EDGBASTON: Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma ripped through the cream of England’s batting to leave India in command on the third day of the first Test at Edgbaston on Friday.
At lunch, England had slumped to 86 for six in their second innings, a lead of just 99 runs.
Fast bowler Sharma, who at lunch had figures of three for 21 in 6.4 overs, took two wickets in three balls just before the interval to set the seal on a dominant morning for India in the opening match of a five-Test series.
Sharma had Jonny Bairstow (28) taken by Shikhar Dhawan at first slip and two balls later he dismissed Ben Stokes (six) via a fine low catch by India captain Virat Kohli at third slip off what became the last ball of the session as England, in their 1,000th Test match, suffered a familiar collapse.
Off-spinner Ashwin, who took four for 62 in England’s first-innings 287, had earlier removed the top three for a lunch haul of three for 34 in 15 overs.
England had been on course to build a first-innings lead of more than a hundred runs.
But a masterful 149 by Kohli, the star batsman’s first Test century in England, took India to 274 all out, a deficit of just 13 runs.
And before Thursday’s close, India captured the prize wicket of Alastair Cook, England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, for a duck when, for the second time this match, Ashwin bowled him with a brilliant delivery that pitched on middle and hit the off-stump.
It was not long on Friday before Ashwin removed Keaton Jennings, another left-handed opener, after England resumed on nine for one, a lead of 22 runs.
England were 18 for two when Jennings (eight), nicked Ashwin to KL Rahul at second slip.
Ashwin struck again when England captain Joe Root, his team’s best batsman, saw a genuine clip off pads lead to an excellent low catch at leg-slip by Rahul.
Root, who top-scored with 80 in England’s first innings, put his hand on his head in despair at what he’d done in falling for 14.
England was now in dire straits at 39 for three.
Middlesex left-hander Dawid Malan arguably ‘owed’ England a big score after dropping Kohli in the slips on 21 and 51 on Thursday.
But he fell for 20 when, squared up by Sharma’s superb outswinger from around the wicket, he edged to Ajinkya Rahane in the gully.