Fifth Test: India reach 256/3 at tea

Chennai, Dec 18 (IANS) Lokesh Rahul completed his century as India posted 256/3 in their first innings at tea on the third day of the fifth and final cricket Test here on Sunday.

Rahul was unbeaten on 133 runs at tea with Karun Nair on 19 at the other end.

India lost the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Virat Kohli cheaply between the lunch and tea breaks.

Pujara eged a Ben Stokes delivery to Alistair Cook in the slips while Kohli’s attempted drive off Stuart Broad found Keaton Jennings at extra cover.

Stokes and Broad returned figures respectively of 1/37 and 1/33 with off-spinner Moeen Ali (1/56) the only other England bowler to manage a wicket.

Earlier, resuming the day at 60/0, Rahul and wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel completed their half-centuries as the hosts gave a perfect reply to England’s handsome first innings total of 477 all out.

Patel, who has shown excellent form with the bat after returning to the Indian team after a gap of several years, scored 71 runs before stepping out to Ali only to top-edge a spinning delivery to Jos Buttler at cover.

Patel’s 112-ball stay in the middle contained seven hits to the fence. This was his sixth half-century in Test cricket.

Rahul and Patel made their intentions clear from the beginning, as Parthiv drove brilliantly towards mid-on off a delivery from pacer Stuart Broad in just the second over of the day.

Then, it was Rahul who hammered two sixes — both over long-on — in the third and fifth over bowled by left-arm spinner Liam Dawson. Broad too was at the receiving end of the punishment from Rahul and Patel.

As the duo reached their 100-run stand with smooth batting display, the runs came at a steady clip.

Parthiv, who scored his sixth fifty in Test cricket, hit seven boundries during his 71-run knock that ended when the left-hander top-edged a spinning delivery from Moeen Ali to Jos Buttler at cover.

Rahul, who registered his second half-century in his young Test career, had eight fours and two sixes.

Brief scores:

India (First Innings): 256/3 (Lokesh Rahul 133 batting) vs England (First Innings): 477.