In what has been a forgettable Test match thus far, the biggest positive has been been the manner in which Ben Foakes has performed both in front and especially behind the stumps.
England did not give a single extra away during India’s first innings, which was as much as a testimony to their bowling attack’s discipline as it was to the incredible wicketkeeping of Ben Foakes, who did not concede a single bye on a raging turner.
Ben Foakes, who is also celebrating his birthday today, was at it again on the third morning of the ongoing Test as he affected two incredible stumpings, which could have made even the likes of MS Dhoni proud.
The first of those stumpings came against Rohit Sharma. Just like the first innings, Jack Leach drew Rohit forward and got the ball to dip and whiz past the opener’s outside edge.
And, Ben Foakes did the rest. He collected the ball cleanly and before Rohit could try and get his foot behind the popping crease, Foakes and whiplash hands dislodged the bails in a jiffy. Once again, the third umpire came into play but unlike the first innings where Rohit was given the benefit of doubt in a similar case, this time the rub of the green went with England.
This was the second wicket that England dislodged in the morning session of the third day. The first wicket came in the form of Cheteshwar Pujara, who could not get back into the crease after playing the ball to short-leg as his bat got stuck in the pitch.
Since then, England has claimed two more wickets in the form of Rishabh Pant and Ajinkya Rahane. While Pant failed to connect the ball after he had danced down the track against Jack Leach, only to see Ben Foakes dislodge the stumps at MSD-esque speed, Ajinkya Rahane fell to Moeen Ali in a typical bat-pad dismissal.
At the time of writing, India were 5/97 with an overall lead of 292 runs.