India face the prospect of having to follow-on.
The chief destroyer was England off-spinner Dom Bess who shred India’s middle order to reduce them to 257/6 at the close on day three of the opening Test in Chennai.
India trail by 321 runs.
After England had posted a mammoth 578 in their first innings, pace bowler Jofra Archer removed both India openers to deny them a strong start to their reply.
Openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill scored six and 29 runs respectively.
Even Virat Kohli (11) and Ajinkya Rahane (1) weren’t able to provide the necessary support and fell cheaply.
Kohli never found his rhythm. His dismissal came thanks to a smart piece of bowling from Bess.
The off-spinner who seemed to have done his homework, pushed the ball a fraction wider outside the off stump, expecting to find extra bounce and turn.
Kohli lunged forward to defend towards cover-point, but could only inside-edge to Ollie Pope at short leg.
When Rahane fell 6 balls later, India were 73 for 4.
It was left to India’s crisis man, Cheteshwar Pujara, to retrieve the situation and he didn’t disappoint.
He built a crucial partnership with Rishabh Pant, which brought India back into the game.
Pujara’s knock of 73 consisted of 11 fours and was worth its weight in gold.
Pant carried on from where he left off in Australia, slamming 91 runs from 88 balls. The duo lost their wickets in quick succession to Dom Bess.
And from 225/6, Sundar and Ashwin took India past the 250-run mark and frustrated English attack as they batted for more than 17 overs together.
India needs another 122 runs to avoid having to bat again if England enforce the follow-on.
Earlier, England’s tail added 23 runs to their overnight score of 555/8.
India 257 for 6 (Pant 91, Pujara 73, Bess 4-55) trail England 578 by 321 runs