Ahmedabad Test: Pant, Sundar hand India precious lead

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant scored his third Test hundred. Photo: Reuters

Rishabh Pant launched a spectacular late assault in his flamboyant 101 to put India in charge of the fourth and final Test against England in Ahmedabad on Friday.

Ben Stokes led England's lion-hearted bowling effort in the first two sessions but Pant's century-plus partnership with Washington Sundar tilted the game in favour of the hosts who finished day two on 294/7.

Sundar was batting on 60 at stumps and Axar Patel was on 11 with India 89 ahead after being 121/5 at one stage.

Having posted a below-par 205, England could not afford to let India get off to a flying start and their bowlers responded brilliantly after the hosts resumed the day on 24/1.

James Anderson bowled a tight line while Stokes, who battled an upset stomach on Thursday and still top-scored with 55, was relentlessly hostile.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes got the prized scalp of Virat Kohli. Photo: Twitter/ICC

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach earned the breakthrough trapping the obdurate Cheteshwar Pujara lbw for 17.

Stokes bent his back to generate awkward bounce and one such delivery fetched him the prize wicket of Virat Kohli. The Indian captain could merely nick the rising delivery behind to be dismissed for an eight-ball duck.

Rohit Sharma, who made 49, was smacked on his helmet by another such delivery from Stokes.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma fought hard for his 49. Photo: Twitter/BCCI

The all-rounder returned after the lunch break to deny Rohit his fifty and Leach sent back Ravichandran Ashwin to peg back India.

Pant began cautiously but accelerated spectacularly, especially after England took the second new ball. The left-hander nonchalantly reverse-swept Anderson to race into the 90s and slog-swept Joe Root for a six to bring up his third Test century.

The England duo combined to end his swashbuckling innings as he swatted an Anderson delivery to Root at short mid-wicket.

Pant's 118-ball blitz was studded with 13 boundaries and two sixes.

Sundar hit eight boundaries against a tired-looking England attack.

India are leading the series 2-1 and need just a draw to qualify for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand to be held in June.

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