Curran, Moeen start rescue act as England reach 139/6 at tea on Day
Southampton, Aug 30 (PTI) Indian bowlers maintained their stranglehold despite an unbroken 53-run stand for the seventh wicket between all-rounders Moeen Ali and Sam Curran as England reached 139 for six at tea on the opening day of the fourth Test.
Moeen (30 batting) and Curran (27 batting) carried a rescue act after Mohammed Shami's (2/38) double blow left England tottering at 86 for 6 at one stage.
The second session proved to be slightly better for the hosts as it yielded 82 runs for the loss of two wickets.
Post lunch, Jos Buttler (24) was out caught at slip by skipper Virat Kohli off Shami's bowling.
Ben Stokes (23) continued to defend stoically, lasting 79 deliveries. Shami bowled brilliantly, continuing from where he left off in the morning session. And it brought him reward when he trapped Stokes lbw coming round the wicket. It was a sharp inswinger that was hitting the leg-middle.
Curran and Ali then came together, and held fort until the tea break. They showed a lot of patience, in particular Curran who stayed calm and went for his strokes whenever opportunity presented itself. On evidence he was England's best batsman so far in this innings.
While Ravichandran Ashwin (0-9) bowled six over, Indian pacers still found assistance from the pitch.
Jasprit Bumrah (2-35) bowled quite a few unplayable deliveries. But they couldn't break this partnership, which crossed 50 off 94 deliveries and also took England past the 100-mark in the 39th over.
Earlier, Indian speedsters rocked the England top-order with an inspiring spell as the home team were left reeling at 57 for 4 at lunch on the first day of the fourth Test.
Bumrah, Ishant Sharma (1/11 in 11 overs) and Hardik Pandya (1/37 in 6 overs) shared the spoils as the English top-order looked clueless against a sustained lateral movement generated by the trio.
Bumrah was handed the new ball and he posed problems from the very beginning.
Keaton Jennings (0) shouldered arms to an ugly fashion to an incoming delivery across the stumps, and was adjudged leg before in the third over.
England should have been two-down in the fifth over, when Bumrah also trapped Joe Root (4), on 2, plumb lbw. When the on-field umpire didn't agree, DRS review showed that the bowler had over-stepped.
Root didn't survive for long though, adding only 14 runs for the second wicket. He was out leg before, this time to Ishant, who bowled a beautiful inswinger that zoomed into hit below Root's knee.
England did lose a DRS review at that instance.
Even as skipper Alastair Cook (17) toiled on, the top-order had no answer to this sustained pressure built up by the Indian attack. Runs came in a trickle, and even after the drinks' break, the pacers attacked relentlessly.
Bumrah returned to further peg England back as Jonny Bairstow (6) was caught behind in the 13th over, nicking him off with an unplayable delivery outside the off stump.
Pandya then got rid of Cook, with Kohli taking a brilliant low catch at third slip as England were reduced to 36 for 4 in the 18th over. England barely managed to crossed 50 in the 20th over.
It could have made for an even more miserable score for the hosts as Buttler, on 11, had an under-edge off Shami just ahead of lunch. But the ball died on the way to keeper Rishab Pant, who didn't get down well on time.
India fielded an unchanged eleven from Nottingham, bringing an end to the 45-match streak of constant chopping and changing.
It was the first time in 39 Tests as captain that Virat Kohli fielded the same team as the previous match