NOTTINGHAM, England (Reuters) – England will have to set a new record for the highest successful fourth-innings chase if they are to win the third test against India after the dominant tourists reached tea on 270 for three – a lead of 438 – with captain Virat Kohli unbeaten on 93.
Having started the third day on 124 for two India were barely troubled through two sessions of steady, if unspectacular, accumulation under grey skies on Monday.
England’s sole success came early in the afternoon when Cheteshwar Pujara, who had been dropped in the morning on 40, was caught at first slip by Alastair Cook off the bowling of Ben Stokes for 72, ending his partnership with Kohli at 113.
Ajinkya Rahane replaced him and was 17 not out at the break.
Kohli, who was out for 97 in the first innings, took few risks during two sessions short on sparks and is expected to declare once he has reached his century.
Only four teams have scored more than 400 to win a test, West Indies’ 418 to beat Australia in 2003 being the highest. The highest fourth-innings winning test total at Trent Bridge is 284 by England against New Zealand in 2004.
England, who lead the five-test series 2-0, suffered a blow during the morning when wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow had to leave the ground with what turned out to be a fractured finger.
Bairstow, a key part of the home team’s batting line-up, was hit on the end of the middle finger by a James Anderson delivery but is expected to bat in their second innings.
(Reporting by Simon Evans/Mitch Phillips; Editing by Ed Osmond)