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Stokes, Bairstow fifties launch England fightback

VISAKHAPATNAM: Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow hit half-centuries and combined in a sixth-wicket stand of 110 to launch England’s fightback against India in the second test on Saturday.

The pair kept the hosts at bay all morning on the third day before being separated 10 minutes before lunch as England reached 191 for six at the break, replying to India’s first innings 455.

Umesh Yadav finally accounted for Bairstow (53), the paceman’s delivery hitting the batsman’s pad before crashing onto the stumps. Left-hander Stokes was unbeaten on 55 while Adil Rashid was not out on one at the other end.

After reducing England to 80-5 in the final session on Friday, India’s spinners were expected to roll over the touring side on the third morning but Stokes and Bairstow, resuming on 103-5, showed great determination to frustrate the hosts.

The pair defended resolutely but also put any loose balls away to keep the scoreboard ticking over. India had their opportunities but failed to make them count.

Stokes, who survived a close call on Friday when a delivery from debutant off-spinner Jayant Yadav kissed but did not dislodge his bail, had another slice of luck when wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha missed a stumping chance off Ravichandran Ashwin with the batsman on 21.

Batting on 18, Bairstow also saw an edge of paceman Yadav fly between the first and second slip.



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