In an enthralling morning session, Bairstow passed fifty for the fourth consecutive innings and went on to reach an early lunch unbeaten on 91, having somehow survived a terrific opening spell from Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, while Stokes was out to a brilliant Bumrah catch for 25 after twice being dropped.
Having resumed on 84 for five, England scored quickly to add 116 runs in just 18.3 overs for only the loss of Stokes, but even with Bairstow nearing a third century in as many Tests, the hosts have work to do to attain something close to first innings parity, currently 200 for 6, still a way behind India’s total of 416.
Bairstow’s innings, which included 12 fours and two sixes, was made all the more remarkable by the fact that for the first 25 minutes of the day he barely laid bat on ball.
Why do opposing teams keep making Jonny Bairstow angry lol, he gets 10x better.
Give him a gift basket each morning, let him know you’re having his car valeted while he’s batting. Anything to keep him happy 😂
— Jimmy Neesham (@JimmyNeesh) July 3, 2022
The Yorkshire batter’s first 13 runs took 63 balls to arrive as he was beaten time and again by the probing pair of Bumrah and Shami, who had so tormented England’s top order on a rain-interrupted second day and were between them able to bowl 31 of the first 34 overs of the reply because of the stop-start nature of the innings.
Stokes and Bairstow were beginning to assert themselves when the skipper enjoyed his first let-off, a high top-edge shelled in comical fashion by Shardul Thakur off Shami having looked resigned to his fate on 18.
He was dropped again, this time off the bowling of Thakur driving to Bumrah at mid-off but the stand-in skipper made amends with a stunning effort diving to his left as Stokes attempted the same shot the very next ball.
Bairstow had a reprieve himself when successfully reviewing an lbw decision on 89 and then moved into the nineties before rain forced lunch 15 minutes ahead of schedule, with Sam Billings not out on seven at the other end.