Nottingham, July 11 :
Pacers put India on top as England were reduced to 352 for nine in the first innings, trailing by 105 runs, after the third day’s play of the first cricket Test at the Trent Bridge here Friday.
It was three quick strikes from Ishant Sharma (3/108) in the post lunch session that started the slide for England, who were left struggling at 205 for seven at tea. But a quickfire 78-run stand for the eighth wicket between Joe Root (73 batting) and Stuart Broad (47) saved the English team from humiliation of a follow-on.
Though Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/61) made quick inroads by removing both Broad and Liam Plunkett (7) in quick succession but Root and James Anderson (23 batting) frustrated the Indians with their resilient 54-run unfinished stand for the last wicket. Pacer Mohammad Shami also bowled well for his two for 98.
England enjoyed a good first session with Sam Robson (59) and Gary Ballance (71). But Sharma, Bhuvneshwar and Shami bowled exceptionally well as the hosts lost six wickets in the post-lunch session for 68 runs.
Resuming at 43/1, Robson and Ballance scored freely on both sides of the wickets as 88 runs came up in the morning session. Indian seamers found some swing under the gloomy Nottingham sky but there wasn’t much luck for their hard work.
The pair took their unbeaten stand to 122 to add some stability to the England innings after skipper Alastair Cook departed Thursday evening. Both the batsmen had hit their maiden centuries in the series loss against Sri Lanka.
Ballance was patient enough to wait for the loose deliveries. He hit seven fours and reached his 50 by cutting the ball to the boundary. Robson was lucky after he was dropped by Ravinder Jadeja at slip on 43. But he made the most of the opportunity after he got to his half-century by cutting debutant Stuart Binny through the covers.
India, however, turned the tide in their favour soon after the break as Sharma struck in the second over of the second session to get rid of Robson, trapped lbw. Though the hot spot revealed a faint inside edge, it was a fine piece of delivery from Sharma, who got the ball to nip back to hit on Robson’s pads.
Sharma also got Ballance in a similar fashion trapped lbw and also got rid of Ian Bell (25), who was clearly undone by some extra bounce. Bell wanted to pull out of the shot at the last moment but got a big edge to wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Shami dismissed Moeen Ali (14) in a weird fashion that left England struggling at 197/5. It was an intended bouncer from Shami that didn’t rise much and Ali took his eyes off the ball and it hit his glove and lobbed to Shikhar Dhawan at slip.
Kumar’s double strikes in the 71st over – removing Matt Prior (5) and Ben Stokes, both caught behind by Dhoni – in three deliveries left England in a precarious condition.
India (first innings) 457
England (first innings, Overnight 43/1)
Alastair Cook b Shami 5
Sam Robson lbw Sharma 59
Gary Ballance lbw Sharma 71
Ian Bell c Dhoni b Sharma 25
Joe Root batting 78
Moeen Ali c Dhawan b Shami 14
Matt Prior c Dhoni b Kumar 5
Ben Stokes c Dhoni b Kumar 0
Stuart Broad lbw Kumar 47
Liam Plunkett b Kumar 7
James Anderson batting 23
Extras (b 2, lb 4, w 2, nb 10) 18
Total (for nine wickets in 106 overs) 352
Fall of wickets: 1-9 (Cook, 3.3 overs), 2-134 (Robson, 49.3), 3-154 (Ballance, 55.3), 4-172 (Bell, 59.5), 5-197 (Ali, 69.2), 6-202 (Prior, 70.3), 7-202 (Stokes, 70.5), 8-280 (Broad, 84.4), 9-298 (Plunkett, 91.3)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 25-8-61-4
Mohammed Shami 24-3-98-2
Ishant Sharma 27-3-109-3
Ravindra Jadeja 24-4-56-0
Stuart Binny 6-0-22-0