Ind vs Eng 3rd Test, Day 1: Spinner Jack Leach dismissed Virat Kohli just before concluding minutes of the day’s play but Rohit Sharma hit fifty as India ended the opening day of the pink-ball Test against England in the driver’s seat at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Wednesday.
At stumps, India’s score reads 99/3 with Rohit and Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten on 57 and one runs respectively. The hosts are trailing by 13 runs in the first innings with seven wickets in the bag.
Ollie Pope put down a chance at gully as Jimmy Anderson nearly got rid of Kohli just before the concluding minutes of play and England could blame only themselves for not making any further inroads but Leach dismissed the Indian skipper to give the visitors some relief on the day one.
After surviving the five overs in the tricky twilight phase and then battling out for 14.5 overs and India lost their first wicket off the last ball of the 15th overs when Jofra Archer dismissed Shubman Gill for a 51-ball 11.
He skied an attempted pull to give Zak Crawley an easy catch. Minutes later, the hosts lost Cheteshwar Pujara as he was trapped in front by Jack Leach.
Meanwhile, Rohit continued his good form and completed his half-century. Rohit and Kohli also brought up the fifty runs partnership to steady the Indian ship after two quick wickets.
But Leach struck again to break the 64-run stand for the third wicket as Kohli chopped the ball onto his stumps.
Earlier, hometown boy Axar Patel and seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had a field day as India bundled out England for a paltry 112 in the first innings.
Axar, playing in just his second Test, scalped six wickets while Ashwin returned with three wickets as the visitors were bowled out in just 48.4 overs. This was Axar’s second five-wicket haul in a row as he had scalped five in the second innings of the second Test as well.
Kohli might have lost the toss in the third Test, but his bowlers ensured that the hosts dominated the first session.
If the former England players were critical of the Chepauk wicket, the lack of application from the English batsmen in the first innings of the third Test can have no excuse.
Playing down the wrong line was the crux of the story and just like the top-order batsmen, Jofra Archer (11) too tried to cut a straight delivery and was clean bowled by Axar as the visitors were reduced to 93/7.
This was Axar’s fourth scalp in the innings. Jack Leach (3), Stuart Broad (3), and Ben Foakes (12) all failed to stay at the crease for long and as a result, the hosts have given themselves the best possible chance to make this contest a one-sided affair.
Brief Scores: England 112 (Zak Crawley 53; Axar Patel 6-38); India 99/3 (Rohit Sharma 57*, Virat Kohli 27; Jack Leach 2-27).