JOE ROOT took an incredible five wickets for eight runs as England dramatically hauled themselves back into the Third Test.
Captain Root put himself on to bowl and swept through the lower half of India’s batting order.
Root produced a jaw-dropping spell to put England back in the hunt for victory in the Third TestCredit: Sportzpics – BCCI
It is the cheapest five-for by an England bowler in the history of Test cricket.
Instead of building a big lead, India, who resumed day two on 99-3, were routed for 145 all out and their advantage was restricted to 33 runs.
Root might not even have bowled if England had picked a second specialist spinner to back up Jack Leach.
Left-armer Leach struck the first two blows when Ajinkya Rahane was nailed lbw on the back foot by a ball that skidded on.
Then Rohit Sharma missed a sweep shot and was also leg before for 66.
Leach had taken four of the first five wickets – but then Root started his demolition job.
With his first delivery, Root’s off-spinner turned enough to brush the edge of the dangerous left-hander Rishabh Pant’s bat and Ben Foakes completed the catch.
Next, Root spun a ball sharply past the bat of left-hander Washington Sundar and bowled him.
Axar Patel, another leftie, slapped a catch to cover.
It was becoming a full-blown procession when Ravi Ashwin attempted a slog and succeeded only in skying a catch to Zak Crawley at deep square leg.
India’s innings finished when No.11 Jasprit Bumrah aimed a hoick, missed and became the latest lbw victim.
After his anger on day one at the rushed third umpiring decisions, Root has rarely looked so chuffed as he led off his team holding the ball aloft.
The turnaround caused a sense of disbelief on social media with ex-England captain Michael Vaughan tweeting: “Indian batsmen can’t play off-spinners from Yorkshire!”
England were back in the game but they knew they must do well in their second innings and try to extend their lead to 150 or more.
And, sure enough, Crawley, who scored a half-century in England’s first innings, was bowled for a golden duck by Axar.