England’s bowlers, lead by Dom Bess’ four-for, blitzed India after their batsmen did just so in scoring a massive first innings total
England came into day three of the Test 558-8 but India wrapped it up with just 20 runs added in the morning session.
The hosts needed somebody in the top order to bat big and deep, but they soon found themselves in significant trouble at 73-4.
Jofra Archer looked like he was bowling on a completely different wicket to the India seamers, finding bounce and movement off the deck. He dismissed Rohit Sharma with a back of a length delivery that nipped away and caught the edge. He then set Shubman Gill up for a loose shot after a period of sustained pressure.
The big wicket of Virat Kohli followed when spinner Bess got one to rip back off the deck. Kohli wafted at it, only to catch an inside edge that spat to Ollie Pope at short leg. The moment of the innings to date was reserved for Joe Root though. The England skipper took an absolute blinder at short cover, diving at full extension, to dismiss Ajinkya Rahane.
However, Cheteshwa Pujara and Rishabh Pant, halted the slide, Pujara in his usual methodical and measured manner, Pant showing zero interest in such conventions.
The left-hander is diminutive in physical stature alone. His technique, bravery and temperament makes him a giant in India’s line-up, as his predecessor MS Dhoni once was. The Test team has lost an invaluable asset in Dhoni, but it appears the wait for a successor of equal potency was short-lived.
Pant and Pujara put on 119 before the latter was dismissed in the most bizarre fashion, pulling a short Bess delivery into the body of the short leg. The ball then deflected to the short-midwicket who took an easy catch. Pujara, out for 73, slapped his bat into his pad in frustration as England celebrated a fortunate but crucial wicket.
Pant sadly followed shortly thereafter, falling nine runs short of another century, after Bess deceived him in the flight and got him to pick out the man on the boundary.
Washington Sundar and Ravi Ashwin resisted determinedly to stumps, leaving India 321 runs behind and in danger of following on.