If it walks like a three-day Test and it quacks like a three-day Test, well, you get the picture. That’s the grim starting point for England as they begin the third morning at Chennai some 249 runs in arrears with nine wickets still to snare in India’s second innings after the hosts put on a masterclass yesterday, skittling the visitors for 134.
With the pitch playing like a fourth day surface on the opening afternoon, since then offering more assistance by the session to the tweakers, there is a big opportunity for Jack Leach and Moeen Ali (and Joe Root) to make a real menace of themselves here. Much as it was with Ashwin in the First Test when India were well behind the game in the third innings, they can use this opportunity to bowl themselves into the heads of the Indian batsmen before moving to Ahmenabad for the remainder of the series. That’s not for nothing.
Nor is it that Rohit Sharma has every chance to push on and collect himself another big score after his priceless 161 on Saturday – surely the innings that will define this Test Match. Yes, he was a lucky man to get off the hook on an lbw shout before the close yesterday, but he’ll be there facing the first ball this morning on 25 not out.
Okay, how about I hit the big button and we can begin our conversation? Have you still set your early alarm despite the situation England find themselves in? If so, explain yourself. I’ll pick up your emails from the usual place, or tweet me if you prefer.