Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
India 78 and 215 for 2 (Pujara 91*, Rohit 59, Kohli 45*) trail England 432 (Root 121, Malan 70, Hameed 68, Burns 61, Shami 4-95, Bumrah 2-59) by 139 runs
On day three, Headingley was the scene of a fightback. From India in general, whose openers battled through the early overs, resisted James Anderson, and whose top order lost only the wicket of KL Rahul in the first 47 overs they faced. From Cheteshwar Pujara in particular, who overcame a streak of 12 innings in which he did not pass 50 once, to finish the day as his team's top-scorer, nine runs short of what would be his first century since January 2019.
They still have a mountain to summit if they are to put any real pressure on England. They remain 139 runs in arrears at stumps, and crucially, will have to face the second new ball the moment play starts on day four. But at times on day three, their top order appeared comfortable on a surface that was not offering much in the way of seam movement, even if swing in the air was gleaned with the new ball. You suspect they would have to bat for most of day four - if not part way into day five, to really make England worried. But with the score at 215 for 2, their resistance has a start. Virat Kohli was largely untroubled during his unbeaten 45 as well.
England will feel that perhaps their quicks were not menacing enough for long periods. Anderson did not glean the movement he had on day one, and occasionally strayed too far to leg as he went looking for big swing. They also only got nine overs out of Sam Curran, who was wayward and expensive, going at 4.44 an over.
Craig Overton made the first breakthrough, when he had Rahul caught brilliantly at second slip by a diving Jonny Bairstow off the last ball of the first session, but it was Ollie Robinson who was England's best, frequently nibbling balls back into the India batter's pads. Rahul was given out in Robinson's fifth over, but managed to overturn that decision on review (the ball was just sliding down leg). In his tenth over, another close shout against Rohit Sharma was (correctly) turned down. He'd eventually get Rohit lbw for 59, but was in good rhythm right through the day, conceding only 40 from his 18 overs.
But it was Pujara, whose place in the team was under serious scrutiny, that produced Friday's definitive performance. Having arrived at the crease without a fifty since February, and a century in over two-and-a-half years, he was done a favour by the England seamers, who kept straying too far down leg - balls Pujara, even in this form - whipped emphatically to the legside boundary. After his first 13 balls, Pujara had three boundaries and 14 runs to his name, and appeared somewhat at ease. Suddenly, he was leaving judiciously, defending resolutely, while waiting for the loose deliveries, which he gleefully punished. Of his first 32 runs, 28 came from boundaries. Only two of those seven boundaries came on the off side.
Rohit, meanwhile, was himself defending and leaving happily, as the pair batted out a wicketless second session. He didn't get as many loose legside deliveries as Pujara, but when he got balls he could hit, he wasn't shy about hitting out. Late in the first session, a slightly wide bouncer from Robinson disappeared over the third man boundary, having been uppercut - India's only six so far in the match. He was outscored by Pujara in the course of their 82-run stand, but he got to his half-century off the 125th ball he faced. He'd seemed the most comfortable of all India's batters in the first two sessions, but nevertheless, could not push on much further after the tea break. He reviewed the lbw decision, having missed a slightly angled ball from Robinson, but ball tracker showed it to be shaving leg stump.
Kohli, himself struggling for form, won his first battle with Anderson - who had got him in the first innings - when he clipped him through backward square, and smoked him through extra cover three balls later, early in his innings. At no stage did he really look to impose himself, though. Taking cues from Rohit and Pujara, perhaps, he worked the singles and twos, and largely waited for the wayward balls - Curran providing more than his share of them - to register boundaries.
As the skies had been gloomy right through the day, floodlights had been on since the middle session, and when the umpires told Joe Root only slow bowlers could operate after the end of the 69th over, Root brought himself into the attack. Root's intention, perhaps, was to rush a few overs and get England to that 80 over mark, when the second new ball would be available, and they could take it at the top of day four, their seamer's having had their night's rest. The umpires allowed Root and Moeen to bowl until the 80th over, but these were largely bloodless overs; India's batters were happy to keep gradually adding to their scores.
The new-ball showdown awaits first thing on Saturday.
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