3rd Test, Leeds, August 25 - 28, 2021, India tour of England
78 & 278

England won by an innings and 76 runs

Player Of The Match
2/16 & 5/65

Root's sublime home ton studs England's domination

Malan, Hameed chip in with half-centuries as England build gigantic lead

Stumps England 423 for 8 (Root 121, Hameed 68, Shami 3-87) lead India 78 (Anderson 3-6, Overton 3-14) by 345 runs
England just made too much ground in that middle session. Joe Root hit his third hundred of the series and sixth of the year. Dawid Malan struck a fifty. England went to tea 220 runs ahead with seven wickets in hand, and though they ended the day eight down, they scored briskly through session three as well, finishing 345 runs in front. India needed a dramatic collapse to force themselves back into the match on day two, and did their best to set one in motion during an attritional first session. But they were eventually foiled by Root in the form of his already exceptional cricketing life.
Once Root got going after lunch, India's strategy of bowling tightly and keeping the runs down - which had been somewhat successful in a morning session in which they removed the overnight batters - was essentially torn apart. It's not that Root's innings was necessarily a counterattack - he just went into ODI mode and found ways to score off even good balls, frequently deflecting balls in the arc between point and third man in particular. He was on 27 off his first 25 balls, 41 off 50, and reached triple figures off the 123rd ball he faced.
Growing in confidence as he batted in Root's slipstream, Malan grew in confidence as he hit 70 off 128 balls in his comeback Test innings. The pair's 139-run partnership was the best of the innings, just pipping Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns' opening stand, which was worth 135. Root also shared a 52-run association with Jonny Bairstow, and it is between these three stands that much of England's batting progress has been made. At stumps, they still had Craig Overton and Ollie Robinson at the crease. Both have been known to contribute handy runs at the county level.
India had a tough day, though perhaps the final session, in which they claimed five wickets, took the worst of the edge off. They are so far behind in the match that chances of victory appear remote. There are still three days left in the game, so a draw seems almost as unlikely. Still, the bowlers will be pleased that they can at least dream of wiping England's last two wickets out early on day three, when for much of Thursday, there was a strong possibility India would be made to bowl for substantial portions of Friday as well.
Mohammed Shami was the best of India's bowlers, nipping one back through the defences of Rory Burns early in the day, before having Bairstow caught at slip, and Jos Buttler out at catching midwicket after tea. Ravindra Jadeja picked up Haseeb Hameed and Moeen Ali. And although he was expensive, Mohammed Siraj took two wickets, while Bumrah claimed one. The severe disappointment in this bowling effort, however, was Ishant Sharma, who struggled for rhythm all day, rarely seemed menacing, and went at 4.18 across his 22 overs. That Kohli bowled him so much was something of a surprise.
But it was Root who really owned the day. He drove with confidence, particularly through mid-on, and through the covers, deflected no fewer than four boundaries through the third man region, and swept Jadeja against the turn without fuss, all the while picking up singles, running hard enough to squeeze out a second if the shot allows. It was a supremely busy, rather than explosive, innings.
He celebrated his 23rd hundred - drawing equal with Kevin Pietersen as the second-best England century-maker - to the adoring roar of his Yorkshire home crowd, and was out - eventually - on 121 off 165 balls, Bumrah getting him to play on. After this innings, Root has 1398 Test runs for the year, which is a monumental 688 runs more than the next-most prolific batter, Rohit Sharma. Incredibly, 875 of those runs have come against India.
Malan played England's next-best innings, scoring 51 of his 70 runs through the offside. He had had a somewhat nervy start, which was perhaps understandable for a batter playing his first Test innings in three years. But once Root got to the crease, and India's effort dipped following a tight first session, Malan was happier to free his arms, and join Root in his brisk accumulation through the middle session. Together, the batters consolidated the gains made by Hameed and Burns, and ensured that England's grip on the Test became even tighter.
Earlier in the day, India's bowlers had bowled a largely immaculate line-and-length to concede just 62 runs in the first session. They tied both Burns and Hameed down before dismissing them, and perhaps went to lunch feeling they were on the brink of breaking through the middle order as well. Root was always going to be the big wicket. He is in such form that his ruining of India's plan seemed effortless.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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