England reach 131-7 as bad light stops play

BIRMINGHAM: England reached 131 runs for the loss of seven wickets in their second innings on the third day of the first test match against India, stretching their overall lead to 144 runs on Friday, as bad light stopped play.

With the visitors dominating either side of the break, it was left to the eighth wicket partnership between the 20-year-old Sam Curran and Adil Rashid to string together a 44-run stand after India's bowlers reduced England to 87-7 after lunch.

England got off to a rocky start in their second innings, losing six wickets in the morning session, as the visitors ripped through the hosts' batting order including the prized scalp of skipper Joe Root.

Resuming the day at 9-1, England's batsmen ran into trouble with more than half the side back in the pavilion as spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and fast bowler Ishant Sharma bagged three wickets each with England's overall lead at 99 runs at lunch.

Ashwin's offspin proved potent against both English left-handed openers.

Keaton Jennings edged a ball pitched on off-stump and moving slightly away to second slip. A similar delivery got rid of Alastair Cook on the final ball of the second day.

But the big one for India was Root's wicket, England's best player of spin and top scorer with a fluent 80 runs in the first innings, who flicked a ball to KL Rahul who made a low catch at leg slip.

For a brief period, Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan steadied the ship with a 31 run partnership before Sharma prised out both batsmen within four overs. He followed that up with the wicket of all rounder Ben Stokes.

At the end of the second day, Virat Kohli scored a gritty 149 to rescue India and leave the intriguing first test finely balanced after England's pace bowlers ran through India's much vaunted top order to leave them reeling on 100-5 at one stage.

Skipper Kohli was finally last man out with his dismissal giving England a slim 13-run first-innings lead after they bowled out the visitors for 274.

The hosts, playing their 1000th test, scored 287 runs in their first innings.

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