NOTTINGHAM: India’s seamers maintained the tourists’ grip on the first Test against England at Trent Bridge yesterday.
England were 352 for nine in reply to India’s first innings 457, a deficit of 105 runs, at stumps on the third day.
After resuming on 43 for one following the loss of struggling skipper Alastair Cook for five on Thursday, England got through yesterday’s morning session without losing a wicket.
But all that changed after lunch as Ishant Sharma, the only member of India’s attack to have previously played a Test in England, took three for 29 in seven overs to turn 131 for one into 172 for four.
Significantly, the tall paceman gained a measure of reverse swing that had largely eluded England’s seamers as he countered a still-docile pitch.
Fellow seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar followed up with a quartet of wickets on his way to Test-best figures of four for 61 in 25 overs.
His return came a day after Kumar made his highest Test score of 58 during an Indian tenth-wicket record stand against England of 111 with Mohammed Shami (51 not out) that put the visitors on top.
However, England number 11 James Anderson, whose last innings ended in tears after his valiant effort to hold out for a draw in Sri Lanka’s second Test victory at Headingley saw him dismissed off the penultimate ball, then kept Joe Root company for over an hour.
At the close the resolute Root was 78 not out and Anderson unbeaten on 23, with their last-wicket stand so far worth 54 runs.
Both Australia-born opener Sam Robson and Zimbabwe-born left-hander Gary Ballance were 59 not out at lunch.
Robson, though, was lbw to Sharma without adding to his score.
Replays suggested a thin inside edge but Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford’s decision, given the ball hit Robson’s back pad, was understandable.
And with the Decision Review System not being used this series because of Indian objections, it was the end of a second-wicket partnership worth 125.
Sharma struck again with a fine delivery that straightened to have Ballance unquestionably lbw for 71.
Ian Bell, in his 101st Test, looked in superb touch making a 25 that included 24 runs in boundaries.
But Bell withdrew his bat too late from an attempted cut shot off Sharma and feathered a catch through to India captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Shami then produced a lifting delivery which Moeen Ali, carelessly turning his head away from the ball, gloved to Shikhar Dhawan in the slips.
Kumar then rocked England with a burst of four for 16 in 26 balls.
Matt Prior (five) was given out caught behind by opposing keeper Dhoni, standing up to the stumps.
Replays suggested the noise that prompted Sri Lanka umpire Kumar Dharmasena’s raised finger had come from the bat hitting the pad but, with no DRS, a disbelieving Prior had to go.
There was no controversy regarding Ben Stokes’s exit for a duck when the recalled all-rounder, pushing away from his body, was also caught behind off Kumar.
All-rounder Stuart Broad, who had been severely critical of the state of his Nottinghamshire home pitch, counter-attacked after tea.
To the first delivery with the new ball, left-handed batsman Broad stroked Kumar for four as England avoided the follow-on.
But having made a dashing 47, he was lbw to an inswinging delivery from Kumar to end a quickfire stand of 78.
Broad made his displeasure at Dharmasena’s decision clear but replays confirmed the ball had pitched in line and would have hit the stumps.
Kumar then bowled Liam Plunkett to leave England 298 for nine.
Anderson then did more than hold an end up and twice expertly reverse-swept left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja for four. AFP