Nottingham - Ishant Sharma kick-started a fine display by India's seamers as the tourists
maintained their grip on the first Test against England at Trent Bridge on
England were 352 for nine in reply to India's first innings 457, a deficit
of 105 runs, at stumps on the third day.
After resuming on 43 for one following struggling skipper's Alastair Cook's
exit for five on Thursday, England got through Friday's morning session without
losing a wicket.
But all that changed after lunch as Sharma, the only member of India's
attack to have previously played a Test in England, took three for 29 in seven
overs to turn 131 for one into 172 for four.
Significantly, the tall paceman gained a measure of reverse swing that had
largely eluded England's seamers as he countered a still-docile pitch.
"I've played enough matches to know what length I need to bowl on, if
the ball is reversing or swinging normally," said 25-year-old Sharma, now
in his 56th Test.
"I've also been using my experience of playing here before."
Fellow seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar followed up with a quartet of wickets on his
way to Test-best figures of four for 61 in 25 overs.
"Bhuvi is a tremendous bowler and used the conditions really
well," said Sharma.
Kumar's return came a day after he made his highest Test score of 58 during
an Indian tenth-wicket record stand against England of 111 with Mohammed Shami
(51 not out) that put the visitors on top.
However, England number 11 James Anderson, whose last innings ended in tears
after his valiant effort to hold out for a draw in Sri Lanka's second Test
victory at Headingley saw him dismissed off the penultimate ball, then kept Joe
Root company for over an hour.
The resolute Root was 78 not out at stumps and Anderson unbeaten on 23, with
their last-wicket stand so far worth 54 runs.
Earlier, Root and Stuart Broad (47) had checked India's progress with a
rapid eighth-wicket partnership of 78 in 85 balls.
"Broady's innings put all the pressure back on them and a lot of credit
has to go to Jimmy at the end, they have given us a great chance to get back
into the match," Root said of an England side without a win in their
previous eight Tests.
Both Australia-born opener Sam Robson and Zimbabwe-born left-hander Gary
Ballance were 59 not out at lunch.
Robson, though, was lbw to Sharma without adding to his score.
Replays suggested a thin inside edge but Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford's decision,
given the ball hit Robson's back pad, was understandable.
And with the Decision Review System not being used this series because of
Indian objections, it was the end of a second-wicket partnership worth 125.
The umpires changed an out-of-shape ball after 54 overs with England 146 for
Sharma struck again with a fine delivery that straightened to have Ballance
unquestionably lbw for 71.
Ian Bell, in his 101st Test, looked in superb touch making a 25 that
included 24 runs in boundaries.
But he withdrew his bat too late from an attempted cut shot off Sharma and
feathered a catch to India captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Moeen Ali, fresh from his maiden Test century at Headingley, turned his head
away from a Shami delivery he gloved to Shikhar Dhawan in the slips.
Kumar then rocked England with a burst of four for 16 in 26 balls.
Matt Prior was given out caught behind by opposing keeper Dhoni, standing up
to the stumps.
Replays suggested the noise that prompted Sri Lanka umpire Kumar Dharmasena's
raised finger had come from the bat hitting the pad but, with no DRS, a
disbelieving Prior had to go.
There was no controversy regarding Ben Stokes's exit for a duck when the
recalled all-rounder was also caught behind off Kumar.
Broad, who had been severely critical of the state of his Nottinghamshire
home pitch, counter-attacked after tea.
To the first delivery with the new ball, left-handed batsman Broad stroked
Kumar through extra cover for four as England avoided the follow-on.
But he was eventually lbw to Kumar's well-directed in-swinger, having struck