If India were projected as favourites to pull off a victory on Day 5 of the second Test against England at Visakhapatnam, they certainly started off positively by taking five wickets in the morning to push the visitors to 142 for 7 at lunch.
Jonny Bairstow was England's last hope at the crease, as he remained unbeaten on 23 off 29 deliveries with the help of five boundaries. Zafar Ansari was yet to get off the mark after facing three deliveries, with the tourists needing another 263 runs from two sessions if they were to gain a series lead.
The day started off with Ben Duckett walking out to the crease alongside leading batsman Joe Root after skipper Alastair Cook was dismissed at the stroke of stumps on the penultimate day of the second Test. He continued his poor form however, after getting an inside-edge followed by a deflection off his pad to get caught behind off Ashwin's bowling.
With the cracks starting to deepen, Moeen Ali survived a couple of close shouts for LBW. The pressure however, got the better of him, as he got a leading inside edge to lob the ball over to Virat Kohli at leg slip.
Jayant Yadav, who had been playing second fiddle to Ashwin throughout the game, set Ben Stokes up with a couple of straight deliveries, before getting one to turn sharply, and kiss the outer-edge of Stokes' off-stump to dismiss the latter for 6.
As wickets kept tumbling at the other end, Root was playing a cautious game that was interspersed with anxious moments. On one occasion, he was adjudged caught behind off Ashwin when he decided to use the DRS straightaway in order to save himself. However, he was undone by Shami, who used the second new ball to good effect by getting one to jag into the batsman's front pad after pitching marginally outside off.
After dashing England's hopes with the dismissal of Root, Shami got his second wicket with the help of a short ball to Adil Rashid that the latter tried to fend, and ended up gloving it to keeper Wriddhiman Saha.
Bairstow hit a couple of boundaries thereafter in a show of defiance, though he has a long task ahead if he is to guide the visitors across 200, let alone chasing the improbable target down.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Nov 21, 2016 12:00:09 IST