Ashwin’s triple strike leaves England reeling
MOHALI: Ravichandran Ashwin’s fine all-round performance put India firmly in control of the third Test Monday, as he followed up a dominant innings of 72 with three wickets to leave England reeling on 78 for four.
The visitors, who conceded a 134-run first-innings lead, trailed their hosts by 56 runs with six second-innings wickets remaining at stumps on day three in Mohali.
Joe Root (36) and nightwatchman Gareth Batty (0) were at the crease.
Root opened with Alastair Cook in the absence of teenager Haseeb Hameed with a hand injury.
He will bat later in the innings but could miss the rest of the series, depending on what X-rays reveal.
Ashwin drew first blood by getting Cook bowled for 12.
The England skipper had been living dangerously, with two lbw calls against him going for reviews, first by India and then by the batsman himself. But he survived only to see his stumps shattered later on.
Ashwin kept up the pressure from his end as he bamboozled Moeen Ali (5) with a flighted delivery, causing the batsman to give away a catch to midon.
Root soughtg to steady y the inningsg with Jonny Bairstow, but the wicketkeeper-batsman’s resistance did not last long.
Off- spinner Jayant Yadav got Bairstow, who top-scored with a dogged 89 in England’s first innings of 283, caught behind for 15.
An unrelenting Ashwin, the world’s top-ranked Test bowler, then trapped Ben Stokes lbw for five as the visitors slipped further.
“We’ve lost a few wickets this evening, which was not ideal, that was not the plan,” Bairstow told reporters.
“However, we still got Root out there in the middle, we still got Jos (Buttler) to come, we still got Woakesy (Chris Woakes) to come and (Adil) Rashid scored a heck of a lot of runs. There’s still a lot of batting within the shed.”
Earlier India’s first innings saw five half-centuries before the hosts, who resumed the day on 271-6, were bowled out for 417 in the afternoon.
Ravichandran Ashwin,foreground-left, celebrates with his teammates after dismissing England's Moeen Ali at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, on Monday. (Reuters)