Chennai: India need 381 runs on day 5 to win the first Test against England after Ravichandran Ashwin helped the hosts to end visitors' second innings on 178 runs here at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday.
At stumps on day four, India's score read 39/1, with Shubman Gill (15*) and Cheteshwar Pujara (12*) on the field. Ashwin picked six wickets, restricting England to a very low total in the second innings and with this, a target of 420 runs was set for the hosts. Apart from Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem picked two wickets while Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah scalped one wicket each. India began their second innings brilliantly, with both Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill scoring regular boundaries. However, Rohit's 12-run innings was brought to an end by Jack Leach in the sixth over. Pujara then came out to bat.
Both Gill and Pujara played cautiously and ensured India do not lose more wickets on the day. India will now either have to score 381 runs on day 5 to win the match or bat for the whole day to draw the game.
Earlier, England witnessed a very dismal start to their second innings as Rory Burns was dismissed on the very first ball of the innings. He was caught by Ajinkya Rahane off Ravichandran Ashwin's delivery. Opener Dom Sibley was then joined by Dan Lawrence on the field.
Sibley and Lawrence added a brief stand of 32-run before Ashwin struck again and dismissed the former in the 11th over. Sibley was caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at leg-slip and departed after scoring 16 runs. Skipper Joe Root joined Lawrence in the middle and stitched a 26-run brief partnership.
Ishant Sharma picked the wicket of Lawrence (18) which was the pacer's 300th Test wicket. Ishant trapped Lawrence (18) in front of the stumps. The batsman took the review but the third umpire stayed with the on-field umpire's decision.
With this, Ishant became the third Indian pacer to do so after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan. Overall, Ishant is the sixth Indian bowler to take 300 Test wickets. Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, and Ravichandran Ashwin are the other five bowlers who have taken 300 wickets in Test cricket.
Ben Stokes came in to bat at number four but in an attempt of adding quick runs to the board, he lost his wicket. Ashwin removed Stokes (7) in the 19th over. Bumrah then got hold of Root, reducing England to 101/5.
Indian bowlers did not let England batsmen settle and took wickets in regular intervals. Ollie Pope (28) was sent back to the pavilion by Nadeem in the 29th over. Jos Buttler was then joined by Dom Bess on the field. Buttler played a knock of 24 runs before Nadeem picked his wicket in the 42nd over. In the next over, Ashwin removed Bess (25), who was given LBW.
Ashwin then dismissed Archer to pick his fifth wicket of the innings. In the same over Ashwin removed Anderson which brought an end to England's second innings.
Resuming day four from 257/6, India's Ashwin and Washington Sundar saw off the initial overs with relatable ease and the duo managed to move the scoreboard at a brisk pace. In the meanwhile, Sundar registered his second half-century in Test cricket.
However, England skipper Joe Root introduced Jack Leach into the attack with the new ball and this resulted in Ashwin's dismissal in the 87th over of the innings, reducing India to 305/7. Sundar and Ashwin had stitched together a partnership of 80 runs from 178 balls.
Soon after, Leach sent Shahbaz Nadeem (0) back to the pavilion as he had the right-hander caught at the hands of Ben Stokes at first slip, and this reduced India to 312/8 in the 91st over. Ishant Sharma (4) was then dismissed by James Anderson. In the end, Sundar hit a few aggressive shots off the bowling of Root, but Anderson dismissed Jasprit Bumrah (0) and as a result, India was bowled out for 337.
On day three, India was left in a spot of bother at 73/4 with Virat Kohli (11), Rahane (1), Shubman Gill (29), and Rohit Sharma (6) back in the hut, but Rishabh Pant (91) and Cheteshwar Pujara (73) had revived the innings for the hosts.
Brief scores: England 578 and 178 (Joe Root 40, Ollie Pope 28, Ashwin 6/61); India 337 and 39/1 (Shubman Gill 15*, Cheteshwar Pujara 12*, Jack Leach 1/21). (ANI)