A miserable batting collapse left England staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat in the second Test with India.
On a Chennai pitch rapidly deteriorating even on day two, India’s bowlers took full advantage to bowl England out for just 134 before batting on to a lead of 249 runs.
Ravichandran Ashwin took five wickets while Axar Patel and Ishant Sharma picked up two apiece as the ball moved around in all directions and England’s batsmen could offer no answer.
They did at least manage to avoid the follow-on but it proved scant consolation. It was England’s lowest first innings total in India ever and their second-lowest in Asia.
Ishant Sharma celebrates the wicket of England opener Rory Burns to spark a top order collapse in the morning session of day two in Chennai
India had England four wickets down by lunch as they seized control of the second Test
Confidence was flowing through the Indian ranks as they ripped through England’s top order
The horror show started when Rory Burns failed to score for a second consecutive innings as he was out lbw to Ishant Sharma third ball, having unsuccessfully reviewed the decision.
Dom Sibley was the next to fall for 16 in unfortunate circumstances as he missed an attempted sweep to Ravichandran Ashwin only to see the ball strike his pad and loop up off the back of his bat to Virat Kohli at slip.
And any hope captain Joe Root could bat England out of trouble soon ended when he fell for six, top-edging a sweep to Ashwin at short fine leg off the bowling of Axar Patel.
India celebrate another English wicket as they dominated the second day in Chennai
Moeen Ali is dismissed by Axar Patel as England lost their seventh wicket for 105 runs
Ajinkya Rahane makes a diving catch to dismiss Moeen Ali during England’s batting collapse
England were 23 for three at that point and things got worse just as it appeared Dan Lawrence and Ben Stokes were set to steer them safely to lunch.
With the final ball before the interval, Ashwin found Lawrence’s inside edge and the ball deflected off his pad to Shubman Gill at short leg.
And things for even worse for England shortly after lunch when Stokes was bowled by a beauty from Ashwin for 18. Ashwin found some devilish turn to take the off-stump with Stokes left with no chance.
Even Mohammed Siraj managed to pick up a first ball wicket with little more than a loosener as Ollie Pope tickled down the leg side to Rishabh Pant.
Moeen Ali (six) and Olly Stone (one) both fell before tea to leave England facing the prospect of batting again immediately.
Only Ben Foakes offered any real resistance with 42 not out but ran out of partners as Ashwin completed his five-wicket haul by removing Stuart Broad.
Though Jack Leach removed Shubman Gill for 14, India closed the day on 54 for one, a lead of 249 runs with plenty of batting to come.
Moeen Ali (centre) took two wickets early on as India were bowled out for 329 in their innings
Olly Stone celebrates after taking the wicket of Kuldeep Yadav – one of two for the bowler
But England were soon in deep trouble in their response with four wickets falling before lunch
England had earlier wrapped up India’s first innings relatively smoothly with Moeen striking twice in his first over of the day.
India resumed on 300 for six but quickly stumbled to 301 for eight. Axar Patel was stumped off Moeen’s second ball, with Ben Foakes showing swift reactions and smooth glovework after the ball turned nicely past the outside edge.
A full toss then accounted for Ishant Sharma, who stooped to sweep and lobbed an ugly catch straight to Burns.
Rishabh Pant was still batting aggressively, however, and he roared past his half-century with a flourish of fours and one six over long-off off Moeen.
England duly turned to Olly Stone to see if pace might close out the innings. It worked, with the two remaining wickets falling within his first five deliveries.
Neither Kuldeep Yadav or Mohammed Siraj much fancied themselves against the Warwickshire man’s speed and both edged to Foakes to leave Pant high and dry on 58 not out and Stone with final figures of three for 47.
India’s first innings total is already looking a steep ask for England with the pitch crumbling
Ishant Sharma celebrates taking the breakthrough wicket of Rory Burns as England wobbled
But India’s total of 329 always looked challenging given the crumbling nature of the pitch and anxieties certainly grew when Burns fell for a third-ball duck.
After hanging two balls outside off-stump, veteran seamer Ishant straightened up and thumped Burns on the knee-roll from around the wicket.
The umpire’s finger went up after several seconds of deliberation and that proved the decisive factor on the DRS review.
Just as Sibley looked to be bedding in, he dropped to one knee trying to sweep Ashwin. The ball struck his front pad, flicked the back of the bat and went through to leg slip, with replays confirming his dismissal after a not-out decision on the field.
English hopes one more fell to Root but he went for just six, the sweep that served him so well this winter letting him down as Axar took the top edge to leave the tourists well and truly rocking on 23 for three.
Lawrence was forced into survival mode and his nervy existence lasted 52 balls before he pushed hopefully at Ashwin and popped a catch to Gill at short leg.
Ben Foakes is alert to stump Axar Patel for England’s first wicket of the second day in Chennai
Rishabh Pant brought up his 50 with some aggressive batting as India bolstered their score
Colourful India fans celebrate a successful start to the second day as they took control
Any hope that Stokes could fight fire with fire ended when Ashwin deceived him to leave England 52 for five.
Briefly, it appeared the Surrey pair of Pope and Foakes could steady the ship and they put on 35 for the sixth wicket before Pant’s sharp take off Siraj saw Pope back to the stands.
England lost two more before tea with Moeen caught at slip after edging Axar into Pant’s leg before Stone chipped Ashwin to short midwicket.
Foakes was closing in on a half-century as someone finally showed some resistance but ran out of partners as Jack Leach and then Broad fell.
India’s openers went on the attack from the off in their second innings, piling up 42 in 11 overs to compound England’s frustrations.
Leach halted their charge when he trapped Shubman Gill lbw for 14, but the situation was still heavily against the tourists.