India rip through woeful England
England's collapse to spin took dramatic hold on the third morning of the first Test as their hopes of salvaging a stalemate faded fast.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha's rapid progress through England's frontline batsmen made a nonsense of Graeme Swann's manful attempts to chip through India on the first two days of this series.
In reply to 521 for eight declared, England faltered from an already vulnerable 41 for three to 110 for seven by lunch.
Kevin Pietersen's comeback innings following his successful 'reintegration' was fretful throughout, rarely in his crease in an attempt to stop Ojha dictating events. The result appeared reckless rather than effective. He missed the first ball of the morning, from Ojha, which kept low and snaked through for a bye.
With Alastair Cook mostly secure at the other end, facing almost all of Ashwin (three for 44) and some of Ojha (three for 30), Pietersen began to look a little more settled himself. But Ojha knocked out his middle-stump as he played inside a delivery which turned sharply from wide on the crease round the wicket, departing for 17.
England's collective response to last winter's failings against spin has been to ditch the sweep and play much less from the crease. Ian Bell has taken the 'remedy' to extremes, however, and paid the price instantly when he was up the wicket to the slow left-armer and went through with an attempted lofted drive even though he did not quite get to the pitch.
The outcome was an embarrassing exit for a golden duck, caught at deep mid-off. Cook crossed and survived the hat-trick ball. He seemed fortunate soon afterwards when Ojha pitched on line and again found turn to beat the forward-defence but did not win the lbw verdict from Tony Hill.
India need not bemoan the absence of DRS for long, though - because Ashwin lured Cook into a drive and had him edging some spin low to slip, where Virender Sehwag took a neat catch.
New batsman Samit Patel could not utilisie his shares of luck and skill to the fullest extent. The first element was forthcoming for his partner Matt Prior, dropped on three after clubbing a full-toss from Ashwin to Zaheer Khan on the square-leg boundary.
But it was not Patel's day. He got past the initial spin threat, only to go lbw to one perhaps sliding towards leg when India belatedly introduced frontline seamer Umesh Yadav. Prior and Tim Bresnan then at least closed out the session. England merely need to somehow negotiate another eight to head for Mumbai undefeated next week.