Stuart Broad again proved a thorn in India’s side with the bat as he rescued England from total collapse on the first day of the second Test at Trent Bridge here on Friday.
England collapsed to 88 for six after losing the toss in overcast, swing-friendly, conditions.
But Broad, batting at number nine on his Nottinghamshire home ground, top-scored with 64 in a total of 221.
India at stumps were 24 for one in reply, a deficit of 197 runs, as they looked to level this four-match series at 1-1 after losing the first Test at Lord’s by 196 runs.
Rahul Dravid, who made an unbeaten century at Lord’s, was seven not out and Venkatsai Laxman 13 not out after India lost opener Abhinav Mukund to the first ball of their innings when he pushed at James Anderson and was caught in the gully by Kevin Pietersen.
Earlier, India’s pace trio of Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, recalled in place of the injured Zaheer Khan, all took three wickets apiece.
England captain Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell were the only other batsmen apart from Broad to make more than 30.
The hosts came into this match knowing they would replace India at the top of the ICC’s Test rankings if they won this 2-0 or better.
But during the last decade India have either won or squared several series after losing the first Test.
And although they were without left-arm quick Zaheer due to the hamstring injury that had forced him off the field early on at Lord’s, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to field after winning the toss.
Sharma made the breakthrough when he had Alastair Cook lbw for two before Sreesanth had Jonathan Trott, on four, caught by second slip Laxman.
Pietersen, who made 202 not out at Lord’s, survived a huge lbw shout from Kumar on 17.
Kumar, risking disciplinary action, angrily questioned South African umpire Marais Erasmus’s decision — there are no lbw reviews this series because of Indian objections to ball-tracking technology — at the end of the over before being pulled away by Harbhajan Singh.
England, 69 for two at lunch, lost six wickets for 55 runs in the second session with Kumar striking twice in four balls.
Five balls after lunch, Pietersen, on 29, was squared up by Sreesanth and nicked to third slip Suresh Raina.
Swing bowler Kumar rocked England with a Test-best five for 106 at Lord’s and, on Friday, the medium-pacer dismissed Strauss when a full-blooded drive was well-held by Raina.
That same over saw 85 for four become 85 for five when Kumar’s outswinger to Eoin Morgan had the left-hander lbw for nought.
Matt Prior had frustrated India with an unbeaten century after England had collapsed to 62 for five in their second innings at Lord’s.
But on Friday he made just one before edging Sreesanth to first slip Dravid.
Bell was dropped on 22 by Dravid but he got himself out when he flat-footedly cut at Sharma and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Dhoni.
Broad and Nottinghamshire team-mate Graeme Swann hit out during an entertaining stand of 73 in just 70 balls.
But their ninth-wicket partnership ended when Swann, who needed an X-ray as a result, gloved a rising delivery from Kumar to Mukund on 28.
Left-handed batsman Broad, who made an unbeaten 74 in the second innings at Lord’s, on-drove Kumar for his seventh four to complete a 56-ball fifty featuring seven fours before he was last man out when he holed out to off-spinner Harbhajan.(AFP)