England assistant coach Paul Collingwood asserted that the hosts won’t be ‘scared’ to chase down any total should the conditions remain skewed in favour of batting. Handy contributions from the middle-order saw England take a 99-run lead, but the Indian batsmen cashed in on a good batting day on Day 3 to take a 171-run lead at stumps. With seven wickets still in hand, the visitors look on par to setting a target well above 300.
How much the conditions will change in the final two days remains to be seen, but Collingwood threw his weight behind the English batsmen.
"The conditions looked good for batting so we should not be scared of whatever total they set. Hope we have a good day tomorrow,” Collingwood said on Saturday.
The 45-year-old, however, was hopeful of the bowlers restricting the Indian batsmen on Day 4. The hosts will have a relatively fresh ball at the start of Day 4 (a 12-over-old ball), and Collingwood insisted that, should there be any help on offer, his side would be looking to target the brittle Indian middle-order.
"We have seen throughout the Test series, momentum shifted very quickly. If we can get some movement, we can exploit the conditions and put the middle and tail order under pressure.”
There was, however, little to no seam and swing on Day 3, and the lack of movement left Collingwood surprised. England ground hard to take three wickets, and the assistant coach revealed that the hosts were ‘pretty surprised’ that they could not get the Dukes ball moving.
"I thought we were very disciplined and stuck to task all day. But one thing that surprised us was the lack of swing from the duke ball," the former England captain told reporters in a virtual interaction after the day's proceedings.
"We all know once there's some movement in the air, and the wicket with some carry it would trouble the Indian batsmen. So we were pretty surprised and could not get the swing. We tried everything with it, changing the shining side but could not get movement.”
The lack of swing on offer meant that the conditions were friendly for the visitors, who showed laudable application to blunt the English bowlers. The star of the day for India was none other than Rohit Sharma, who showcased patience of the highest order to bring up his maiden overseas Test ton. Collingwood was full of praise for Rohit and all the other Indian batsmen for digging in and batting the way they did.
"I thought we asked questions all day. But a lot of credit goes to the Indian batsmen with Rohit at the top of the order. We had to wait for the breakthrough, thankfully we got it with the help of the second new ball."