England in command in Southampton

England

England held a commanding lead of 544 runs at stumps on day two of the third Test against India in Southampton, after Gary Ballance and Ian Bell's big centuries saw them declare late in the day.

England held a commanding lead of 544 runs at stumps on day two of the third Test against India in Southampton, after Gary Ballance and Ian Bell's big centuries saw them declare late in the day.

India were on 25 for one at the close, having lost Shikhar Dhawan, and staring England's 569 for seven in the face. Aside from Ballance and Bell's 150-plus knocks, Jos Buttler made 83 on debut too.

England started the day on 247 for two, with Ballance already a century to the good, on 104, and Bell on just 16. The pair got cracking as soon as they got the middle, with Bell reaching his 50 within the first hour.

Ballance advanced to his highest Test score, beating his previous best of 110, and then passed the 150 mark too, off 278 balls. He was out for 156 though, just before lunch, edging Rohit Sharma behind for MS Dhoni to catch.

After lunch, Joe Root didn't last much longer as he fell for three off 25 balls. Moeen Ali soon followed, having made just 12, both out to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. This didn't bother Bell though, as he continued to rack up the runs.

He reached his first century in 20 innings after drinks in the afternoon, taking pressure off his shoulder after also suffering a dire run of form. He took full advantage of having Buttler with him though, and they batted at ODI pace.

Buttler looked impressive in his first knock in whites, defying his skipper's earlier assessment that he was 'not ready' for Test cricket, and had soon raced to 80 at better than a run a ball, three sixes included.

Bell was out for 167 to Kumar, and still the declaration failed to come. Cook was clearly waiting for Buttler to get his ton, but it was not to be, as he was bowled by Ravi Jadeja for 83 and the skipper waved Chris Woakes inside, on seven.

This left India with 14 overs to endure, with the conditions making for good swing. While the England bowlers against failed to make the batsmen play, James Anderson was on the money and removed Dhawan for six before the close.

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