England captain Ben Stokes produced a stunning moment on the field during Day 3 of the second Test against India, as he took a brilliant backward-running catch to help dismiss Shreyas Iyer. The Indian batter had been in impressive touch before a mistimed shot against spinner Tom Hartley travelled towards the long-off boundary. Stokes, who stood at mid-off, ran the length for a stupendous catch.
Sprinting around 25 yards from mid-off, Stokes executed a perfect dive for the catch that initially looked seemingly impossible. Aiming to loft a full delivery over the infield, Iyer found his bat turning upon impact, denying him the desired distance.
The dismissal was harsh, indeed, for Iyer, who is known for his prowess against spin bowling. Additionally, this was the first time he attempted to take on the spinner in the second innings.
Ironically, Iyer had taken a reasonably similar catch at backward point to cut short a dangerous-looking Zak Crawley’s knock for 76 in the first innings.
With this dismissal, Shreyas Iyer’s struggles continue in the longest format of the game. His recent Test performances have been inconsistent, with scores of 31, 6, 0, 4*, 35, 13, and 29 in his last seven innings.
However, Iyer’s innings on Sunday stood out as his most assured display in recent memory. He displayed confidence by rotating the strike effectively and showcasing solidity in defence. Additionally, he appeared composed and unfazed, which is why the India batter must be rueing at another wasted opportunity.
India had begun the proceedings on Day 3 unbeaten on 28 but lost the wickets of Rohit Sharma (13) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (17) in quick intervals. While veteran pacer James Anderson castled Indian captain Rohit with a delivery shaping away from a right-hander, Jaiswal found an outside edge carried to Joe Root at slips.
Shubman Gill and Iyer, then, led a rebuild and seemed to have dented England’s attempts to create early pressure, adding 81 runs for the third wicket. Gill reached a much-needed half-century in 60 balls, showing an aggressive intent from ball one. Iyer, too, looked relatively more composed than his earlier outings in the series but failed to convert.
Earlier, Jasprit Bumrah bowled an emphatic spell during Day 2 as India bowled the visitors out on 253 after posting 396 on the board in the first innings. Bumrah picked six wickets, conceding 45 runs; it was his 10th five-wicket haul in the longest format.