Mohali: A collective bowling effort helped India gain the edge against England despite a gutsy half-century from Jonny Bairstow on the opening day of the third Test in Mohali on Saturday.
England, who trail the five-match series 1-0, were 268 for eight at stumps with Adil Rashid (4) and Gareth Batty (0) battling on after the visitors elected to bat first.
Bairstow top-scored with a gritty 89 as Indian bowlers Jayant Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav took two wickets each.
Bairstow, who recorded his 13th Test 50, built crucial 50-plus partnerships with Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler (43) to thwart the opposition’s bowling.
Bairstow remained calm during his 177-ball stay at the crease before being trapped lbw off Jayant Yadav in the last half hour of play.
“After winning the toss, it was disappointing to lose the wickets that we have,” Bairstow said after what he described as a “scrappy” opening day of the third Test.
“At the same time it could have been a disastrous day as well. It could have been something if we didn’t knuckle down and work hard through the last bit of the morning session, the afternoon session and the evening session. We could have been bowling tonight.” With Buttler replacing the struggling Ben Duckett, England had to rejig their batting order, promoting Moeen Ali and Bairstow to numbers four and five.
“The confidence that captain showed in me to bat me at five, along with the coach and rest of the side, is really good and I’d like to think that I repaid them today with the faith they put in me.
The batsman, who survived a seemingly close umpire review on an lbw shout off Jadeja on 72, could not overturn his own referral as the onfield umpires call was upheld.
Jadeja halted England’s revival twice in the innings only to see Bairstow steady the ship with his composed batting.
Jadeja got Ben Stokes stumped for 29 in the afternoon session and then denied Buttler, who batted with positive intent during his 80-ball stay, his fifty.
While trudging back to the pavilion Stokes had an angry exchange of words with India skipper Virat Kohli, with the on-field umpire jumping in to pacify the two players.
Bairstow and Buttler put on 69 runs for the sixth wicket to give England a shot of getting past the 300-run mark, a total which might prove fighting on a pitch that is expected to turn from day two.
Chris Woakes’ resilience also ended in the penultimate over of the day as Umesh Yadav bowled him on 25.
Earlier, the Indian bowlers rattled England’s top order by claiming four wickets in the morning session including that of skipper Alastair Cook.
The Indian quicks bowled at a lively pace after the visitors elected to bat as Umesh Yadav struck first to get teenage opener Haseeb Hameed out for nine.
Cook failed to capitalise on two dropped chances on three and 23 to eventually fall to Ravichandran Ashwin for 27 as the visitors were reduced to 51 for three.
Ali and Bairstow put on 36 runs for the fourth wicket but Shami struck just before lunch to help India dominate the first session of play.
Shami, who was at the receiving end of Cook’s two spilt catches, got Ali to mistime a hook as the batsman was caught at fine leg for 16.
England (1st innings)
A. Cook c Patel b Ashwin 27
H. Hameed c Rahane b U. Yadav 9
J. Root lbw b J. Yadav 15
M. Ali c Vijay b Shami 16
J. Bairstow lbw b J. Yadav 89
B. Stokes st Patel b Jadeja 29
J. Buttler c Kohli b Jadeja 43
C. Woakes b U. Yadav 25
A. Rashid not out 4
G. Batty not out 0
Extras (b 8, lb 2, nb 1) 11
Total (8 wickets, 90 overs) 268
Fall of wickets: 1-32 (Hameed), 2-51 (Root), 3-51 (Cook), 4-87 (Ali), 5-144 (Stokes), 6-213 (Buttler), 7-258 (Bairstow), 8-266 (Woakes)
Bowling: Shami 20-5-52-1, U. Yadav 16-4-58-2, J. Yadav 15-5-49-2, Ashwin 18-1-43-1, Jadeja 21-3-56-2
To bat: J. Anderson.
Umpires: Marais Erasmus (RSA) and Chris Gaffaney (NZL)
TV umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)