England endured a difficult day as centuries by Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay put India in control on day three of the fourth Test in Mumbai.
Kohli’s classy 147 not out and 136 from Vijay dented England’s hopes as India reached 451-7, a lead of 51.
The bowlers toiled, despite Cheteshwar Pujara falling for 47 to the second ball of the day.
Joe Root took two wickets in four balls but England, who trail in the series 2-0, face a difficult second innings.
Kohli, dropped on 68 by Adil Rashid, maintained his composure to blunt England after they took three wickets for 28 runs, and gave India the advantage on a turning pitch.
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Rashid and Moeen Ali, who both struggled on the first day, bowled a much more consistent line but the sharp spin that they found will surely play on the mind of England’s batsmen.
“Every time England sneaked the door open, India were too good – that’s been the story of the day,” former England captain Geoffrey Boycott said on BBC Test Match Special.
Kohli leads from the front
Vijay’s century, brought up in the morning session, was in danger of being overshadowed by Kohli, who was supported by 19,444 vocal fans inside the Wankhede Stadium.
Kohli started his innings aggressively but played more cautiously on the third day as England’s spinners found regular turn, before Rashid dropped a tough caught-and-bowled chance in the afternoon.
He jumped on short deliveries from the spinners, but it was the way he used his wrists to find the singles that propelled him to three figures.
England’s decision to take the new ball in the 139th over only encouraged him to accelerate as he drove Chris Woakes ferociously to the boundary.
He guided the lower order through to stumps, putting on 87 runs with Jayant Yadav, to ensure England faced the prospect of another morning in the field.
‘He’s like milk chocolate’ – what they said
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on Test Match Special: “My little lad is here and I had to say, ‘get here quick – it’s the Virat Kohli show’. He hasn’t been disappointed.
“This is an ‘I was there’ moment. This Kohli innings has been a masterstroke.”
Ex-England batsman Geoffrey Boycott: “He’s so smooth, like milk chocolate – his footwork gets him into position so early. It’s a pleasure to watch him.”
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar: “Kohli has played one of the best innings I have seen. It has been magnificent.”
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “The India fans have moved on from Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai, and Kohli is their hero.”
Ex-England batsman Ed Smith: “It’s been extraordinary to watch Virat Kohli in this form.”
England batsman Joe Root: “His balance between aggression and defence was perfect, pretty much. He only gave one half chance.”
The stats behind Kohli’s century
- The first India batsman to score 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year since Rahul Dravid in 2011
- The second youngest and sixth fastest Indian to reach 4,000 Test runs
- Moved to 14th in the all-time list of India Test run-scorers
- Eighth Test century as India captain, out of 15 overall centuries
- The sixth India player to score 500 runs against England in a series; the only other player to do so as captain is Sunil Gavaskar
Root’s inspired move makes breakthrough
After Pujara fell to Jake Ball’s second delivery, leaving a ball that moved back to clip the stumps, England faltered.
It took a misjudgement from Vijay, who hit a Rashid full toss back to the bowler, to make the breakthrough.
Alastair Cook was off the field when vice-captain Root made the decision to bring himself on to bowl. It reaped an instant reward as Parthiv Patel edged a delivery that bounced to Jonny Bairstow.
Root struck again four balls later as Ashwin, who made a half-century in the previous Test, thudded the ball into Keaton Jennings at short leg to depart for a three-ball duck.
England bowled with control and Rashid was rewarded when he became the first England leg-spinner since 1946-7 to take 20 wickets in a series as Jadeja skied a delivery and was caught by Jos Buttler.
England failed to make the new ball count, with Yadav dropped on eight by Root at second slip off James Anderson.
They must take quick wickets on the fourth morning before attempting to erase their first-innings deficit on a pitch offering increasing turn.
‘It’s about being positive’
England batsman Joe Root on TMS: “Tomorrow morning we have to look to take those three quick wickets early. Once that’s happened, we look at how we approach batting in this game.
“It was about being positive and taking the game to the opposition. That’s all we can do now.”
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “The lead is mounting. It’s a really good game of cricket but England have got a lot of batting to do tomorrow – it will be very difficult.”