Record-breaking England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow admitted his side were outplayed by their hosts as a dominant India moved to within touching distance of an unassailable series lead on day three of the third Test in Mohali.
On a day when Bairstow effected his 68th dismissal of the calendar year – a Test record – England slumped to 78-4 at the close, still trailing India by 56 runs. Vice-captain Joe Root, opening in place of the injured Haseeb Hameed, remained unbeaten on 36.
India’s lower-order had earlier made England toil in the field, swelling their first innings total to 417 as Ravindra Jadeja top scored with 90 and Ravichandran Ashwin, who later snared 3-19, added 70.
While all-rounder Ben Stokes claimed 5-73 and leg-spinner Adil Rashid 4-118, India’s first innings tally dwarfed England’s paltry effort of 283 and strengthened the hosts’ grip on a 2-0 series advantage.
“It’s not the day we were looking for. To be brutally honest it wasn’t a great day for us,” said Bairstow. “Losing myself and Ben [Stokes] there at the end capped off a day that at the start of it we didn’t envisage.
“Having got to the point where if we got a couple of quick ones in the morning we would be in a good position, that didn’t happen and we’re fighting an uphill battle at the moment.
“We’ve got to take it on the chin. We’ve got to fight hard. We’ve still got a lot of batting to come, we’ve got to remember that and hopefully the guys can pull it out of the hat.”
As well as Bairstow’s personal milestone, skipper Alastair Cook moved into the top 10 Test run scorers of all-time, passing former Australia captain Steve Waugh, but only managed a knock of 12 before being bowled by Ashwin.
All-rounder Moeen Ali, Bairstow and Stokes all fell cheaply as Root offered England’s principal resistance. Root performed the role of a makeshift opener in the absence of Hameed, who was struck on the left hand during the opening day of the contest.
England are yet to confirm the extent of the 19-year-old’s injury and, although the Lancastrian batted in the nets yesterday, he continued to display discomfort meaning India could require just five wickets for victory.