Craig Overton insists England still remain confident of levelling the series against India at Headingley

Craig Overton insists England are still in a great position to level their five-match series against India, despite a spirited rearguard action from India’s top order on day three of the third Test at Emerald Headingley.

England boasted a first innings lead of 354 after being bowled out for 432 on Friday morning, before India responded by reaching 215-2 at stumps, trailing by 139 runs.

Cheteshwar Pujara frustrated Joe Root’s men with an unbeaten 91, compiling an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 99 with Virat Kohli (45no), after Rohit Sharma (59) had earlier registered his 14th Test half-century.

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England vs India

August 28, 2021, 10:15am

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“We knew they would come back and fight again today. We know what they are like as a team and what their characters are like, so we knew it would be tricky,” Overton said.

“Credit to them, they played really well and made it hard for us, and we’ve got to come back tomorrow and show what we can do again.

“We’re still in a great position in this game, especially with the new ball in the morning. If we get a couple of early wickets then we can hammer it home a bit more.”

England may consider themselves unfortunate to have claimed just two wickets across a gruelling day of action, with Overton, Jimmy Anderson and Ollie Robinson producing a series of high-quality spells, particularly in the opening two sessions.

Sky Sports’ Michael Holding also felt England’s bowlers performed better than the scorecard suggests, but he was full of praise for the discipline and resolve shown by India’s batsmen after their abject first-innings display.

“I would not fault the England bowlers. They were a little unfortunate in that quite a few balls went past the outside edge – which did not happen in the first innings,” Holding told Sky Sports.

“The pitch has flattened out; a little bit of swing was still there today but not a lot of lateral movement. You have to give a lot of credit to the Indian batsmen.”

England will begin day four with the second new ball at their disposal, and Overton admits the morning session could prove decisive in the final reckoning.

“I think all of us bowlers will be hunting to try and get them out. We probably go about it in a different way than what they were [at Lord’s], so we’ve just got to make sure we stick to how we work best as a unit, and we’ll get the rewards from there,” he added.

“It is always nice to get a game and get a few runs with the bat, and then contribute with the ball. Obviously I would like to be doing more, but I think that is just me as a character.”

Overton relishing Test return…

“It will be massive. We have to be on it from ball one, hopefully we can get those couple of early wickets. Obviously if they start really well then we’ve got a real scrap of a game on.”

Overton is featuring in his first Test match since 2019, and the Somerset seamer has impressed with bat and ball on his return to action.

The 27-year-old boasted figures of 3-14 from 10.4 overs in the first innings, before producing a useful cameo with the bat – making 32 from just 42 deliveries before succumbing to Mohammed Shami.

Overton, who has taken 37 wickets in the County Championship this term, also claimed the wicket of KL Rahul on the stroke of lunch on day three, but he insists there is still more to come.

“I’ve obviously been away for a couple of years and obviously been around the squads, and been around certain Test sides, so I still feel like I’ve contributed even though I haven’t played,” Overton continued.

“It is always nice to get a game and get a few runs with the bat, and then contribute with the ball. Obviously I would like to be doing more, but I think that is just me as a character.

“I always like to be contributing to the team, so hopefully I can come back tomorrow and get a few more wickets.

“I have not played much red ball cricket in a while, but that rustiness is going now, and I feel like I’m getting back into the red ball game which is nice.”

Watch day four of the third Test between England and India live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.15am on Saturday.

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