India took firm control of the third Test against England in Mohali by reducing the visitors to 78 for the loss of four wickets. England is still 56 runs away from India lead of 134 in the first innings.
Ravichandran Ashwin once again dominated with both bat and ball. Thanks to Ravindra Jadeja’s 90 and Jayant Yadav’s 55, India managed 417, giving them a lead of 134. Ashwin was back with the ball as he picked up 3/19 to show Virat Kohli the way to a 2-0 victory in the test.
The runs from the bottom half of India’s order has been a feature of their recent Test success and here they enjoyed one of their more stellar days. In total, the last four wickets added 213 to turn a precarious 204 for 6 into a three-figure advantage and it was the first time India’s No. 7, 8 and 9 had scored half-centuries in the same innings.
After his tailenders showed their batting prowess, Virat Kohli waited for just three overs before bringing R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from both ends, and the move worked effectively. Cook survived two DRS calls – one missing leg, one pitching outside leg before Ashwin finally got the better of him.
Moeen Ali came down the track to Ashwin and chipped one to mid-off. Saviour of first innings, Jonny Bairstow tried to hang in, but Jayant Yadav had him nicking a ball that stayed a tad low and taken smartly by Parthiv Patel. The spinners raced through the overs in the final session and with 2 minutes remaining, Kohli squeezed in an extra over from Ashwin; and India struck. Ben Stokes was out leg before to a review.
India was 12 behind when play resumed but England made an insipid start to the day. Chris Woakes’ opening delivery was a leg-stump half volley which Ashwin clipped to the boundary and Moeen was oddly given two exploratory overs ahead of either James Anderson or Stokes.
On the other hand, Jadeja’s half-century came off 104 balls and was accompanied by the familiar swordsman celebration but it was the only bat throwing on display.
Ashwin had continued to time the ball elegantly until he was lured into a wider delivery by Stokes, in his first over of the day, and spooned a catch to Jos Buttler at backward point to end a stand of 97 with Jadeja.
Jadeja fell 10 agonising runs short of a maiden Test century but not before he had put his team in comfort zone. Jayant then, along with some stubborn resistance from Umesh Yadav added 33 runs for the second last wicket before Stokes returned for an inspired spell to pick up his third five-wicket haul in Tests.
In the process, Jayant scored his maiden fifty in only his third Test innings, following the 35 and 27 he had scored in Vizag. Jayant did not play any extravagant shot, and rather banked mostly on his impenetrable defence to gauge caution.
Stokes and Adil Rashid shared the nine wickets taken by the bowlers with Stokes winning the race to a five-wicket haul, his third in Tests, when he removed Umesh. The catch for Bairstow meant he set a new record for wicketkeeping dismissals in a year. It was as good as the day got for England.