England lose FOUR early wickets at the start of their second innings in India as spinners Ashwin and Patel cut through the tourists’ top order as they look to overturn 160-run deficit in fourth Test
- England lost three wickets in the first few overs after lunch on day three
- Zak Crawley, Dom Siley and Jonny Bairstow were out in the space of a few balls
- Ben Stokes then lasted nine balls before he was caught by Virat Kohli
- The visitors had trailed India by 160 runs after the hosts were all out for 365
England lost four wickets early straight after lunch as Zak Crawley, Jonny Bairstow and Dom Sibley all fell in the first few overs before Ben Stokes also departed.
India kicked off the afternoon with the duelling spinners and it took less than two overs for the visitors worst fears to be realised.
After successfully playing out a tester from Axar Patel, England lost two in two balls to Ravichandran Ashwin. Zak Crawley has not found any kind of rhythm against spin this winter and was dismissed in single figures for the sixth time in four Tests.
England lost three wickets straight after lunch as Zak Crawley, Jonny Bairstow and Dom Sibley all fell in the first few overs
Ravichandran Ashwin took the wicket of Crawley in the first over after lunch
Ashwin then took Bairstow for a duck in the next ball, the batsman’s third nought of the series
Having seen a couple spin he pushed forward at one that held its line and nicked to slip for five. That brought Jonny Bairstow to the middle and he proceeded to bank a golden duck, his third nought in four attempts since returning to India after a break at home. His was a soft dismissal, following the turn and nudging it round the corner to leg-slip.
At 11 for two, Joe Root survived the hat-trick ball but it remained a grim position.
As the final ball of the 10th over went down, England lost their third wicket with just 20 runs scored.
Dom Sibley, having eked out just three runs, decided to sweep Patel and would have been pleased to feel the ball ping out of the middle. Remarkably his shot smashed into the leg guards of Shubman Gill at short leg and looped up high to wicketkeeper Pant.
The opener shook his head as he left the field, leaving Root and Stokes with another huge rescue job.
Stokes had exhausted himself for the cause with ball in hand and was back in the thick of things far too soon. He did not last long here, lunging at his ninth delivery in an attempt to sweep Patel over the top.
Instead he turned it straight to Virat Kohli at leg slip and at 30 for four an innings defeat was starting to hover into view.
Joe Root survived a hat-trick ball after Crawley and Bairstow fell in quick succession
Sibley eked out just three runs before he was also dismissed after being caught at short leg
Before lunch, Washington Sundar was stranded on 96 not out as India established a hefty 160-run lead.
The hosts added 69 runs in the first 90 minutes, extending their advantage in ruthless fashion, before losing all three of their remaining wickets in the space of five balls to finish 365 all out.
Sundar was seemingly on course for a well-deserved maiden century but saw Axar Patel run out for 43 after sending him back at the non-striker’s end and did not regain the strike before Ben Stokes made short work of tailenders Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj.
India resumed their innings in buoyant spirits, riding high after Rishabh Pant’s game-changing 101 on the second evening.
England’s weary attack would have been hoping to bring a quick end to the innings but soon found themselves in a familiar conundrum. While James Anderson was able to hold down one end for five overs at a cost of just four runs, Joe Root’s decision to throw his support behind the struggling Dom Bess did not come off.
His two overs leaked 15 runs, including two boundaries and a six from Sundar. Root’s attempts at bolstering the off-spinner’s confidence had taken a swift turn for the worse and he was promptly removed with his self-belief suffering again.
Sundar and Patel had no intention of making life easy for England, scoring 50 in the first hour and batting with the kind of freedom only a healthy scoreboard can provide.
Ben Stokes claimed four wickets as India finished on 365 to give them a lead of 160
Washington Sundar was four runs off a century when India were all out for 365
Axar Patel and Sundar added 50 runs in the first hour as they batted with freedom
Jack Leach was tighter than Bess but worryingly docile, generating no real chances as the game drifted ever further away.
After more than 100 overs of work in sweltering 38-degree heat, England were understandably flagging, with Root filling in for Bess with the ball and Stokes flogging his body for the cause.
It took a run out to end the eighth-wicket stand at 106, Patel setting off ambitiously before Jonny Bairstow and Root combined to raise the bails at the bowler’s end. By then, Sundar had moved within a boundary of a special landmark but he did not face another ball.
Gratefully accepting the opportunity to cash in on his hard work, Stokes had Ishant lbw first ball with a big in-swinger then rushed one through Siraj to finish with hard-earned figures of four for 89.
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