England go in search of quick wickets after Jack Leach dismissed Virat Kohli to give them faint glimmer of hope after day of deep frustration as India skittled them for just 112 and they were irked by rushed TV umpire decisions
England desperately need a quick flurry of wickets to remain in contention in the pivotal third Test with India in Ahmedabad.
Jack Leach’s dismissal of Indian captain Virat Kohli late on Wednesday offered the faintest glimmer of hope at the end of a thoroughly miserable opening day.
But it’s India, who resumed on 99 for three, who have a golden opportunity to bat England out of the game after bowling the sorry tourists out for a paltry 112.
Jack Leach (right) celebrates taking the key wicket of Virat Kohli late on the opening day
Rohit Sharma hit another half-century as India moved to within 13 of England’s total of 112
Kohli and Rohit Sharma put on a third-wicket stand of 64 after Jofra Archer removed Shubman Gill for 11 and Leach got Cheteshwar Pujara for a duck in a quick one-two strike.
And when Kohli, who’d earlier been dropped by Ollie Pope off James Anderson’s bowling, was bowled by Leach, England at least had something to clutch at.
But Rohit stylishly passed his half-century and looks well set entering the second day at the newly-titled Narendra Modi Stadium, which is only at a fraction of its 132,000-spectator capacity for this day-night Test.
It was a dreadful first day for Joe Root’s side after he won the toss and elected to bat first on what appeared to be batsman-friendly conditions.
They crumbled to a measly 112, with the left-arm spinner Axar Patel taking six for 38 on a pitch supposedly more conducive to seam bowlers.
India were three down by the close with Jofra Archer (second right) dismissing Shubman Gill
England’s Jack Leach celebrates taking the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara with Ben Foakes
Only the returning Zak Crawley offered any form of resistance with a classy 53 as the wicket tumbled around him.
Dom Sibley and Jonny Bairstow both failed to score and at one point four wickets fell for nine runs. The last eight tumbled for just 38.
Patel manipulated the conditions perfectly to take the prize wickets of Bairstow, Crawley and Ben Stokes, while even the reliable Root made just 17 before being trapped LBW by Ravichandran Ashwin.
England’s frustration was compounded when in the field as decisions went against them.
They were bewildered when second slip Stokes was adjudged to have grounded a low catch off Gill, who hadn’t scored at that point, but further replays showed the ball did touch the turf.
Ben Stokes grassed a catch, but England were surprised with how quick the decisions was
TV umpire also went in India’s favour when reviewing a close stumping call of Rohit Sharma
But England’s grievance was that TV umpire Chettithody Shamshuddin rushed his decision and the same issue recurred when Ben Foakes stumped Rohit Sharma off the bowling of Leach.
Rohit’s back foot did momentarily leave the ground as he lost his balance but Shamshuddin apparently needed next to no time to rule that Rohit was not out.
Root could be seen asking on-field umpires Anil Chaudhary and Nitin Menon for ‘consistency’ and he later aired grievances to match referee Javagal Srinath along with head coach Chris Silverwood.
Earlier, Leach had rightly been given out after a low catch in the gully by Pujara but only after Shamshuddin looked at several replays from various different angles.
England will need to quickly put that out of their minds and concentrate on restricting India to a score that keeps their hopes alive in the Test and the series.