India were in a position of strength at lunch on Day 1 of the third Test against England at Mohali, reducing the latter to 92 for 4 after losing the toss earlier that morning.
The theme of the morning session's play was that of redemption, if the Indian point of view is to be considered. After a couple of dropped catches, both off England skipper Alastair Cook, the Indians managed to make inroads into the opposition's top-order to grab the early advantage.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow was facing a massive task ahead of him, that of helping the hosts rebuild their innings in the remaining sessions of the day with the likes of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, batting on 20 at the end of the session.
Cook and Haseeb Hameed earlier put up a shaky 32-run opening stand, with the former getting dropped on two occasions in fielding brain-fades. While Ravindra Jadeja was too slow to react to a leading edge to the slips, with the England skipper batting on 3, Ashwin dropped a sitter at midwicket a few deliveries later, leaving pacer Mohammed Shami cursing his luck.
Umesh Yadav however, struck for India soon enough with a short ball that kicked up more than what Hameed would have expected, and ended up offering Ajinkya Rahane a simple catch at gully to depart for 9. Joe Root got three boundaries in his short stay at the crease, and was starting to look good until he faced his first ball of the day off a spinner, getting trapped LBW by Jayant off a back-of-length delivery that he was looking to pull towards midwicket. India got their second wicket in the first ball after drinks.
The big wicket of the morning however, was Cook, with Ashwin redeeming himself for his disappointing fielding earlier that morning by dismissing him in his first ball of the day. Cook looked to go for a cut off the short and wide delivery, but was late in playing the stroke, and got a leading edge as a result, departing for 27. England were in real trouble now, having squandered the advantage that they got from winning the toss.
Moeen Ali looked to step up the aggression, coming down the track against Jayant on two occasions, and smashing the rookie spinner for a four and a six off consecutive deliveries to hamper his confidence. The all-rounder was starting to build a useful stand with Bairstow, when he miscued an attempted hook off a snorter from Shami, and offered Murali Vijay the easiest of chances at fine-leg to depart for 16.
England earlier won the toss for the second time this series, and Cook did not hesitate in opting to bat first. While India opted to hand Karun Nair his Test debut after KL Rahul was ruled out due to injury, while Parthiv Patel had earlier been drafted into the side as the wicketkeeper-batsman in place of Wriddhiman Saha.
England, on the other hand, opted to bring Jos Buttler in place of the struggling Ben Duckett, with Moeen Ali being pushed to No 4 in the batting order, while Gareth Batty was included as the sixth bowler in the side, coming in place of Zafar Ansari. Chris Woakes was included as the second front-line pacer after Stuart Broad was ruled out for Mohali.
First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 11:53 IST