Chennai, February 8
England were all out for 178 in their second innings, setting India a daunting victory target of 420 on the penultimate day of the opening test at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday.
England, who posted a mammoth 578 in their first innings, bowled out India for 337 but opted against enforcing follow-on in the first match of the four-test series.
The tourists were less dominant in their second innings but India will still need an extraordinary batting effort to chase down such a stiff target on a final-day track.
England captain Joe Root, who smashed 218 in the first innings of his 100th test, top-scored again with a quick 40.
Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the Indian bowlers, returning 6-61, while fellow spinner Shahbaz Nadeem claimed 2-66.
England were 119 for five at tea after bowling out the hosts for 337 for a massive first-innings lead of 241 runs.
Ollie Pope (18) and Jos Buttler (14) were at the crease at the tea break.
Resuming from their lunch score of 1 for 1, England sought to press ahead in the second session with Root doing the bulk of scoring.
With the pitch offering more help than it did in the first innings, Ashwin and Co got into the act.
Ashwin returned impressive figures of 3 for 49 while Ishant Sharma (1/17) picked up his 300th Test scalp in his his 98th match when he had Dan Lawrence trapped in front of the wicket.
Ben Stokes did not make the impact expected of him after a blazing 82 in the first, edging Ashwin while playing from his body to give the off-spinner his third wicket.
Bumrah then had Root plumb in front with a delivery that kept low. Root played some lovely strokes on his way to a 40-run knock.
Earlier, Ashwin had struck with the very first ball of second innings as England survived two testing overs before lunch.
Refusing to enforce the follow-on, the visitors were 1/1 in two overs at the lunch break.
Ashwin, opening the bowling in the second innings, got one to turn and bounce and had Rory Burns (0) edging to Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.
Responding to England’s mammoth 578, India were all out in 95.5 overs and fell well short of the follow-on target despite Washington Sundar’s fighting knock of 85.
Rishabh Pant (91) and Cheteshwar Pujara (73) have been India’s other major contributors.
For England, Dom Bess was the most successful bowler with 4 for 76 while James Anderson (2/46), Jofra Archer (2/75) and Jack Leach (2/105) got two wickets each. — Agencies