India have built a lead of 145 at Lord's after closing on 169-4 on day three after bowling England out for 319.
The second Test now looks well poised with the home side needing quick wickets on Sunday if they are to chase a score of under 250.
England resumed the day with Liam Plunkett and Matt Prior at the crease, having lost several wickets following Gary Ballance's heroic ton the previous evening.
Nightwatchman Plunkett hit a quick-fire 55 off 79 to give Peter Moores’ side a slender lead, but they could not last until lunch. The Yorkshire bowler eventually ran out of partners, as Prior, Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad, and finally James Anderson were all skittled out for a total of 53 collectively.
Anderson threatened to undermine India’s bowlers once again as he appeared to be settling with the bat, though he was caught by Ajinkya Rahana off the bowling off nemesis Ravindra Jadeja on 19.
Anderson and Jadeja’s spat in the first Test at Trent Bridge unsurprisingly remains a bone of contention, and the ill-feeling between the two sides generated in its aftermath shows no sign of dissipating. England captain Alastair Cook was quick to bemoan India’s late entrance to the morning session (leaving them to face one less over), before his own men failed to come out of the pavilion on time themselves after tea.
Despite failing to score any runs – having admittedly been pushed down the order to facilitate Plunkett – Stokes was quick to redeem himself once India had begun their innings. The all-rounder dismissed Shikhar Dhawan, caught by an athletic Joe Root in the field, to leave the visitors on 40-1, but England toiled against opener Murali Vijay, who worked hard for his half century under pressure to follow his ton in the first Test.
In fact, it looked as if his partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara might well last the rest of the day, until the latter was caught behind off Plunkett.
That brought the introduction of Virat Kohli, who was out for a disappointing golden duck, again undone by Plunkett, before Ajinkya Rahane was controversially sent walking.
India may live to regret vetoing the Decision Review System (DRS) for this series, as his wicket (bowled Broad, caught Prior), would almost certainly have been overturned, with replays showing the edge had come off his arm pad rather than the bat.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni chose to play dangerously upon his entrance, with two of Plunkett’s more vociferous appeals ignored. The India captain determined to force a result this time round. It looks as though he will get his wish, on a pitch that looked slightly less green after three days, but is still being kind to the bowling side
Nonetheless, India have done well to dig in and establish a comfortable lead, making it vital for England to pick up some early wickets on day four.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms