Stuart Broad dented India’s spirited reply with two quick wickets as the visitors reached 102 for two in the third morning of their first cricket Test against England here today.
The tall fast bowler, under fire for his recent indifferent form, accounted for both Indian openers Gautam Gambhir (15) and Abhinav Mukund (49).
India still trail by 372 runs after England had declared their first innings at 474 for eight.
Rahul Dravid (15) and Sachin Tendulkar (10) were holding fort at the break, the experienced duo having put on 25 runs from 45 balls so far.
Broad was brought on to bowl the ninth over of the day after new—ball bowlers James Anderson and Chris Tremlett were flummoxed by young opener Mukund’s fidgety yet effective innings of 49.
Mukund lived dangerously, once getting hit on the grill of his helmet by a bouncer from Tremlett and twice steering Anderson uppishly through the vacant fourth slip.
Once, an edge fell just short of the gully fielder and there were a couple of mad scrambles for singles where he could reach the safety of his crease only by diving full length.
Yet India were not complaining as the two openers saw off the new ball and completely flustered England’s attack, who were looking to make early inroads in the visitors’ innings.
The day began with both Anderson and Tremlett bowling three straight maiden overs between them, hardly making the batsmen play while allowing them to get their eye in.
But Mukund was rattled when a bouncer from Tremlett hit him on the grill of his helmet, and affected him as he threw his bat at almost everything for the next 10 minutes.
There were a couple of edges which flew between the slip cordons for fours against Anderson, and a steer almost carried to gully.
Mukund, playing his fourth Test, decided to go after the bowling, flicking Tremlett for his first boundary and dispatching the next delivery to square leg fence rather assuredly.
The young Chennai opener, who made his debut in the Caribbean last month, looked better with his flicks as the first 50 of the innings arrived from 99 balls with five fours.
England, in desperation, replaced Anderson after only four overs with Broad, who straightaway made his presence felt when he cleaned up Gambhir off a delivery which sneaked in between the Indian’s bat and pad and rattled the stumps.
The opening stand of 63 was still a good base which the two left—handers provided to the team.
Mukund looked good for his half century when he dragged a delivery from Broad on to his stumps, one short of his second successive half century, having batted for 88 balls and 117 minutes and hit five fours. Broad’s spell at that stage read 5.4—2—15—2.
Tendulkar, in search of his 100th international hundred, walked into a standing ovation from the capacity crowd and promptly charmed them when he punched Broad off the backfoot to the cover boundary.
Dravid, at the other end, himself made a few pleasing offdrives but there were a few moments as well when the Karnataka batsman fiddled with deliveries leaving his off stump.
England first innings: 474 for eight declared.
India: 102 for two in 32 overs (Abhinav Mukund 49, Stuart Broad 2/25) Hindu