Leeds: Indian batsmen’s frailty against swing bowling was exposed on Wednesday as the James Anderson-led depleted England pace attack skittled out the visitors for a paltry 78 on the first day of the third Test here at the Headingley.
To compound the difficulties for India, the swing that the host bowlers got early in the day went missing as the visiting bowlers looked clueless in the face of a poor total put up by their batsmen.
The sun had come out, removing the early juice as the home side’s opening batsmen — Haseeb Hameed (60 not out) and Rory Burns (52 not out) — took England to 120 without loss at stumps. England lead India by 42 runs.
Virat Kohli had felt lucky at the start of the day, winning his first toss after losing eight in a row and he had no hesitation in opting to bat as his openers K.L. Rahul and Rohit Sharma had shown enough skills and patience over the first two Tests in handling the new ball in English conditions.
But what unfolded was a horror show. Rahul (0) was dismissed in the first over, No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara (1) was sent back when the total was 4, and skipper Kohli (7) was back in the hut with the scoreboard reading 21.
All three dismissals had couple of things in common. They all were off seamer James Anderson, who took his Test tally to 629, and all were caught by Jos Buttler behind the stumps.
The moving ball became a bane again as vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane (18) was caught behind off Ollie Robinson at the stroke of lunch. The 35-run stand that Rahane shared with Rohit Sharma (19) was to be the only notable partnership in the Indian innings.
In fact, those two were to be the only Indian batsmen on the day to get into double figures.
After lunch, the fall of wickets continued as Robinson had Rishabh Pant caught behind. The well-set Rohit, who faced 105 balls for his 19, was out to a mistimed pull off pacer Craig Overton, who replaced the injured Mark Wood for the third Test.
Overton then got Mohammed Shami, caught in slips off the very next ball, before Sam Curran picked up two wickets in two balls, removing Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah.
Overton returned figures of 3/14, Anderson got 3/6, Robinson scalped 2/16 while Curran too picked up 2 wickets for 27 runs.
In response, Hameed and Burns looked extremely comfortable. The former hit 11 fours while the latter struck five boundaries and a six.
India 78 all out in 40.4 overs (C Overton 3/14, J Anderson 3/6, O Robinson 2/16, S Curran 2/27) vs England 120/0 in 42 overs (H Hameed batting 60, R Burns batting 52).