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India strike key blows as England reach 86-6 at lunch

BIRMINGHAM, Aug 3 (Reuters) England got off to a rocky start in their second innings, scoring 86 runs for the loss of six wickets on the third day of the first test against India, as the visitors ripped through the hosts’ batting order including the removal of skipper Joe Root.

Resuming at 9-1, England’s batsmen ran into trouble with more than half the side back in the pavilion as spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and fast bowler Ishant Sharma bagged three wickets each with England’s overall lead at 99 runs at lunch.

Ashwin’s offspin proved potent against both English left-handed openers.

Keaton Jennings edged a ball pitched on off-stump and moving slightly away to second slip. A similar delivery got rid of Alastair Cook on the final ball of the second day.

But the big one for India was Root’s wicket, England’s best player of spin and top scorer with a fluent 80 runs in the first innings, who flicked a ball to KL Rahul who made a low catch at leg slip.

For a brief period, Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan steadied the ship with a 31 run partnership before Sharma prised out both batsmen within four overs. He followed that up with the wicket of all rounder Ben Stokes.

For England, Bairstow was the top scorer in the morning session, stroking his way to 28 runs off 40 balls with five boundaries.

At the end of the second day, Virat Kohli scored a gritty 149 to rescue India and leave the intriguing first test finely balanced as England were left to rue several missed chances.
With England’s pace bowlers running through India’s much vaunted top order to leave them reeling on 100-5, it was left to captain Kohli to string together a series of partnerships with the lower order.

Kohli was finally last man out with his dismissal giving England a slim 13-run first-innings lead after they bowled out the visitors for 274.

The hosts, playing their 1000th test, suffered a collapse of their own, losing six wickets for 67 runs, as they scored 287 runs in their first innings.

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