India took control of the Second Test after their spinners wreaked havoc on a dustbowl and contested England for 134 points at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.
The hosts finished the second day 54-1 for a 249 point lead over a deteriorating track.
Rohit Sharma, who smashed 161 in the opening innings, was batting on 25 with Cheteshwar Pujara on seven at the other end. Earlier, Moeen Ali and Olly Stone split the last four Indian wickets as the hosts added 29 points to their score overnight before being all for 329 in their first innings.
Rishabh Pant was left stuck on 58 points, after hitting three sixes in his 77-ball blitz.
Upon their return, India launched their three-pronged attack as they sought to tie the series at 1-1.
On a field where the ball was raising dust, England’s response got off to a dismal start, losing four wickets before lunch.
Ishant Sharma tricked Rory Burns lbw for a duck and Dom Sibley fell for 16 after India successfully reviewed a no-exit decision.
Rookie Axar Patel dealt the biggest blow when sacking Joe Root for six years to claim his first try-out wicket, with the England captain, whose mastery of rotation would have been crucial on this pitch, inflated his shot sweeping offering an advantage to Ravichandran Ashwin thin-leg.
The touring middle gave way after the break, Ashwin claimed the important wicket from Ben Stokes, sacking the all-rounder played for 18, India didn’t feel the need to use second crimper Mohammed Siraj until the 39th . attack, Siraj put an end to Ollie Pope’s promising shot of 22 with his first delivery.
Ben Foakes, playing his first game of the four-test series, scored the best score with an unbeaten 42 as England avoided a call but conceded a 195-point lead in the first set. claimed two wickets each.