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Sarfaraz Khan’s cheeky Sachin Tendulkar-ish ramp shot frustrates Mark Wood, England pacer tries to…

The two boundaries Sarfaraz Khan hit off Mark Wood in the 76th over roughed up the England pacer.

Sarfaraz Khan scored an excellent half-century to shut the door on England’s comeback as he forged a solid fifty partnership and counting with debutant Devdutt Padikkal. Sarfaraz’s third fifty formed the crux of India’s counter-attack after they were dealt consecutive blows in the form of the set Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma shortly after tea, but that was all the success coming England’s way as the two young batters made the most of this run-fest of a pitch to keep going from strength to strength.

Words exchanged between Sarfaraz Khan and Mark Wood.(Screengrab)

Sarfaraz was on 2 when Stokes dropped a caught and bowled off a no-ball. He took a couple of boundaries off Tom Hartley to look a lot more confident but it was his twin boundaries off Mark Wood in the 76th over that smashed the momentum out of England. He smashed Wood with an aerial drive down the ground and then cheekily executed the vintage Sachin Tendulkar ramp shot.

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The second one in particular, messed Wood up who then tried to get under the batter’s skin. Next up, as the ball landed on the ground after hitting Sarfaraz, despite the batter being safely inside his crease, Wood ran in and tried to kick the ball onto the stumps. The ball missed the wickets but Wood’s eyes did not miss Sarfaraz’s. Wood muttered a few words before returning to his mark, but it did little to ruffle Sarfaraz, who motored along at the same speed. On 43, Sarfaraz hit two fours in three balls to reach his half-century.

He didn’t stop there. Sarfaraz went on to flick Wood for another four the next over and followed it with a six. It was almost as if Sarfaraz’s assault was fueled by the initial exchange Ben Stokes had with him, or the sarcastic smile the England captain wore on his face when the batter got a streak boundary off the edge. Half an hour later, the entire scenario had changed and Sarfaraz was on top.

Sarfaraz, Padikkal’s fighting stand

When Ben Stokes knocked over Rohit Sharma followed by James Anderson’s dismissal of Shubman Gill, India were left three down for 279. One more wicket and it could have brought England right back in the game, but Sarfaraz and Padikkal extinguished those hopes and slowly and steadily solidified India’s ascendency in the Test.

Initially, Padikkal was the more free-flowing of the two, while Sarfaraz looked a little edgy in the crease. However, as he played himself in, Sarfraz found his range and took on the bowlers. He was on 8 when Padikkal was on 33. By tea, his score had raced to 56 and Padikkal unbeaten on 44 as India reached 373/3, ahead of England by 158 runs.


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