India skipper Virat Kohli, aiming to drive home the advantage of a crucial 134-run first innings lead, had introduced spin early in the England second innings. And Ravichandran Ashwin struck with the final delivery of the 14th over.
Bowling a nagging line from close to the wicket, he had England skipper Alastair Cook playing for the turn. But he beat the left-handed opener with a delivery which pitched and skidded through the gap between bat and pad to crash onto the stumps. India had their key man finally and with it they also wrested control of the third Test with two days to play on Monday.
Haseeb Hameed did not open due to a finger injury, and Cook and makeshift opener Joe Root had till then defended well and also managed to keep the scoreboard ticking. Cook survived twice in the space of four deliveries thanks to DRS.
In the first review, Jadeja had caught Cook inside the crease, but the umpire ruled him not out. Kohli sought the review, and the ball-tracking which took ages to come up, ruled the ball would have missed the stumps. Three balls later, Cook was again rapped on the pads and given out, but this time the England skipper appealed and survived.
But three overs later, Ashwin had the last laugh as he ended Cook’s stay to leave England reeling at 78 for four, still 56 runs behind the hosts.
Pumped up, Ashwin, who along with Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav was also the hero with the bat, then foxed Moeen Ali into playing a false stroke. Ali charged with intent but was deceived by the flight and only managed to chip it to Jayant at mid-on.
India went into full attack mode with fielders crowding the batsman. The pressure paid off with off-spinner Jayant accounting for Jonny Bairstow, the first-innings top-scorer, with keeper Parthiv Patel holding on to a low catch. Ashwin then had his third wicket, trapping Ben Stokes leg before for five.
There was no alarming deterioration in the pitch, but the spinners found turn and England batsmen are likely to struggle on the fourth day.
Bairstow conceded England lost wickets despite the pitch still playing well. “There is a bit of variable bounce but you kind of accept that on Day 3. It’s still a decent pitch, but we have lost a few wickets in the evening and that wasn’t part of the plan. “However, we still have (Joe) Root and Jos (Buttler) in the middle. There is still a lot of batting to come. The morning session is important for us and hopefully we can do what the Indians did to us today in the morning session.”
India frustrate England
Resuming on 271 for 6, the last five batsmen put India in a position from where they dictated the game. England didn’t show intent, handing a new ball to Moeen Ali rather than James Anderson in the morning.
Jadeja missed a well-deserved century, out for 90, but added 97 runs with Ashwin and 80 with Jayant Yadav. Ashwin cemented his reputation as an all-rounder by scoring 72 while Jayant (55), only his second match again proved is batting credentials. It finally took India to 414 and made England wait until after lunch to bat again.
“Every innings you play for India is important. We built up the innings well. We are in a good position. It was tough as the wicket didn’t have bounce and was slow,” Jadeja said.