KL Rahul fell one short of a maiden double-hundred after leading India’s response to England’s 477 in excellent batting conditions at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. India dominated the first and third sessions of day three, thanks to two big partnerships involving Rahul: 152 for the first wicket with Parthiv Patel, and 161 for the fourth with Karun Nair. At stumps, India trailed by 86 with six wickets in hand, with Nair batting on 71. With him on 17 was M Vijay, who came in at No. 6 rather than his customary position at the top of the order because of a shoulder injury sustained while fielding.
Having been at the crease for more than 100 overs, Rahul fell with stumps imminent. He walked off distraught, after reaching for a loopy, wide ball from Adil Rashid and spooning a catch to cover point, but by then he had ensured India were the likeliest of the two sides to force a win over the last two days.
The draw, though, still seemed the likeliest result. It took until the 102nd over of India’s innings for England to call for their first review (another followed in the very next over; both were unsuccessful), indicating how friendly conditions were to bat in. But given the skill of India’s spinners, they may yet coax more life out of the Chepauk soil than their England counterparts.