England’s Sam Curran again proved his worth with the ball after starring with the bat by taking the prize wicket of India captain Virat Kohli on the second day of the fourth Test at Southampton on Friday.
At tea, India were 181 for five, 65 behind England’s first-innings 246.
Cheteshwar Pujara, hit on the helmet by a Ben Stokes bouncer, was 70 not out, with Rishabh Pant out for a duck off the last ball of the session after Curran had dismissed star batsman Kohli for 46.
England’s total owed much to the recalled Curran’s Test-best 78, made after he had come in with the hosts in dire straits at 86 for six after India’s pacemen had inflicted yet another top-order collapse.
India resumed Friday on 19 without loss.
James Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, needed six more wickets to equal retired Australia great Glenn McGrath’s mark of 563 — the most taken by any fast bowler at this level.
But it was his longtime new-ball partner Sturt Broad who made the breakthrough to have KL Rahul lbw for 19.
And 37 for one became 50 for two when Broad drew India’s other opener, left-hander Shikhar Dhawan, forward and diving wicket-keeper Jos Buttler took a good low two-handed catch. Dhawan departed for 23 runs.
Kohli’s duels with Anderson have been a feature of the series and the India star frustrated the England great with a textbook cover-drive for four.
But after lunch, 20-year-old Surrey rising star Curran, in just his fourth Test, took the wicket England so badly wanted when the left-arm swing bowler angled a delivery across Kohli who, in a rare error, pushed out away from his body and saw the ensuing edge well caught low at first slip by Alastair Cook.
Kohli faced 71 balls, including six fours, and put on 92 with Pujara to leave India 142 for three.
– 6,000 up for Kohli –
The India skipper scored exactly 200 runs in a 203-run victory in the third Test at Trent Bridge, a result that reduced England’s lead in the five-match series to 2-1, having also managed the same feat in the first Test at Edgbaston.
Friday’s innings saw Kohli, the world’s top-ranked batsman reach 6,000 Test runs in his 119th innings at this level.
That meant he became the second quickest India batsman to the landmark after Sunil Gavaskar (117 innings).
Curran had been unfortunate to be make way for the returning Stokes at Trent Bridge.
And the fact England had concerns over pace-bowling all-rounder Stokes’s ability to get through a full quota of overs at Southampton because of a knee injury led to a fresh rejig of their team.
Stokes had Ajinkya Rahane dropped on five by a diving Root at second slip as England spilt yet another chance in the cordon this series.
But it was not an expensive miss, with Stokes having Rahane lbw for 11.
Rahane reviewed and Stokes was fortunate not to have the decision overturned because of a no-ball, with third umpire Joel Wilson using a zoom replay to decide the paceman had a fraction of his front foot behind the crease.
Pujara, who completed a 100-ball fifty, including six fours, suffered a painful blow when he missed an intended hook off Stokes, with the batsman needing several minutes of on-field treatment as medical staff checked for concussion before resuming his innings.
At the other end, the normally aggressive Pant was tied down before falling lbw for a 29-ball nought to recalled off-spinner Moeen Ali off what became the last ball before tea.