London: Playing in his final Test, Alastair Cook looked solid and helped England take the upper hand in the fifth and final rubber against India despite Ravindra Jadeja’s batting heroics, at the end of day 3 here on Sunday.
At close of play, Cook was unbeaten on 46 runs in his last international innings as England reached 114/2.
Captain Joe Root (29 batting) was at the crease alongwith the veteran southpaw as the pair put on 52 runs for the third wicket to help the hosts take a 154-run lead.
Earlier, all-rounder Jadeja, coming back into the fold, remained unbeaten on 86 while debutant Hanuma Vihari scored 56 to help the tourists trim the lead to 40 after resuming the day on 174/6.
India posted 292 in reply to England’s first innings total of 332.
In the third and final session, Cook and Keaton Jennings (10) stretched their opening partnership to 27.
Things did not work for India as they spurned two reviews on the openers within three overs after the break.
On both occasions, Jadeja (1/36) and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant were at fault for asking skipper Virat Kohli to go for the reviews, despite the ball missing the off-stump.
Mohammed Shami (1-32) then got rid of out-of-form Jennings.
Cook and Moeen Ali (20) joined hands for a 35-run partnership for the second wicket and took England past 50.
Moeen was dropped by KL Rahul at second slip off Ishant Sharma (0/11) when he was batting on 14.
Jadeja did get Moeen soon after, bowling him through the gate as the ball spun a mile after kicking up from the rough.
India changed the ball on two occasions but Cook and Root used their reservior of experience to see the final overs with aplomb bringing up their 50-stand off 80 balls.
The score crossed 100 in the 38th over as the hosts assumed a commanding position in this Test.
Earlier in the day, half-centuries by Vihari and Jadeja helped India get close to England’s first innings total.
Resuming the third day at 174/6, Vihari and Jadeja played sensibly.
Vihari notched up his maiden Test half-century before edging a Moeen delivery to England wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow, while Jadeja’s 156-ball knock brought the visitors back in contest as India were once reeling at 160/6.
The all-rounder was involved in a 77-run partnership with Vihari before stitching 32 runs with tailender Jasprit Bumrah (0).
India had lost the wicket of Ishant Sharma (4) and Bumrah in the post-lunch session. While Ishant’s thick edge went into Bairstow’s gloves, Bumrah was run out, the last wicket to fall.
For England, Moeen, Ben Stokes and James Anderson had scalped two wickets each.
Brief scores: England 332 and 20/0 (Alastair Cook 13, Keaton Jennings 7) vs India 292 (Ravindra Jadeja 86, Hanuma Vihari 56; James Anderson 2/30) at Tea on Day 3.