England are on the brink of a series-levelling win as India stumbled to 117 for seven at stumps on day three of the second Test in Mumbai.
Monty Panesar starred with the ball, taking five for 61 - and 10 in the match - as India crumbled on a dusty, turning track at the Wankhede Stadium. Graeme Swann provided able support, finishing the day with two wickets for 39.
India lead by just 31 runs with three second-innings wickets in hand, a desperately fragile lead.
It had all been made possible after Kevin Pietersen had hit a majestic 186 for England, supported by Alastair Cook, who made 122 as the tourists reached 413.
Their stand, worth 206 runs, propelled England towards a lead. Cook, 87 not out overnight, was quickly into his stride and on to a 22nd Test century. Briefly, that gave the skipper a four-way share in the record for England Test centuries, 22 of them, along with Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoffrey Boycott.
But moments later Pietersen joined him, tackling the Indian spin bowling with gusto and reverse-sweeping for four to raise his 22nd Test ton.
The wicket, which has turned from the first morning, seemed becalmed, but it was an illusion caused by solid batting, which in turn wore down India's attack.
Beautiful deliveries did occasionally beat the bat, and it was an excellent ball from Ravichandran Ashwin which claimed Cook's outside edge and finally ended his innings.
Jonny Bairstow followed on the stroke of lunch, a leading edge caught by Gautam Gambhir at silly point.
There was controversy about the dismissal: replays showed that Gambhir had caught the ball via deflection from his helmet, meaning it should have been called a dead ball, and indeed it appeared that over the lunch interval discussions were held between England's coaching team, the umpires and India about whether to reinstate him.
It had echoes of Ian Bell's Trent Bridge recall in 2011, but it was a simple umpiring error, and Samit Patel joined Pietersen after the interval.
Pietersen continued to treat the bowling with disdain, hitting four sixes, slog-sweeping Pragyan Ojha, even crashing two deliveries through the line for off-side maximums.
Patel's decent start ended on 26, edging to Ojha, while Pietersen became Ojha's fifth victim as he tried to pick up the pace when England moved into the lead.
His celebrations throughout the innings were restrained, but the applause from his team-mates was as generous as befitted a potentially match-winning knock.
The tail struggled: Matt Prior was run out clumsily on 21, while Stuart Broad (six) and James Anderson (two) fell in a single Harbhajan Singh over. Panesar slog-swept a four over midwicket before holing out while trying to repeat the feat the next ball, meaning England added just 31 runs once Pietersen had departed.
But that only proved how tricky batting was, and a lead of 86 runs soon looked very imposing.
Panesar opened in tandem with Anderson, and the top order came and went for single-figure scores.
Virender Sehwag was first, caught by Swann in the gully for nine, before dangerman Cheteshwar Pujara was pouched by short leg off the bowling of Swann for six.
Sachin Tendulkar stroked a couple of fours against Panesar before being caught on the back foot in front of his pads with eight to his name, while Virat Kohli played a shocking shot to a full toss, gifting his wicket to Swann on six with a catch at short extra cover.
Yuvraj Singh added eight before Jonny Bairstow took a second short leg catch of the evening, this time for Panesar. MS Dhoni was caught at slip for six, while Ashwin holed out recklessly with the close of play in sight.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kevin Pietersen
- Monty Panesar
- Graeme Swann
- Alastair Cook