LONDON, Sep 2 (Reuters) – England were bowled out for 191 before their own top-order collapsed on the first day of a bowler-dominated fourth Test at the Oval on Thursday.
The hosts lost their talismanic captain Joe Root in the final over of the day and gave some of their advantage and lost 53-3 at stumps.
David Malan was batting on 26 and nightwatchman Craig Overton scored an unbeaten run and England were trailing by 138 runs.
Earlier, Virat Kohli had scored 50, but it was a blistering 36-ball 57 from number eight batsman Shardul Thakur that honed India’s total after being put in to bat.
They were 39-3 before the slide was arrested by Kohli, but the touring side rolled to 127-7 after the captain left.
Thakur launched a brilliant counter-attack, but they still fell short of the 200 mark.
India’s openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul had a quick start, making a change in the bowling that worked for England.
After a costly, wicketless spell, Root took spearhead James Anderson out of the attack and put Chris Woakes on serve.
Playing his first Test in 12 months, Woakes triggered a mini-collapse in his first over.
The seamer stunned Rohit with extra bounce and Jonny Bairstow took the catch behind the stumps instead of Jos Buttler.
Rahul was dismissed lbw by Ollie Robinson and Anderson shook India off Cheteshwar Pujara.
The onus was on Kohli to halt the batting similar to the third Test, in which India were bowled out for 78, allowing England to level the five-Test series 1–1.
Luck also favored him as Kohli got a respite for 22 when Root dropped him into the slips when the India captain dismissed Woakes.
Kohli could not convert his half-century into a big innings, although he was caught by Robinson.
India sent Ravindra Jadeja ahead of Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant in a surprise move but all three fell cheaply.
Thakur completed his half-century with his third six off 31 balls before Woakes carried him lbw.
England were dealt an early blow to his reply as Jasprit Bumrah hit two boundaries in five balls.
Rory Burns played with an angled bat that was bowled for five and Haseeb Hameed produced a quick stroke to back off.
Root, the world’s top-order Test batsman, scored a fluent 21 but was dismissed by a brilliant delivery from Umesh Yadav.
India dropped spinner Ravichandran Ashwin again and brought in pacer Yadav and Thakur in place of injured Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.
England welcomed Woakes and batsman Ollie Pope in place of Sam Curran and Butler.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Ed Osmond
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