Captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane failed to perform with the bat but Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant scored unbeaten half centuries as India reached 154/4 in their first innings at Tea in reply to England’s 578 on Day Three of the first Test here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Kohli, playing his first Test after the paternity leave, was the first wicket to fall in the post-lunch session as he got caught at short-leg by Ollie Pope against Dominic Bess. He batted for 48 deliveries in which he scored 11 runs.
India’s number four Rahane didn’t stay long at the crease as he was caught brilliantly by England skipper Joe Root against Bess. The 32-year-old, who led India to a memorable Test series win last month in Australia, scored just one run off the six balls he faced, leaving the hosts in trouble at 73/4.
Pant, who came in next, however played in his usual flamboyant style as he took on the England spinners and scored runs at a brisk pace. He targeted Jack Leach in particular, hitting him for as many as four sixes within the first four overs the England spinner bowled.
Pujara and Pant stitched together a brilliant, unbeaten stand of 81 runs off just 87 balls as India reached 154/4 to trail by 424 runs at the tea break. Pant and Pujara remained not out on 54 (44 balls, four 4s and four 6s) and 53 (111 balls, seven 4s) respectively.
Earlier in the morning session, India bundled out England for 578 as the visitors added 23 runs to their overnight score of 555/8.
In reply, India lost both their openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill before Lunch.
Rohit was the first to go as he got out caught behind on a peach of a delivery bowled by Jofra Archer. The 32-year-old scored just six runs off the nine deliveries he faced.
Gill looked in great control and played some lovely shots before he was caught at mid-on by Anderson at his individual score of 29. He scored five boundaries in the 28 balls he faced during the course of his innings which was brought to an end by Archer at India’s score of 44.
Brief scores: India 154/4 at Tea (Rishabh Pant 54*, Cheteshwar Pujara 53*; Dominic Bess 2/28) trail by 424 runs vs England 578 all out.