England vs India MATCH REPORT: Alastair Cook’s team declare 569-7 as … – Daily Mail

  • England declare 569-7 on second day of third Test at the Ageas Bowl
  • India close out second day with 25-1 after Dhawan’s dismissal for six
  • England went to lunch 358-3 after resuming play on morning on 247-2
  • Gary Ballance c Dhoni b Sharma for 156 but it was bad decision by umpire
  • Joe Root and Moeen Ali out for three and 12 respectively in Southampton
  • Ian Bell scored an impressive 167 during England’s mammoth innings
  • India lead the best-of-five series 1-0 after last week’s victory at Lord’s

Kieran Gill

England will aim to kick on and establish a commanding lead over India on the second day of the third Investec Test at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Though captain Alastair Cook fell short of a first Test hundred in some 14 months – out for 95 after edging Ravindra Jadeja down the leg side to wicketkeeper MS Dhoni – an unbeaten century from Gary Ballance put England firmly in control.

With Ian Bell also at the crease on 16, England will aim to bat through most of the day, with India needing to rediscover the bowling form that won them the second Test at Lord’s last week.

Join Kieran Gill for over-by-over coverage with updates from our cricket correspondents Paul Newman and Lawrence Booth at the ground.

England vs India

England: 1 AN Cook (capt), 2 SD Robson, 3 GS Ballance, 4 IR Bell, 5 JE Root, 6 MM Ali, 7 JC Buttler (wk), 8 CR Woakes, 9 CJ Jordan, 10 SCJ Broad, 11 JM Anderson

India: 1 M Vijay, 2 S Dhawan, 3 CA Pujara, 4 V Kohli, 5 RG Sharma, 6 AM Rahane, 7 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 8 RA Jadeja, 9 B Kumar, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Pankaj Singh

Umpires: Marais Erasmus (SA) & Rod Tucker (AUS)

Toss: England won toss and elected to bat


  • Kieran Gill

    Host commentator

Well, England will be content with that mammoth innings, I’m sure!

Alastair Cook’s side declared 569 for seven, and got Dhawan out early as India end the day on 25 for one.

England are led in by their centurions, Gary Ballance and Ian Bell, with Cook following behind after a hard day’s work.

Tomorrow will see India come back to the crease at the Ageas Bowl with Vijay and Pujara, and Sportsmail will follow it all to bring you the best over-by-over coverage.

England give Chris Woakes a chance to bowl, and why not? He doesn’t take too much advantage of the opportunity, though, with slightly wild deliveries to Vijay at the crease. The Indian opener doesn’t fancy going for it, lifting the bat up and over his head. Vijay survives and defends the final ball of the second day of the third Test.

Do we reckon Jimmy Anderson was happy about bowling Dhawan out?

An appeal from England after Anderson’s swerving ball nicked off Pujara and went into the arms of Jos Buttler. There seemed to be a noise on its way but it was off the thigh pad, and the umpire rightly did not raise his finger. Replays, however, suggest an appeal for lbw would be plausible! It looked far too high for that on first viewing, so you can understand why that wasn’t considered. Pujara is living dangerously. He edges one to the slips, but it doesn’t carry. Nonetheless, that’s a maiden.

Chris Jordan is struggling to get his bowling under control. He looks at his hand after a rather wide ball, which forced Jos Buttler into an impressive diving save down leg side, and the England bowler looks baffled. Jordan’s had a few of those dodgy balls now. An inside edge from Pujara safely skittles to the leg side for two. The over ends with a single from Punjara to the covers, who will come back to strike. India are 25 for one.

An Anderson ball aimed temptingly down the off side to Pujara sees him nick it to fifth slip but it doesn’t carry for a catch. Ageas Bowl is rather quiet at the moment… Cook, before the fifth ball, moves his slips around, introducing a gully and a leg slip. We thought it would be aimed towards the leg side, but Anderson keeps it to the off. Pujara knocks it to where the fifth slip would have been, and takes a single. Vijay comes extremely close to an outside edge, but he gets away with it.

Here comes Chris Jordan to have a bowl in the fifth-from-last over. He faces Vijay and pulls one towards the leg stump, which cuts across the Indian opener. Vijay defends well enough. India are heavily reluctant to go for those tempting ones on the off side, particularly given Cook’s assembly of slips and gully. A mistake from wicketkeeper Jos Buttler sees India pick up four byes on the leg side. Slightly lazy, but it has been a long day of cricket. Pujara can’t get off the mark.

England and their five slips, an increasingly familiar sight, lie in wait to see if Pujara will go for any of Anderson’s fast-paced balls. He doesn’t. That’s another maiden. India trail by 552. Five overs to go as it starts to get overcast in Southampton.

Stuart Broad is the man on the attack again, but Vijay isn’t biting. England settle for three slips, a gully and a short leg this time. The India opener is happy to defend, as England take the maiden.

A good over, that. Vijay comes to strike with his new partner Pujara and Cook places five slips again. The final ball of the over almost carries to the man at fifth, but it doesn’t quite have the legs. Nearly, Alastair!

It’s that man Alastair Cook at first slip that catches out Dhawan, courtesy of Anderson! The new ball catches the outside edge of the Indian opener and it couldn’t have got much more simple than that. Cook knew something we didn’t, placing five slips behind, but it was himself at first that mattered most. Dhawan felt he had to play, but will wish he didn’t now. Well played by Anderson and Cook.

England aren’t as adventurous as India were with their bowlers, as Stuart Broad comes back in to face Vijay. The Indian opener knocks one into the covers and adds a single to bring his partner back to strike. Dhawan gets one of his own, before an 88mph ball strikes Vijay on the shoulder. India are 17 for none.

An in-swinger from Anderson lets Dhawan knock it back to where it came from, but its path is blocked at mid-off. The Indian opener looks eager and is rightly sent back to his crease by Vijay on what looked an unwise decision to run. A single is taken, however, when he finds point and they reverse the strike. Nice and easy. Alastair Cook opted for five slips in place for Vijay, leaving England exposed on the leg side, and India add three to their tally with that in mind. That’s 15 for India.

A couple of short balls from Stuart Broad forces Vijay to duck and sway for good leaves. Again, England have three slips and a gully in place. Broad tries to tempt the Indian batsman into making a move with a ball that sets up at a decent height, but it was too wide for his liking. Not bad bowling from Broad, who is carrying a slight knee injury.

Anderson comes in to bowl across the left-handed Indian batsman Dhawan but his first few float past the off stump. Dhawan does plant his bat down for the third, but doesn’t make contact. The Indian opener does, however, drive for FOUR through the covers and safely finds the rope. Dhawan flicks one square but the gully is on hand to clean up, and India take four runs from the third over. They’re 11 for none.

Vijay lets Stuart Broad’s 86mph ball safely go wide of the off stump, before being forced to defend the second. England have a man at short leg, and three slips in place. A nudge to fine leg looks to find the boundary but a sliding Moeen Ali prevents it going for four, and Vijay settles for two. He brings himself to seven, Dhawan is yet to get off the mark with two overs gone.

Anderson bowls to India opener Vijay, and he immediately gets off the mark with a FOUR beyond the slips. England had no third man and no gully in place. Alastair Cook has opted for three slips, though. A single from Vijay welcomes Dhawan to the crease, who almost edges a fast ball from Anderson to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. India trail by 564 runs.

India will get their chance to bat for 14 overs at the Ageas Bowl now. They need 370 to avoid the follow on!

The Indian openers, Vijay and Dhawan, are suited up and ready to take to the crease. Their first task is to see off the new ball on a decent surface at the Ageas Bowl.

James Anderson is warming up, stretching, getting a feel of the ball. Let’s see what he can do.

There we go. Woakes got himself three runs which allowed Buttler to return to the crease. A flat delivery from Jadeja catches an inside edge from Buttler, who was playing one-day cricket, and it strikes the off stump. England immediately declare. Not a bad spell from Buttler, though, who can be proud of how he helped Alastair Cook’s men reach 569-7d.

Cook may have been trying to see if the debutant could reach a century, but it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, that’s as good a debut as Buttler could have wished for. Jordan, Broad and Anderson did not bat.

Crikey. Buttler is taking the mick now! The debutant gets a SIX with a strike through midwicket that goes straight into the crowd. He follows that up with ANOTHER SIX as the batsman, in one-day mode, goes for it through square leg. Again, it goes up and over the rope. This is the ideal situation for the youngster. England need quick runs, he’s happy to supply. He adds a FOUR for good measure, then another two to long-on. Great over.

When do England declare? They’re 566 for six now.

Buttler leaves his stumps wide open to spinner Jadeja, and he’s almost punished. He swings and misses the ball entirely, but wicketkeeper MS Dhoni misses the stumps! Buttler was well out of his crease, too. Careful, Jos! Nevermind that, though, as the debutant got back to business. Buttler adds FOUR with a drive to his right. He adds two more after that through the covers. Impressive.

Mohammed Shami comes in to face Buttler, who sneaks a single to let Woakes try and get off the mark. The new-boy does just that with a push to cover, and he gets one run for his efforts. Buttler does the same, and Woakes adds two more runs with a flick to midwicket. The final ball of the over sees Woakes go defensive. England 11 shy of 550.

Buttler is up against Jadeja, but the spinner does little harm. The England No 7 punishes the bowler for giving him enough room to get his bat up well enough to aim for extra cover for FOUR! Buttler adds a leg bye to that, and Woakes is yet to get off the mark. England on 534 for six.

In all the excitement, we missed Buttler getting his half-century. Well done to the debutant. Buttler, after Bell walked, got three more runs to bring his tally to 53. Woakes takes to the pitch, and will look to help England reach their 550 target.

England, now on 526 for six, welcome Chris Woakes to the crease. In all truth, Ian Bell was pushing his luck at times, sending balls airborne. The majority of time, it paid off. This time, it didn’t. Bell struck the ball off the bottom of his bat and it went straight to India’s man Pankaj at mid-on. It wasn’t the best decision from Bell, but his 167 was impressive enough.

Sportsmail’s Paul Newman at the Ageas Bowl: ‘Well that was a fantastic innings from Ian Bell and he only perished trying to get England up to a position where they could declare tonight and have a few overs at India. That was a thrilling partnership with Jos Buttler, just the sort of cricket England followers will want to see once the top order have laid the foundations. This has been an excellent response from England, so far, to what happened at Lord’s.’

Here’s Jadeja, and his delivery seems painfully slow for a man of Bell’s ability. The England batsman punishes it, sending it towards backward point for two. A single from Bell gives Buttler a chance to come in, and caps their 100 partnership. A boundary finishes off the over from debutant Buttler, who gets FOUR through the covers. England looking for the 550 mark now.

Bell to Buttler: Anything you can do, I can do better. The England No 4 starts with sending the ball up in the air through mid-off, but it didn’t quite have the legs to reach the rope. His next does, though, as he adds FOUR by knocking the ball into the gap on his leg side. MS Dhoni has no slips and no leg slips are in place. Bell adds a simple single on the off side, before Buttler gets his chance to add two of his own.

Bell gets the over going with a quick single. Buttler, taking note of Bell, goes for his own SIX and gets it emphatically, pushing through Jadeja’s slow ball and sending it up and over the bowler and beyond the boundary. That’s England with more than 500. Buttler isn’t satisfied, though, as he adds a FOUR with a reverse sweep – a move that’s becoming a particular favourite of the 23-year-old. Buttler adds another two runs to cap a fine over.

Bell starts the 155th over with a single to deep square, which brings him to an impressive 150! Pankaj Singh is having little joy on the attack, and Buttler takes the easiest of runs. He brings himself to 31. Bell fancies more, and adds a FOUR to the leg side, making its way through mid-on. Bravo, Ian!

Jadeja isn’t having much joy, as he gives Bell the chance to add FOUR to his tally. It was aggressive play from the England No 4. An advancing Bell in the next ball attacks a slow ball from Jadeja and is able to add one more run. Buttler swipes around to the left of MS Dhoni and his slip towards backward point for ANOTHER FOUR. England add another three, courtesy of leg byes from Buttler. Bell adds a quick single to cap another decent over.

The ball is now 72 overs old, but it’s still got some life in it. As does the pitch. Kumar’s in-swinger almost catches out Buttler at the crease, but he’s safe enough. Buttler adds two runs to take himself to 26 with the second-to-last ball of the over by nudging it towards a vacant fine leg. That’s more like it, Jos.

A maiden for the 152nd over. It was Jadeja bowling to Bell, but nothing was happening for the England batsman. It gave Buttler time to think about how lucky he’s been. The 23-year-old could quite easily have been out for 0 and 23 now… it is his debut, though, so we’ll let him off.

Bell almost times it perfectly for four with a nudge through midwicket, but it’s stopped three feet before it reaches the rope. The England batsman does, though, add three. Jos Buttler comes in – and is a lucky boy. The debutant swings and nicks the ball, which carries through to first slip… but it’s DROPPED. It looked an easy catch and Buttler has been let off majorly, there. India captain and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni could possibly have dived for it, but that’s no excuse for Dhawan’s lame effort. A couple of singles are added to rub salt into India’s wounds.

Jadeja bowls to Bell, who slips one to long-off. Up step Buttler, who knocks one behind towards short third man and manages to add a single to allow the reverse. This has been an over of easy singles, as Bell adds another towards extra cover. Little pressure on England, there.

Pankaj Singh steps up and bowls incredibly wide to Buttler, but the England No 7 is confident enough to go for the boundary. He does so comfortably with a hard strike and gets FOUR to the off side. Buttler follows it up with a single to square leg, before Bell does the same on the opposite side and adds one to his tally. Their partnership is at 45 from 79 balls.

It’s time for Jadeja’s spell to attack, and Bell will be on the receiving end. The England No 4 takes a quick single to reverse the strike. Buttler does the same with one run to long-off. We head into the 149th over now, with England 41 shy of 500.

Bell, back at the crease, is up against Kumar. He takes a single with a push to third man to allow Buttler to have his go. Kumar’s delivery looks to be edging its way down the off side, and Buttler stays on the defensive. England are now creeping towards 500.

We’re back, and Jadeja comes in to try and spin a few towards Buttler. The debutant gets two runs when he sweeps it to backward square leg, and follows it up with a single to short leg. Bell gets his chance and adds a run to deep square, too. The strike’s rotated, and Bell will start the 147th over.

Ian Bell’s return to form continued after lunch on day two of the third Investec Test as England reached 452 for five at tea following an eventful session.

England?s No4, without a Test hundred in almost a year before this match, finished the session unbeaten on 133 with wicket-keeper Jos Buttler unbeaten at the other end after narrowly avoiding registering a duck on debut.

Buttler edged Bhuvneshwar Kumar low to Ajinkya Rahane at second slip and was beginning to walk off when the on-field umpires told him to stand his ground and called on television umpire Rob Bailey to check if the ball had carried.

Replays proved inconclusive, as so often when low catches are referred, and Buttler survived before getting off the mark with a cut for three followed by a straight drive down the ground.

At the other end Bell continued from where he left off in the morning session shrugging off the loss of partners Joe Root (three) and Moeen Ali (12) to continue accumulating.
Root fell soon after the resumption when he fished at an away-swinging delivery outside off stumped and edged the excellent Kumar behind to MS Dhoni.

Bell accelerated to 100 ? his first since August last year ? with a crunching six down the ground off Ravi Jadeja before continuing his assault on the left-arm spinner by hitting him for another six and two fours in the next three balls. He also passed 7,000 Test runs in the process.

Moeen again fell to the short ball when an attempted hook off Kumar caught the bottom edge and flew to slip before Buttler narrowly escaped a horror first innings dismissal.
The debutant reached tea on 13 not out and England will be hoping to press the accelerator after tea.

Buttler adds a single to his tally with a nudge towards fine leg. You could see the ball turn as Sharma bowled his spinner, but the debutant did well to send it on its way. Just the one run for England in the 145th over, but that’ll do nicely for Alastair Cook. After some deliberation from the umpires, and despite MS Dhoni looking keen for another over, it’s time for tea. England just 48 shy of 500 now.

Pankaj Singh bowls to Bell, who punishes a poor toss for FOUR slightly wide of fine leg. The England batsman, en route to his 150, adds another two to the tally with a ball that edged towards the off stump, and was struck through midwicket. England pass the 450 mark.

…as they left for three and 12 respectively

Kumar comes in, and Bell takes a single to reverse the strike. Here comes Buttler again, the 23-year-old looks eager to rack up the runs but shouldn’t lose patience at the crease. He takes one run with a nudge to the off side just wide of extra cover, and Bell ends the over with a single. England are 445 for five.

Now that’s where technology is unsatisfactory in cricket. Your gut instinct is that it was a clean catch and Jos Buttler at first seemed to be happy to accept the word of Akinkya Rahane but umpire Marais Erasmus told him to stay and called for a replay. On the evidence put in front of him TV umpire Rob Bailey couldn’t really give Buttler out but that’s because television can lie in these instances. A reprieve for Buttler and now he’s been able to avoid a duck on Test debut but it was better when the players would just accept each other’s words on low catches.

Jadeja comes back in to bowl, and Buttler is loving life at the crease in this over. Getting away from the duck has eased him, and the England debutant bags his first FOUR! It was high and convincing towards extra cover. He isn’t stopping there, though. Buttler attacks again and the ball sails high towards the vacant space behind the covers for ANOTHER FOUR! We weren’t ever worried… were we?

Buttler may have got excited there – thinking he’d got his first Test run- but alas, it came off the pads for a leg bye according to umpire Marais Erasmus. Bell, though, gets his single and brings Buttler back to the crease.

Buttler, however, edges it to Rahane at second slip, who makes the catch. The Indians celebrate, convinced he’s out for a duck, but umpire Erasmus is less convinced and goes upstairs. We’re made to wait a while to find out the verdict – even the replays were slightly inconclusive – but the answer is NOT OUT. It’s incredible tight, and even the commentators thought it was out. That was close to say the least.

We move on, and Buttler gets off the mark in Test match cricket with three runs towards deep cover point. Bell, in the final ball of the over, edges it and it almost carries to Dhawan at first slip! Living dangerously, England.

MS Dhoni fancies a spinner to go up against Bell, and that means it’s time for Jadeja. Bell manages to add two runs with a sweep behind, but that’s that for the 139th over. The England No 4 may have been looking towards the sky and wondering about the light but, when on 123, he should keep going on the roll he’s on.

It’s Mohammed Shami’s turn to attack, but Bell only punishes India further. Buttler does well to hop out of the way as Bell’s straight-forward return trickles down mid-on and meets the boundary for FOUR! He follows up with a single to let Buttler try and get off the mark. He can’t. There’s always the next over. We reverse the strike.

Sportsmail’s Paul Newman at the Ageas Bowl: ‘Now unless my eyes deceive me Ian Bell has just been looking at the clouds and trying to drop hints to the umpires about the light. Please no. England should not be thinking about going off now! The man is 120 not out! He needs to stay out there and crack on towards 500! It could be that a shower is on the way but until it reaches us England need to take the initiative and impose their authority on this Test.’

Don’t go off! England’s Ian Bell looks skywards at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton

Jos Buttler, the man who replaced Matt Prior, comes in for his England debut. England are still approaching 500 well, and they add another to that target through Bell. The England No 4, facing the spinner that is Jadeja, sweeps one to the leg side and makes the run. Buttler’s first ball sees him go on the defensive. England 421-5.

After an incredible over that saw Ian Bell dominate India, the visitors have their own back. Moeen Ali got a run in the 136th over and came back to the crease after Bell added his own single, but was only able to gift the ball to Rahane in second slip for a catch. I say gift – it was, in fact, an impressive diving two-handed catch. Rahane could have left it to first slip but didn’t, and was right to not. MS Dhoni knew Ali struggled with short balls, and it’s came back to bite the England No 6 again. In comes Jos Buttler.

Sportsmail’s Paul Newman: ‘Oh that’s another soft dismissal for my man Moeen. It’s the short ball that’s got him again, taking it on this time rather than taking his eye off it. I guess England have to press on and the ball was there to be hit but I would like a bit more solidity from Moeen at the moment. The good thing about the experienced batsmen getting runs again is that it buys a bit of time for these very promising newcomers to blossom and make the odd mistake. Talking of newcomers, here’s Jos Buttler who is able to play his first Test innings in what is close to a perfect position for an attacking batsman like him.’

‘What a lovely way to go to your first century in 20 Test innings! You would think after the run Ian Bell has had he might have been a bit more cautious but that was a beautiful six followed by a gorgeous cover drive for four and then another straight six and a cut for four. Just what England needed. Just what Bell needed. Both senior batsmen who have been desperate for runs have got them now and that’s a huge boost for England in these difficult times.’

Moeen Ali pushes one down mid-on for an easy single that lets Bell come in to face Jadeja. A slow ball lets Bell attack and he sends it straight back where it came from for a SIX. He’s not done yet by a long shot. Bell attacks the next ball, too, and gets a FOUR through the covers. How could this get better? It does! Bell gets ANOTHER SIX almost identical to the one before. He adds ANOTHER FOUR to that towards point, too! Are we even surprised? That was an incredible over. Ironic boos ring around the Ageas Bowl as his final ball comes to nothing.

All in one over, Ian Bell whacks TWO SIXES and TWO FOURS to get his CENTURY, brings England past 400 and passes 7000 TEST RUNS in the process. That was punishing form.

Pankaj Singh’s ball to Bell allows the England No 4 to steal a single towards point. The strike reverses and Ali, who strikes everything he has at the ball, gets a FOUR through point. The left-handed England batsman adds a single down the opposite side and Bell come to the crease. He leans back and nicks one towards backward point, but there’s a fielder perfectly placed. No runs to be had. England push on to 397 for four.

Drinks done and dusted. Ian Bell is getting closer to that century, and England have 500 in sight, I’m sure. The sky doesn’t look too good in Southampton, but let’s hope the showers avoid the Ageas Bowl. Bell immediately runs for a mid-off single to allow Ali to come to the crease. A Jadeja spinner comes Ali’s way, whose careful dink lets the ball run en route to third man. Bell responds with his own single, and that’s three more for England.

Sportsmail’s Paul Newman at the Ageas Bowl:England have got a bit bogged down here. They are still in an excellent position but they could do with Ian bell taking the initiative and trying to get a move on towards 500 and beyond while Moeen finds his feet.’

Mohammed Shami comes in and Bell gets himself into the 90s with a single to the off side. Three slips and a short leg remain in place, but Shami’s toss is too short and too high to trouble Ali. The England No 6 ducks and lets it go straight to MS Dhoni. Ali gets himself a single with a nudge towards the mid-on region. The over ends with a single from Bell, who flicks one to the leg side. Drinks!

Another change in bowling from India, as Kumar comes in to face Ali after the strike is reversed. MS Dhoni has three slips alongside him for company, but they aren’t needed as Ali takes the 131st over easy. He’s careful with the short ball, which we know isn’t always Ali’s strong point. It’s a maiden.

Pankaj Singh comes in to face Ali. There is little joy for either side, as the England No 6 manages to add a single to his tally, knocking one to the leg side.

Mohammed Shami bowls to bell but has little joy as the England batsman gets four runs in the 129th over. He started with two from a straight toss that made its way down to midwicket, before getting another double with a knock in the same direction. Good calm over after the storm.

Kumar bowls to Moeen Ali, who gets off the mark immediately with two runs. There are three slips in place, but the England No 6 nudges it to the off side and it misses the lot to find a gaping space. The 128th over ends. Root out, Ali in.

Yikes. Joe Root didn’t last long at all! The 128th over started with wides, which were met by the Ageas Bowl crowd with ironic cheers. They were silent, though, when Kumar’s straight ball took a flick off the advancing Root’s bat and went directly to wicketkeeper MS Dhoni. The Indian captain’s bowling changes seem to have worked wonders… in comes Moeen Ali and there are three men in the slip.

Sportsmail’s Paul Newman at the Ageas Bowl: ‘That’s a poor end to a curiously poor innings from Joe Root, who has been in excellent form this season. Maybe there was a bit of baggage from his tame dismissal at Lord’s but MS Dhoni’s policy of rotating his seamers after lunch and bowling them in just one over spells paid dividends there. Now here’s Moeen Ali who has combined some sublime stroke making with some soft dismissals in his short international career so far. If he cuts out the latter and keeps the former he will be some player.’

A smiling MS Dhoni tells Pankaj Singh to come in for his one-over turn – is he trying to disrupt England’s flow? – but it does little to affect Bell. The England No 4 makes his move with the fourth ball of the over, and finds the fine leg boundary to score FOUR with an airborne sweep. India have just two fielders on the leg side. That’s 376 for three.

MS Dhoni has made five bowling changes in the last half an hour. What mind games from the India captain… here comes Mohammed Shami for his spell. Bell’s the man at the crease and he gets a single with a simple flick to the off side. In comes Root, who crouches down on one knee to avoid a bouncer. Avoided safely.

Sportsmail’s Paul Newman at the Ageas Bowl: ‘Joe Root hasn’t got going yet. MS Dhoni is ringing the bowling changes to try to break the batsmen’s concentration or get something to happen but Root was clearly affected by how he got out at Lord’s on the final day and is trying to make sure he doesn’t suffer a similar misjudgment. England are in a fantastic position but will want to crack on soon as it will take a big effort to take 20 wickets here.’

Do you know what’s going on, Mohammed? Shami holds his arms in the air during day two

Bell, up against Kumar, plays on the defence initially in the 125th over. He’s just waiting for a good enough chance to have a hit, and does so with two runs after knocking the ball deep to point. He follows it up with a single to reverse the strike, and Root faces an in-swinger to end the over.

Root’s back in at the crease to face the short ball of Pankaj. The England No 5 weaves out of the way and lets it sail through to MS Dhoni. The fourth ball floats past Root down the off side – no damage. He goes for the fifth and sixth, but only chops it into the ground and they doesn’t go far. Yet to get going is the 23-year-old.

We reverse the strike and Bell gets going after lunch with a FOUR to the third man boundary. MS Dhoni hasn’t got that position manned so may have to rethink, although it did just creep through between gully and second slip. The closest fielder to the third man position is currently at deep point. Bell hits one deep to the leg side and immediately runs for two, knowing there are Indian fielders there.

Kumar is bowling to Root, who knocks one to point but opts not to run as India safely have a man occupying the space. There are gaps to find the boundary but the England No 5 is yet to exploit them. MS Dhoni has placed two slips with a gully for this over, but no leg slip. Maiden over.

Pankaj Singh comes in to bowl to Bell, and aims down the off side. They swerve off slightly to the left upon the bounce but the England No 4 leaves them well alone. He wasn’t tempted enough to have a swing. Maiden over.

Welcome back to the afternoon session. England started day two on 247 for two. Now they start the afternoon session on 358 for three. With two hours until tea, a similar session to this morning would be ideal. India may test the pitch now with their spinners after that encouraging turn that helped send Gary Ballance on his way, and here comes Mohammed Shami to try his luck. Three slips and a short leg in place. Root gets us underway with a single to mid-off. Bell, then, squeezes the ball towards cover point to set the fielders chasing as England add three.

When Gary Ballance was given out by umpire Rod Tucker, albeit wrongly, the pitch helped in its own way. Rohit Sharma’s ball turnedto help deceive the England No 3. That will encourage the Indian spinners, but is also a sign that this pitch has something to give for the likes of Moeen Ali and Sam Robson. Nevertheless, this pitch has plenty left to give and plenty of runs are still to be had. Here come the players…

Fancy a few snaps to go with your lunch?

You’re out: Gary Ballance walks after umpire Rod Walker deems he got an edge to the ball

Wish you were still here: Ballance hits a cover drive as England face India at the Ageas Bowl

Century-and-a-half: Ballance raises his bat after hitting 150 for England in Southampton

high five: India’s Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay during play on the second day of the third Test

England lost centurion Gary Ballance just before lunch on day two of the third Investec Test but still reached the interval in excellent shape following an impressive 142-partnership for the third wicket with Ian Bell.

Ballance was unlucky to be given out caught behind by MS Dhoni off Rohit Sharma for 156 by umpire Rod Tucker when replays clearly showed the ball missed his bat and flicked his back pad.

It was an unfortunate dismissal for the young left-hander, who had looked increasingly comfortable as the session wore on and appeared set for a maiden double hundred in only his sixth Test.

The man charged with replacing Jonathan Trott in the pivotal No3 position had moments earlier reached 150 not out off 278 balls.

But despite his dismissal, England will still enjoy their lunch with Bell (68 not out) and Joe Root (two not out) unbeaten at the crease, the weather set fair and the outfield fast.

After resuming unbeaten on 104 this morning ? with England 247 for two ? Ballance began the day in watchful fashion before raising the tempo as the session progressed to take advantage of some increasingly wayward Indian bowling.

He started with just three runs in the first six overs but a salvo of three fours in four balls from Bhuvneshwar Kumar took him past his previous best Test score of 110 and served notice of his attacking intent.

The Zimbabwean-born left-hander played shots all around the wicket, particularly strong through midwicket, and it came as a surprise when he was dismissed ? somewhat unfortunately ? just before the interval.

Bell was less assured but still hit some attractive shots, including a couple of sumptuous cover drives, and he has a superb chance to reach his first Test hundred in almost a year after lunch.

Nasser Hussain should be an umpire. He said straight away that that ball came off Gary Ballance’s hip rather than his bat or glove and he was right.

That was a bad decision by Rod Tucker but the suggestion seems to be now that Ballance touched one on 10 yesterday and should have been given out then by Tucker so I guess he can’t complain.

What will encourage England, and Moeen Ali in particular, is how much that ball from Rohit Sharma turned and bounced. What they wouldn’t give for Graeme Swann if this pitch is gong to turn as the match goes on! And how often have I said that this summer!

Life after Swann will be made much easier if Moeen gets a good long bowl in this match and takes wickets.

Rohit Sharma, fresh from taking down Ballance, comes in and has his opportunity to face Root now the strike has been reversed. The England No 5 gets off the mark with a single to let Bell see out the over. Bell, with the second-last ball, flicks one to mid-on and he’s safe until after lunch. Root, with the final ball, goes for square leg and doubles his tally. Time for tea and sandwiches…

The penultimate over before lunch sees England ease Joe Root in. Bell gives his new partner a break and doesn’t score any runs during the over with Jadeja the man providing the spinners. He does, though, try to flick one through gully but it’s easily collected. Now for the final over before lunch.

In comes Joe Root to face Sharma, but he defends his first ball.

There’s the wicket India were craving! Ballance, who managed to get himself to 156, was up against Rohit Sharma. The ball turned upon the bounce and the umpire deemed it to his been an outside edge from Ballance, who was standing deep. It was, in fact, off the pad. Wicketkeeper MS Dhoni made no mistake in the simple catch, and now England are 355 for three. Here comes England No 5 Joe Root to replace.

MS Dhoni only has two men on the off side for Ballance, and India are punished as the England batsman easily finds the boundary through the covers for FOUR. India are further frustrated when Jadeja’s spinner escapes Ballance – and the wicketkeeper – and runs away to the fine leg boundary for FOUR BYES.

Pankaj Singh bowls a short ball to Bell, who steals a single with a drag to the leg side. Here comes Ballance, chasing his century-and-a-half, and the England No 3 gets it with a FOUR! Ballance, who bats at No 4 and No 5 for Yorkshire, digs his heels in and swings the ball towards square leg. That’s his 150 landmark! Bravo. A single allows the strike to reverse, and Ian Bell does more damage with ANOTHER FOUR that goes through to square third man.

Bell starts with a single that is knocked to short fine leg from a Jadeja spinner, and the strike is reversed. Ballance flicks one around the corner past the diving leg slip to add two to the left-hander’s tally. He fancies another on the fifth ball, but Bell doesn’t at the risk of being run out. Ballance times the final ball of the 114th over well for FOUR as he strikes and finds the boundary through square leg.

Bell tries his luck towards the off side but his flicks only find fielders in waiting. It’s only when he Pankaj Singh’s toss results in a knock to the absent leg side that he manages a leg bye.

Jadeja tries his specialty with Ballance, but the spinner doesn’t do much damage. The England No 3 knocks a couple to leg and off side, but doesn’t run with plenty of fielders surrounding him. The leg side is packed for Ballance, yet he unearths a FOUR that sails to the boundary at fine leg. He tries the same again, but it’s blocked by the leg slip.

India try a double bluff strategy. They bring in two slips, a leg slip and a man at short leg for Ballance. We’re all expecting the short ball, but Mohammed Shami doesn’t deliver. Ballance knocks one easily to mid-off for a single, as we reverse the strike. Bell, with the final ball of the over, has a swing and a miss.

Here comes Indian spinner Jadeja for another quick over. Ballance’s shot towards short fine leg almost creeps through but is well stopped by the fielder to prevent the four. But, as in the last over, that doesn’t stop England in the next ball. Bell, attacking Jadeja’s toss, waits for the ball to come to him and then knocks it to the fence at third man for FOUR. Another good over.

England are heading steadily in the right direction at the Ageas Bowl. A Mohammed Shami toss to Bell gets knocked to square leg, which is well stopped in the deep by Pajara as it was trickling towards the rope. Two runs means they pass their 100 partnership, too. Bell does, though, get his FOUR with the next ball as he flicks towards backward point. Another well played – and easy – over.

Couple of scares for England as Ballance tries to flick a Jadeja spinner away behind, but it only nicks off his pad and into the arms of MS Dhoni. Rather close to an inside edge, but safe in the end. Jadeja’s spinners were rather mischievous, there. Maiden over, though. Bell and Ballance’s partnership is one away from a century.

Mohammed Shami is the man on the attack against Bell, but the England No 4 gets his HALF-CENTURY with a nick to square leg for a single. Well played by Bell, who salutes the crowd. Shami, now against Ballance, fancies a bouncer but it doesn’t tempt the England batsman. His fourth ball does, though, as Ballance gets a single with a flick to short fine leg. All very easy.

Bell adds two to his tally with a top edge scoop over the top towards fine leg. Nice and clever, that. Then, comes sheer brilliance. Bell rubs salt into India’s wounds further with a SIX! He attacks the slow toss from Jadeja, and knocks it straight back up and over the bowler’s head. Sheer class from England’s No 4. He adds another single to end the over.

Pankaj Singh comes in looking for his first Test wicket, which he should have had yesterday when Alastair Cook was on 15, but there’s no such luck in this over. He bowls to Ballance across the off side as MS Dhoni places three slips, a gully and a man at leg slip, but little comes of it. Singh tries a bouncer which Bell crouches down to avoid. Maiden over.

That’s a really good first hour for England with 53 runs coming from it and no more wickets lost. Gary Ballance is showing that he is not just a grinder and can play shots out in the middle as well as in Nottingham bars.

This is becoming quietly one of the great starts to a Test career, particularly when you consider that Ballance has yet to be on a winning England Test side yet. Will that day come here in Hampshire?

Long way to go but England will never be in a better position to compile a really good score and put scoreboard pressure on India.

Here comes spinner Jadeja at the Pavillion End as India try a different approach. Bell defends well as Jadeja sees some turn in the bounce. That’s a maiden as England end the hour on 301 for two, and it’s time for drinks!

Pankaj Singh bowls to Ballance who, on the half-volley, punches firmly down the ground for two runs. Ballance, then, is given a chance to swing for FOUR and does so towards the fence past midwicket. It was air-born for some time but no danger whatsoever. England are definitely in the mood, as they add ANOTHER FOUR from Ballance towards fine leg.

That lovely steer through point was Ian Bell at his absolute best. He is such a classy player with such an important role to fill for the ‘new’ England. His poor form this summer has been one of the biggest disappointments because everything is in place for him to become the key man in this batting line up.

When he scored three centuries in the Ashes last summer I thought he was finally taking the step up from very good to great player but his demise since has been so frustrating. He and Gary Ballance have started well for England today.

Ballance is back at the crease to face Mohammed Shami, who seems to be aiming towards off stump. England’s No 3 lets a couple slip away to MS Dhoni and defends, too, before flicking one leg side to steal three runs. The ball races away between India’s men at square leg and midwicket. Bell, then, adds two for himself. England are 291 for two.

In comes Bell as we reverse the strike, who lifts his full body up on his toes in the air and nudges the ball from Pankaj Singh square for FOUR! Again, we see the sheer pace on the ball as it escapes the man at backward square leg and runs to the boundary. That’s 286 for two.

Up steps Mohammed Shami to bowl to Ballance, and the England No 3 leaves the first two well alone that creep across him and down the off side. Ballance defends the third, which is more straight and heading towards the off stump. There is an appeal from India but the ball was pitched well outside leg stump. It also carried towards leg slip but it was off the pad. That’s a maiden.

You can see how fast this new(ish) ball is on the Ageas Bowl surface. Even a simple push takes some chasing from the Indian fielders, and is letting England rack up the runs. Bell grabs a single to square leg off Kumar’s toss, before Ballance does the same to deep square.

India are yet to truly scare England after half an hour, and here comes Mohammed Shami to try his luck. Bell and Ballance steal a simple run each. Bell has a swing and a miss which creates oos and ahs from the Indian fielders, but it was easy enough. The over ends with a push through covers from Bell, and England add three to make it 280 for two.

Kumar bowls to Ballance, who leans on his back foot and swings one for FOUR through backward point. Kumar, again, offers the England batsman too much in the second ball, as Ballance gets ANOTHER FOUR – this time meeting the boundary at fine leg. Ballance is on a roll here, as he knocks Kumar’s 78mph delivery away for a THIRD FOUR through midwicket. Great over as Ballance adds 12 to his total.

Up comes Pankaj Singh to bowl to Ballance. He starts straight, forcing the England batsman to adjust his feet and go on the defensive, before bowling across Ballance, who doesn’t bite. England get a single when Ballance scoops the ball to square leg, which is manned. The final ball hits Bell high on the thigh, and the No 4 hops a couple of times. That must’ve stung.

We welcome Ballance back to the crease, and he gets underway with a run after nudging the ball to leg side. Bell, leaning forward as Kumar attacks, knocks the ball back to the bowler a couple of times. He pounces, though, on the fourth ball with a FOUR through extra cover. It was a well-timed shot that has enough pace on it to head straight for the rope.

The over starts with our first FOUR of the day from Bell, who knocks Pankaj Singh’s almost full toss behind to an absent third man, escaping the diving third slip in the process. Bell immediately follows it up with ANOTHER FOUR – this time to fine leg. He leaves the rest, all down the off side, well alone. Good over, that.

India’s Pankaj Singh pitches a delivery during the second day at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton

The third over of the day and we have our first run. Ballance nudges the ball from Kumar to cover to rotate the strike and get his and Bell’s feet going. The final ball of the 93rd over sees a double misfield and England add another run. They could have went for two, but they’re playing it safe to start with.

The strike is reversed, and we get a chance to see Ian Bell up against Pankaj Singh. His first few are wide down the off side, which Bell opts to leave well alone. He does, however, swing for the fourth and fifth ball but there’s no nick, thankfully. The ball looks fast on this slick turf, but England are just easing themselves in. No rush. Another maiden.

The first ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar is nice and simple, and Bell knocks it to square leg, where India have a man in place. MS Dhoni has also opted for three slips and a gully – the same as yesterday – but no leg slip as of yet. The first over of day two comes and goes, and it’s a maiden. Nice and simple to start.

…and we’re moments away from the second day getting going!

Ready: England head coach Peter Moores (left) and Jos Buttler before day two begins

Good morning from the Ageas Bowl where England have a fantastic chance to move into a position of real authority in this third Test. And haven’t we waited a long time to be able to say that.

They are not there yet, though. A score of 247 for two means their job is only half done and they desperately need to kick on to 500 plus now.

And it would be great if Ian Bell led the charge because he has been just as culpable as Alastair Cook for the lack of the right example from the senior players this year. Bell, like Cook, had a reprieve early in his innings when he escaped what should have been an lbw last night before he had scored and now he simply must take advantage of that.

The wicket should be at its best for batting, the skies are clear (apparently there’s a 30 per cent chance of showers this afternoon) and this Hampshire venue is set although only half full partly due to the ludicrous decision to start this match on a Sunday).

Now then England, let’s have some big runs.

We didn’t get to meet the man that replaced Matt Prior yesterday, but will we today?

568 – County Championship runs Buttler has scored for Lancashire in 2014

5 – The number of half-centuries he has scored this season, with one century

40 – His Championship average this season – seven better than his career average

121 – Top score in one-day internationals, in just 74 balls against Sri Lanka at Lord?s this year

Fancy a sneaky bet?

Coral have England at 7/5, the draw at 8/11, and India at 12/1

Michael Holding’s verdict on BBC: ‘It’s still looking to be a very good pitch. From wicket to wicket, it’s looking in excellent condition. There are few indentations.’

My verdict: There is grass on the pitch. It may not be green, but it is there, I assure you. The first hour will be crucial. The ball is new, it’s slightly overcast, the pitch can be quick. Surviving until noon will be key for Ian Bell and Gary Ballance.

Much like yesterday, it’s supposed to be overcast.

We are likely to have sunny intervals and light showers, with winds reaching 8mph.

Can England build a substantial lead? What did you make of Alastair Cook’s 95-run haul?

Let me know what you think! Tweet me

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has signed a two-year deal with Australia Twenty20 franchise the Melbourne Stars.

Pietersen has primarily played as a T20 specialist after being sacked by England following the fallout of their Ashes whitewash last winter.

The 34-year-old captained the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League earlier this year, has turned out for Surrey in the NatWest T20 Blast and is set to feature for St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League, which has already started.

Read more on KP’s new two-year deal here

Sportsmail cricket writer Lawrence Booth’s view of day one of the third Test between England and India at the Rose Bowl, which saw England captain Alastair Cook fall just short of a Test century.

Click here to read what our man Lawrence had to say

6 – India?s win over England was just their sixth in this country in 82 years

7 – England have now lost seven of their last 10 Tests, winning none

21 – England are currently on their worst run in 21 years

247 – the amount of runs England scored yesterday

37 – the amount of runs Alastair Cook has scored in three England innings (five, then 10, then 22)

95 – the amount of runs Cook scored yesterday, and the amount India beat England by at Lord?s

Plenty were backing the skipper?s 95-run haul yesterday – even Piers Morgan and Kevin Pietersen. (even though Cook surpassed KP in England?s top run-scorer leaderboard)

Alastair Cook can score runs! The England captain went way beyond the top score of 22 he managed at Lord?s (and his five at Trent Bridge) with his 95.

Cook called the toss right. India captain MS Dhoni, who didn?t even inspect the pitch beforehand, said he was ?50-50? as to whether he would have batted or bowled first. A hunch tells me he would have bowled anyway, but it looks like Cook made the correct decision to take to the crease first.

The pitch at the Ageas Bowl looks ideal. It was said to be somewhere in between that of Trent Bridge and Lord?s, and its green(ish) surface will be favoured upon by England?s new seam bowlers, Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes.

And here?s a bonus one…

– Marais Erasmus like to keep his trousers up! Who knew? The umpire, cool as you like, pulled up his pants before sending Cook on his way with 95 runs. Nicely done.

Alastair Cook admitted he had never felt under more pressure after hitting 95 as England reached an imposing 247 for two on the first day of the third Investec Test against India in Southampton.

The England captain had not reached 30 since December and came within five runs of a cathartic first Test hundred in 28 innings before being caught behind off spinner Ravindra Jadeja.

?If you?d sat here talking to me yesterday and offered me 95, I would have snapped your hand off,? said Cook.

Click here to read more of what Cook had to say

ENGLAND: 1 AN Cook (capt), 2 SD Robson, 3 GS Ballance, 4 IR Bell, 5 JE Root, 6 MM Ali, 7 JC Buttler (wk), 8 CR Woakes, 9 CJ Jordan, 10 SCJ Broad, 11 JM Anderson

INDIA: 1 M Vijay, 2 S Dhawan, 3 CA Pujara, 4 V Kohli, 5 RG Sharma, 6 AM Rahane, 7 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 8 RA Jadeja, 9 B Kumar, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Pankaj Singh

UMPIRES: Marais Erasmus (SA) & Rod Tucker (AUS)

Alastair Cook could scarcely believe his eyes as Marais Erasmus bizarrely hitched up his trousers before raising his finger and sending the England captain on his way.

He had gone so far towards the Test century that would mean more to him than any of his other 25, but ultimately he had fallen just five runs short.

The South African umpire had quite rightly detected the thinnest of bottom edges through to MS Dhoni as Cook had shaped to pull the spin of Ravindra Jadeja and cut short the innings that had done so much to salvage his career.

It did not stop the Ageas Bowl crowd giving Cook a rousing reception in keeping with the support he has received throughout his struggles, but it was a cruel moment for a captain who had battled so hard to keep his reign afloat.

Click here to read Paul Newman?s report from day one at the Ageas Bowl

Hello and welcome to the Ageas Bowl in Southampton for the second day of the third Test between England and India.

The hosts ended the first day on 247 for two, where we witnessed an out-of-form Alastair Cook take 95 before being bowled by Ravindra Jadeja and caught behind by wicketkeeper MS Dhoni.

Gary Ballance will take to the crease again this morning on 104 alongside Ian Bell on 16, as the pair look to build on their partnership and establish a hefty lead for the hosts.

Sit back and relax as Sportsmail brings you all the live ball-by-ball coverage from day two!

Comfy, Alastair? England captain Cook should be proud of the 95 he got and not the five he didn’t

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