Assistant coach Paul Farbrace has praised his bowlers for hanging in there on a difficult third day of this first Test and believes the two late Indian wickets they gained has swing the contest back in England’s favour.
India spent much of the day batting, as Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay both scored centuries during a 209-run stand that put a big dent in England’s first-innings total of 537.
However, after Ben Stokes removed Pujara for 124 midway through the final session, Adil Rashid and Zafar Ansari struck in the final four balls of the day to remove Vijay for 126 and nightwatchman Amit Mishra for a duck.
It means the hosts, who have not lost a home Test in four years, still have work to do if they are to reapply the pressure on England after closing on 319 for four, still 218 runs behind.
Farbrace believes the late breakthroughs were reward for a disciplined bowling performance that dried up the runs in the final two sessions.
He said: “Going into the last 10 minutes of the day we were saying one more wicket will give the boys a lift but to get two has been huge. To only give away 60-odd runs in that middle session is outstanding on that pitch.
"The breakthroughs show the importance of keeping going all day, holding in there for as long as you can on a flat pitch. One early wicket tomorrow and we are in a very good position. We think we have done particularly well today.”
That it was Rashid and Ansari who made the difference in the closing stages was even more pleasing given England had suffered from a lack of control from their spinners during the recent drawn series in Bangladesh.
"The spinners held the Indian batsmen in these conditions,” said Farbrace. “Our spinners showed they have learnt a lot from the Bangladesh experience.
"But there is a lot of cricket left to play so we are not getting carried away."Reuse content