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How bowlers put India in control on Day 1

August 31, 2018 00:39 IST

IMAGE: India's players celebrate the wicket of Jos Buttler. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Sam Curran offered a spirited resistance with a resolute half-century but Indian bowlers, led by Jasprit Bumrah, produced a disciplined effort to dismiss England for 246 on the opening day of the fourth Test, in Southampton, on Thursday.

Bumrah scalped three wickets, while Ishant Sharma (2/26), Mohammed Shami (2/51) and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (2/40) took two wickets each and Hardik Pandya (1/51) accounted for one as India's bowlers dominated the proceedings on the opening day.

All-rounder Sam Curran anchored the England innings with a determined 78 as he shared 81 runs with Moeen Ali (40) and 63 runs with Stuart Broad (17) for the seventh and ninth wickets respectively to add respectability to the total.

 

The hosts lost six wickets for 86 runs to find themselves in a precarious position after opting to bat.

However, the 20-year-old Curran resurrected the England innings with a 136-ball innings which was studded with eight hits to the fence and a six. It was his second Test half-century.

The left-hander was the last batsman to be dismissed when he was cleaned up by Ashwin in the 77th over.

At stumps, Shikhar Dhawan (3 not out) and KL Rahul (11 not out) safely dealt with four overs before stumps to take India to 19 for no loss.

Earlier, Bumrah struck twice in the first session as England went into lunch at 57 for four.

Sam Curran

IMAGE: Sam Curran hits a boundary. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Bumrah posed problems from the very beginning. Keaton Jennings (0) was done in completely by an incoming delivery as he offered no stoke, and was out plumb lbw in an ugly fashion in the third over.

England should have been two-down in the fifth over, when Bumrah also trapped Joe Root leg before wicket but the fast bowler had over-stepped and the decision was overturned via DRS.

But Root didn't survive for long, as he fell leg before wicket to Ishant Sharma as England took the review this time and failed.

Even as Alastair Cook (17) stayed his longest duration at the crease in this series, the top-order had no answer to the sustained pressure built up by the Indian attack.

Bumrah returned to further peg England back as Jonny Bairstow (6) was caught behind in the 13th over, nicking him off with an unplayable delivery outside the off-stump.

Pandya then got rid of Cook, with Kohli taking a brilliant low catch at third slip as England were reduced to 36 for four in the 18th over.

It could have made for an even more miserable score for the hosts as Buttler, on 11, got a faint edge off the bottom of the bat against Shami but wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant failed to take the low catch.

Post lunch, Shami struck early to inflict another crucial blow as Buttler (24) was out caught at slip in the third over after the break.

Ben Stokes (23) continued to defend stoically, lasting 79 deliveries. Shami bowled brilliantly, continuing from where he left off in the morning session. And it brought him reward when he trapped Stokes lbw in the 35th over as England were reduced to 86 for six.

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah celebrates after taking the wicket of Jonny Bairstow. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Curran and Ali then came together, and held forte until the tea break. They showed a lot of patience, in particular Curran who stayed calm and went for his strokes whenever opportunity presented itself. They added 50 off 94 deliveries and also took England past the 100-mark in the 39th over as the hosts went into tea at 139 for six.

Ashwin got the breakthrough in the post-tea esssion as Bumrah pulled off a good running-in catch after Moeen top edged the slog sweep.

Adil Rashid (6) didn't last long as he was trapped lbw by Ishant Sharma.

Curran then started farming strike, even as he reached an impressive half-century off 109 balls with a six off Ashwin. He attacked from one end, while Broad fended at the other, and the duo carried England past 200 in the 69th over.

They added 63 runs for the ninth wicket, a few too many for India's liking considering the precarious position England had found themselves in the morning. The visitors conceded 23 byes and a total of 34 extras.

Bumrah bagged his third wicket when he dismissed Broad leg before wicket before Ashwin ended the English innings by bowling Curran.

Earlier, India fielded an unchanged eleven from Nottingham, bringing an end to the 45-match streak of constant chopping and changing. It was the first time in 39 Tests as captain that Virat Kohli fielded the same team as the previous match.

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