India had a horror first session on Sunday. Mark Wood took out both the in-form Indian openers KL Rahul (5) and Rohit Sharma (21). The latter cracked Wood for a six but fell in the same over trying to repeat the shot. Indian captain Virat Kohli also perished due to his inability to correct his follies. He poked at one from Sam Curran and gave a simple catch behind the wickets. India went to lunch at 56 for 3, in serious danger of being bowled out.
The second session saw Rahane and Pujara drop anchor and ensure that India did not let their guard down. They batted out the entire duration of two hours. But the fact that India scored only 49 runs in the session meant that England were only one wicket away from making a comeback.
Jonny Bairstow spilled Rahane’s catch off Moeen Ali’s bowling on 31. However, Wood delivered the much-needed breakthrough for England, getting rid of Pujara with a snorter. After playing and missing against Moeen multiple times, Rahane perished to the off-spinner, edging one behind the stumps.
Moeen put England firmly in control by dislodging Ravindra Jadeja (3) with a beauty that beat his bat and hit the off stump. India will need Pant to score some crucial runs with help from the tail if they are to save the contest. With no Ravichandran Ashwin, they might not be able to exploit the rough like Moeen has done.
--By A Cricket Correspondent