Ravi Ashwin scored a century in front of his home crowd in Chennai to help India set England a target of 482.
India have controlled the Test from the outset and never relinquished their hold since. Day three was no different, as Ashwin followed up his first innings heroics with the ball, with excellence at the crease.
His 106 was the third time in history he has scored a century after taking five or more wickets in an innings. Only Sir Ian Botham has done this more than Ashwin (five times).
Ashwin is having a golden summer. He contributed significantly to India’s famous series win in Australia, and now has breathed life into India’s bid to level the series.
They had around 200 overs to take the 10 wickets needed for victory. Ashwin and spin twin Axar Patel will be expected to carry the bulk of the workload on a wicket that is spinning and bouncing viciously.
The position of strength was set up by a partnership between Ashwin and Virat Kohli after the team had later slumped to 106-6. The pair put on 96, Kohli breaking a lean spell with a well-played 62.
Mohammed Siraj then summoned all his powers of concentration to see Ashwin through to his century, greeted with loud roars by Ashwin’s hometown crowd.
The England batsmen struggled from the outset, unable to consistently deal with the turn and bounce Patel and Ashwin were able to generate.
Patel was particularly dangerous, bowling into the foot marks outside the right-hander’s off stump, from where the ball would burst and travel unpredictably.
He trapped Dom Sibley lbw early in the piece, and followed that up by dismissing nightwatchman Jack Leash first ball, just after Ashwin dismissed Rory Burns.
There was drama in the penultimate over when Joe Root was given not out after an lbw appeal. Ball tracking had it down as hitting outside, however, replays clearly showing the impact was in line and therefore out. The umpire’s call stood, much to captain Kohli’s disgust.
England were 53-3 at stumps, still trailing by 429 runs.