Manchester: A brilliant bowling performance by paceman Stuart Broad has put England in a commanding position on only the first day of the fourth cricket Test against India at Old Trafford here Thursday.
Broad’s six-wicket haul helped the hosts bowl out India for a mere 152 and then end the day at 113/3, trailing by 39 runs at stumps.
The six foot five inch tall Broad wrecked the Indian batting order from top to bottom from clinching the first wicket of Gautam Gambhir (4) to the last — Pankaj Singh (0). He starred by picking up six wickets for only 25 runs in 13.4 overs with six maidens and a staggering average of 1.82, aiding bundle out India at tea.
It was a miserable performance by India as six batsmen failed to open their accounts. The only saving grace was skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s rearguard 71 and Ravichandran Ashwin’s fighting 40. The only other Indian batsman to get to double figures was Ajinkya Rahane (24).
England pacers made the best use of overcast conditions after Dhoni opted to bat. Though the pitch was good for batting, the conditions assisted English seamers, who got the ball to swing right from the start. Opening bowler James Anderson also picked up three wickets for 46 runs.
India were in trouble early as they were left struggling at 8/4. In fact, they lost all four wickets with the scoreboard stuck at eight. By lunch, they were left struggling at 63/5.
Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli got out for ducks while comeback man Gambhir managed only four runs. Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Pankaj Singh were the other batsmen who fell for zero.
Gambhir, who was playing his first Test in nearly 20 months, was the first to go after he fended a rising delivery from Broad and was caught by Joe Root at gully.
Vijay survived 14 balls before edging Anderson to England captain Alastair Cook at first slip. Two balls later, Anderson snared Kohli, who also edged to Cook.
Rahane and Dhoni added 54 runs for the fifth wicket but pacer Chris Jordan (1/27) struck in the second last over before lunch to remove Rahane, who found Ian Bell at second slip.
Jadeja fell in the second over after lunch to leave India at 63/6.
Dhoni and Ashwin then added 66 runs for the seventh wicket that helped India avoid the ignominy of being skittled out for under 100 runs.
The last four wickets fell for 23 runs as the English pace attack put on a clinical show to wipe out the tail.
In reply, England lost openers Sam Robson (6) and Cook (17) at the start before Gary Balance (37) and Ian Bell (45 not out) struck a 77-run third wicket partnership to take England to well past 100.
However, Ballance was found leg before wicket three balls before the end of the innings as Chris Jordan (0 not out) was sent out as the night watchman.