England caught in Indian spin web yet again

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The day began on a bright note for England with captain Joe Root calling it correctly at the coin toss and expectedly opting to bat first.

However, England’s batsmen messed it up once again, in yet another shoddy performance, giving India an upper hand.

By the eighth over, both English openers were back in the pavilion. Thanks to left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who accounted for both of them in his successive overs.

Brought into action as early as in the sixth over, Patel bowled an arm ball which had Dom Sibley (2) leaving a huge gap between bat and pad.

Joe Root was the next to fall, pinned back by Mohammed Siraj and England were reduced to 30 for 3.

Bairstow shone brightly for a while before becoming the first of Mohammed Siraj’s two LBW victims.

However, for once, there was a pushback from Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope who tried to revive the innings.

Stokes made 55 before falling to Washington Sundar.

Ashwin then removed Pope for the third innings in a row, Gill reacting smartly to an inside edge that went through the batsman’s legs.

Next, Ben Foakes was lured into an indecisive bat poke to slip by Ashwin.

Somehow, England crossed the 200-run mark, aided by Dan Lawrence who made 46 off 74.

The Indian spinners recreated their magic yet again, with Axar taking four while Ashwin taking three.

The only bright spot for England was provided by veteran pacer, James Anderson who trapped Shubman Gill lbw for a duck in the very first over.

However, Cheteshwar Pujara (15*) and Rohit Sharma (8*) ensured there was no further damage.

India are leading the series 2-1 and need just a draw to qualify for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand to be held in June.

India 24 for 1 trail England 205 (Stokes 55, Lawrence 46, Patel 4-68) by 181 runs