When the third day's play began at Trent Bridge, India's lead stood at a formidable 292 runs. By the close of play, their advantage had extended to a gigantic 520 runs. Ably supported by Cheteshwar Pujara's steadfast fifty, skipper Virat Kohli powered his team to an impregnable position.
Kohli stroked his way to a 23rd Test century and imposed India's dominance over a lackluster England outfit in Nottingham. Even though the overhead conditions remained slightly murky throughout the day, the situation of the game meant that the visiting batsmen had the hosts under their mercy.
After agonisingly missing out on the three-figure mark by just three runs in the first innings, Kohli held his nerve to bring up his second century in the series thus far. The majestic 103 from 197 balls, laced with ten boundaries, took the Indian captain's tally to 440 runs from just six innings in the series thus far.
Ruthless Kohli punishes England bowlers
Resuming at 8*, Kohli got going with a glorious drive through the mid-wicket region. Although India had already amassed a massive lead, he showed respect to the conditions and started quite cautiously. At the other end, the inimitable Pujara was slowly settling into his preferred steady mode.
England spearhead James Anderson showed he meant business by providing some nervous moments to both batsmen. Despite the match situation looking increasingly grim for his team, the legendary seamer kept probing away at the outside edge of the tentative right-handers. He could have had Pujara's wicket but Jos Buttler spilled an easy chance in the slip cordon.
Meanwhile, Kohli survived a leg-before shout from the ever-so-confident Stuart Broad. An inside-edge prevented the third umpire from moving to ball-tracking. After that, the in-form right-hander started to hit the right note. A pristine cover drive from his blade left the Trent Bridge faithful in awe.
Adil Rashid was given a reasonably long spell after lunch. Not keen on hitting the leg-spinner out of the attack, Kohli maneuvered the field smartly to keep the scoreboard ticking. Only when the wrist-spinner offered him a rank long hop, he showed his aggressive side.
Following Pujara's dismissal for 72, Kohli found another reliable batting partner in Ajinkya Rahane. As he gradually closed in on the three-figure mark, England skipper Joe Root brought back Anderson to further their engrossing duel.
With Kohli content on leaving the vast majority of his deliveries on the fourth stump channel, Anderson's line slowly veered inwards. Needless to say, the right-hander capitalised on the rare boundary ball.
A spell of sustained pressure almost procured the reward for England when the final session of the day began. However, Keaton Jennings spilled a catch at gully. The anguish on Anderson's face was palpable as his nemesis came within a shot of getting to the century-mark.
For such a resolute knock, it was quite an ironical way to get to the summit. Kohli brought up his 23rd ton when an outside edge evaded the slip cordon to trickle past the boundary rope. The pressure-free situation might have lessened the challenge considerably. However, the methodical manner of his batting should have pleased him significantly.Published 20 Aug 2018, 22:46 IST