Ashwin and Sharma leave England reeling in 1st Test

Silvia Morton
August 4, 2018

Virat Kohli single-handedly kept India in the first Test with his maiden hundred in England but the captain would still rate the memorable knock second to his 141 in a lost run-chase against Australia in Adelaide nearly four years ago.

It was an impressive effort by the 20-year-old Curran, batting at No 8 and came just a day after the Surrey left-arm swing bowler had taken Test-best figures of four for 74.

With 35 wickets having tumbled inside three days, England will be hoping they can grab the five remaining Indian wickets quickly on day four so that they can mark their 1000th test with a victory.

And before Thursday´s close, India captured the prize wicket of Alastair Cook, England´s all-time leading Test run-scorer, for a duck when, for the second time this match, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled him with a superb delivery that pitched on middle and hit the off-stump.

R Ashwin and Mohammed Shami had starred in the first innings, sharing seven wickets between them as England were shot out for 287 after electing to bat first.

And after passing 100 he turned the screw, adding another 57 runs with the tail to take India to within parity of England's first-innings total. But then young seamer Sam Curran showed the spectators that he could bat too, with a 65-ball 63 that took his team to a respectable 180 and England set India a fairly challenging 194 to win.

The pair had moments of good fortune, most notably when Shikhar Dhawan spilled a chance to dismiss Rashid on 13, the opener put off by Dinesh Karthik diving across him but still almost catching a rebound as the ball dribbled over his shoulder to the grass.

It was not long on Friday before Ashwin removed Keaton Jennings, another left-handed opener, after England resumed on nine for one, a lead of 22 runs.

If India manage to overhaul the target, it will be their only seventh Test win on the England soil.

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Skipper Joe Root had top scored with a fluent 80 but his run out from a brilliant throw by Kohli led to their demise.

Ashwin took three for 59 to follow his first-innings four for 62.

He broke the budding 21-run partnership between him and Dawid Malan (20) as Rahul held another excellent, low catch at leg slip.

Two more Indian batsmen departed, with Ben Stokes taking the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane (15) and Dinesh Karthik (0) in consecutive overs.

England lost Jos Buttler (1) in the second ball of the session.

"It feels nice to represent your country and come overseas and take five wickets in an innings, especially the second one", said Sharma, who credited a spell with English county side Sussex this season for getting him in shape.

Initially things were looking very good for India. A deserved half-century arrived courtesy of his second maximum, this time swatting Sharma away over extra cover.

He was eventually last man out on the stroke of tea, caught behind off Umesh Yadav.

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