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Bridging The Gap
 India v England: Ravinchandran Ashwin & Ravindra Jadeja dominate in Mohali
 Monday 28 November, 2016
India v England: Ravinchandran Ashwin & Ravindra Jadeja dominate in Mohali

England look set for defeat in the third Test after India dominated day three in Mohali.

Ravinchandran Ashwin took 3-19 as England slid to 78-4, 56 behind, with only Joe Root, opening in place of the injured Haseeb Hameed, resisting on 36.

India's lower order had earlier frustrated England for two sessions to push their first-innings total to 417.

Ravindra Jadeja made 90, Ashwin 72 and Jayant Yadav 55, while Ben Stokes took 5-73 and Adil Rashid 4-118.

England's bowlers did little wrong, but the ease with which India accumulated on what appeared a benign surface shamed the visitors' first-innings score of 283.

The home attack found much more assistance as England lost Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow and Stokes and look likely to be beaten inside four days to go 2-0 down in the five-match series.

'India are a better team' - analysis

Former England captain Michael Vaughan on Test Match Special

England have won a toss here and they haven't made it count. They missed a great chance in the first innings with the bat.

This match is certainly going to go India's way, barring a Joe Root double century - but he needs help. Let's face it, in these conditions, on these style of wickets, India are a better team.

Ex-England spinner Vic Marks

It has been emphatically India's day. They look so much more potent than England did this morning.

Most of the damage was done by Ashwin with the bat yesterday, and then he has taken three wickets today. He is beguiling.


More top-order travails for England

The runs scored by India's tail may have given confidence England's top order, only for the home bowlers to pose a constant threat with skiddy pace, uneven bounce and turn.

An uncertain Cook had already survived one lbw review from Jadeja and overturned a leg before decision off Ashwin, before the same bowler found a way between bat and pad to take the top of middle stump.

As England's batting line-up shuffled in the absence of Hameed, Moeen perished to an awful stroke, advancing to Ashwin and chipping a simple catch to mid-on.

"Moeen Ali danced down with one intention - to hit the ball in the air," said Vaughan. "Ashwin saw him and changed his pace a little bit. It was beautiful bowling, a pathetic shot."

Root, busily assured in opening the batting for the first time in a Test since 2013, and Bairstow steadied in a stand of 41 before Bairstow edged a Jayant delivery that kept very low, with wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel taking a smart catch.

The brilliant Ashwin, a master of accuracy and sleight of hand, had Stokes lbw on review in the final over of the day.

Wagging India tail demoralises England

The difficulty that England had with the bat was a complete contrast to the untroubled progress made by India's lower order.

With the home side resuming on 271-6, 12 behind, England hoped to wrap up the tail - but instead saw India's last four wickets add a total of 213 runs.

After Ashwin drove Stokes to point to end a sixth-wicket stand of 97, the unusually patient Jadeja put on 80 with Jayant.

Jadeja cut loose with four boundaries in a Chris Woakes over before being held on the long-on boundary off Rashid 10 short of a maiden Test hundred.

Even then, Jayant went to his first Test fifty, with England threatening to fall apart as Umesh Yadav and Jayant were dropped in the space of four Stokes deliveries by Cook and Bairstow respectively.

However, in the same over, Jayant hoiked to Moeen at mid-wicket, and the tireless and dependable Stokes completed a his third five-wicket haul by having Umesh caught behind.


Hameed absence raises questions for England

Hameed, the 19-year-old playing only his third Test, was struck on the hand in being dismissed on the first morning.

He did not field during India's innings, but batted in the nets on three occasions on Monday.

However, when he failed to appear to open the batting, England declined to comment on when or if he will appear in the rest of the tourists' second innings.

Hameed is due to have a scan on the injury at the end of the match. If he faces a spell on the sidelines, England's options are limited as reserve batsmen Gary Ballance and Ben Duckett have both struggled for form.

They may call up a player from the Lions squad in Dubai, with Durham opener Keaton Jennings and Middlesex's Nick Gubbins the most likely candidates.

'That didn't go to plan'

England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow on Sky Sports: "It was a tough day, one that didn't really go to plan. We wanted a few more wickets this morning so they didn't get such a big lead.

"We have to remember that we still have a lot of batting to come - that is encouraging for us.

"Hopefully we can bat for a good period of time tomorrow. Upsets can happen in the fourth innings in India."

England have only won two Tests in Asia after giving away a first-innings lead, both in Pakistan. In 1961 they won after giving away a seven-run deficit and in 2000 it was a 17-run deficit.
No visiting team has won a Test in India after conceding a first-innings lead of more than 65.
This is the first time India have had their numbers seven, eight and nine make half-centuries in the same Test innings. It is only the seventh time overall.
Ben Stokes' 5-73 is the third five-wicket haul in a Test for an England seamer in India in 32 years. Neil Foster managed it in 1984-85 and Matthew Hoggard in 2006-07.
Moeen Ali has now batted in every position between one and nine for England in Test cricket. Only two other men have done that for England - Wilfred Rhodes and Trevor Bailey.

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