England built a strong platform on Day 2 of the third Test against India at the Ageas Bowl, declaring their innings at 569-7.
Ian Bell scored 167, narrowly eclipsing team-mate Gary Ballance's 156, before debutant Jos Buttler crashed a quickfire 85 on a day when bat dominated ball.
In response, India were asked to negotiate 14 overs before stumps and reached 25-1 by the close, losing Shikhar Dhawan.
England's total looks impressive on the scorecard, but a truer picture will emerge after India's first innings—it may be that the Southampton wicket is simply a batsman's paradise.
|England, 1st Innings Scorecard|
|Cook||c Dhoni||b Jadeja||95||290||231|
|Robson||c Jadeja||b Shami||26||89||59|
|Ballance||c Dhoni||b Ro Sharma||156||380||288|
|Bell||c Singh||b B Kumar||167||352||256|
|Root||c Dhoni||b B Kumar||3||42||25|
|Moeen||c Rahane||b B Kumar||12||40||28|
|Extras||0nb 2w 5b 11lb||18|
|Total||for 7 (163.4 ovs)||569|
Resuming on 247-2 overnight, England had the ideal platform from which to build.
Ian Bell scores his first 100 in 20 innings. He's also become the 4th youngest England player to score 7000 test runs #engvind— BBC TMS (@bbctms) July 28, 2014
Ballance and Bell settled in methodically, accumulating at a steady pace. The dismissal of Ballance, unflappable in his highest England score yet, was a surprise and a mistake.
Part-time spinner Rohit Sharma's delivery was a fine one, turning and teasing, but replays showed Ballance had not edged it behind as the umpire first thought.
Joe Root's vigil ended timidly, strolling down the wicket and offering catching practice to MS Dhoni with a faint edge, while Moeen Ali could only add 12 before making a meal of a bouncer from Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
For the left-hander, his dismissal—not the first time the short ball has bested him—will be England's biggest cause for concern.
Buttler's debut innings could also have been brief, but luck was very much on his side. He was caught out at slip early in his innings, only to get a reprieve when replays to show whether the ball had bounced first were inconclusive. Later, on 23, he gave an even simpler chance at slip and was put down.
India's standards deteriorated as the day wore on, perhaps no surprise after five sessions in the field, and Bell and Buttler took full advantage, unfurling their full range of shots.
Bell's knock was finally ended on 167, but Buttler continued until he inside-edged Ravindra Jadeja's spin on to his own stumps.
At that point Alastair Cook declared England's innings and had a short tilt at India.
|India, 1st Innings Scorecard|
|Dhawan||c Cook||b Anderson||6||29||17|
|Extras||0nb 0w 4b 0lb||4|
|Total||for 1 (14.0 ovs)||25|
The tourists began brightly and resolutely, but James Anderson struck a crucial early blow when he got the out-of-form opener Dhawan tickling behind to Cook in the slips.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay left judiciously and saw their way to the close—but there will be plenty more batting to do for the tourists on Day 3.
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