BIRMINGHAM – England's Sam Curran took three wickets in quick succession as India suffered a dramatic top-order collapse in the first Test at Edgbaston on Thursday.
Curran's treble strike reduced India to 76 for three at lunch on the second day, a deficit of 211 runs after England made 287 in their first innings.
Surrey left-arm swing bowler Curran, in only his second Test match, dismissed Murali Vijay, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan in an inspired spell of three wickets for eight runs in eight balls.
At lunch, the 20-year-old son of the late Zimbabwe all-rounder Kevin Curran, had figures of three for 23 in six overs.
India were now looking to captain and star batsman Virat Kohli (nine not out) and Ajinkya Rahane (eight not out) to revive the innings in the first of a five-match series.
It seemed as if openers Vijay and Dhawan had come through a tough spell against the new ball by taking India to 50 without loss.
But first-change Curran made it 50 for one in the 14th over when Vijay was lbw on review after missing a well-pitched-up inswinger.
Two balls later Curran dismissed Rahul for four via the batsman's ugly flat-bat drag-on.
Left-hander Dhawan, fortunate to see an edged drive off Curran fly past third slip Keaton Jennings, had no such luck when, on 26, he nicked a well-directed Curran outswinger to Dawid Malan at second slip.
Earlier, it took India just 10 balls on to wrap up England's first innings, the hosts adding two runs to their overnight 285 for nine before Curran was caught behind off Mohammed Shami for 24.
At that stage England, who won the toss, would have been disappointed at being dismissed for under 300 on a good batting pitch as they marked their 1,000th Test with an all-too familiar batting collapse.
They had been well-placed at 216 for three on Wednesday thanks to a partnership of 104 between captain Joe Root (80) and Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow (70).
But the run out of Root by Kohli, who gave his England counterpart a colourful send-off, sparked a slump that saw England lose six wickets for just 67 runs.
India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, belying his reputation as a poor performer outside the sub-continent, took four for 62 in 26 overs and Shami three for 64 in 19.4 overs.
India is currently on 129/5
Agence France-Presse (AFP)