, though the reason was unknown.
The batsmen were able to contend with Jasprit Bumrah (1-52) and Hardik Pandya (0-7) with minimum fuss.
Ashwin had a good contest with Stokes, but it was clearly visible that his pivot while bowling was being hampered by the hip issue.
There was one loud appeal for leg before against Stokes in the 55th over, but the batsman was saved by umpire's call.
Shortly afterwards, Buttler brought up his ninth Test half-century off 93 balls, as their partnership also breached the 100-mark off 195 balls before the break.
Earlier, England were reduced to 84-4 at lunch as Ishant Sharma (2-43) took two quick wickets in the first hour.
Starting from overnight 23 for no loss, the English openers didn't stay for long, as they had no answer to Ishant's probing line and length.
Keaton Jennings (13) was out off the fifth ball of the day, caught behind. Ishant then made it two in seven balls as he also accounted for former skipper Alastair Cook (17), caught by KL Rahul at second slip.
From 32-2, Joe Root (13) and Olliver Pope (16) put on 30 runs for the third wicket. England crossed 50 in the 19th over.
However the duo were never really comfortable at the crease. Root was having trouble comprehending Bumrah's angular delivery while Pope was playing flashy drives at every possible opportunity.
It led to their eventual downfall, and they departed within five balls over the 25th and 26th overs.
Root was first to go, just hanging his bat out to a wide delivery as Rahul caught another one at second slip. Then, Pope was out caught off Shami, with Virat Kohli leaping in front of Rahul to finish a fabulous diving catch.
Things could have been worse for England with young Rishabh Pant dropping Jos Buttler on 1 off Bumrah in the 27th over.
Thereafter, Buttler tightened up and along with Stokes denied India until lunch, albeit a herculean task lies ahead of them