Rishabh Pant plays a shot during the first Test mach against England on Sunday. Twitter photo
England spinner Dom Bess claimed four wickets to leave India struggling to avoid the follow-on despite Rishabh Pant's blazing 91 on day three of the opening Test on Sunday.
India reached 257 for six at stumps in response to England's 578 in Chennai. Washington Sundar, on 33, and Ravichandran Ashwin, on eight, were batting with an ubroken stand of 32.
India need another 122 to avoid the follow-on. Fast bowler Jofra Archer removed openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill in the morning session and Bess soon took over with his off spin to get key wickets including skipper Virat Kohli for 11.
Pant smashed his fourth Test fifty in 40 balls to counter the England bowling but became Bess' fourth victim after he miscued a lofted hit to get caught by Jack Leach at deep cover.
The wicketkeeper-batsman hit nine fours and five sixes, which came against Leach's left-arm spin, in his 88-ball blitz.
Pant, who was one of India's heroes in their Test win in Australia, helped India recover from 73 for four with a 119-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara, who made 73.
Pujara was caught at short mid-wicket with the ball coming off a rebound from the shoulder of the fielder ducking at short leg.
Bess got Kohli's prized scalp with a ball outside the off stump that spun sharply and the Indian captain pressed forward only to get an inside edge for a catch at short leg.
The finger spinner struck again in his next over with the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane for one as England skipper Joe Root took a stunning one-handed catch diving towards his left at cover.
Earlier Archer had Sharma caught behind for six in the fourth over. James Anderson took a low diving catch to cut short a promising start by Shubman Gill, who made 29 off 28 balls, including five boundaries.
England's innings, which resumed on 555-8, ended inside the first hour of play. Paceman Jasprit Bumrah and off-spinner Ashwin took three wickets each. Root on Saturday became the first player to score a double century in his 100th Test before being dismissed for 218.
India, leading 2-1 in the series, struggled to make runs and lost crucial wickets early in the day, including skipper Virat Kohli who failed to score. But Pant put on 113 for the seventh wicket with Sundar to hit back after the England bowlers reduced India to 146 for six at one stage.
Match referee Chris Broad, however, has a special dispensation to extend this final into a sixth day — men's Tests usually only last a maximum of five days — if he feels that will compensate for time lost in the game.
New Zealand enjoyed the greatest triumph in their cricket history as they beat India by eight wickets in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Southampton on Wednesday.
Rishabh Pant (30) and Shreyas Iyer (37) made useful cameos after India were put into bat in a crunch game of the five-match series led by England 2-1 in Ahmedabad. Fast bowler Jofra Archer claimed four wickets including two in the 20th over to return his T20 best of 4-33.
Fans of India and Pakistan called for "peace" and more cricket between the two Asian giants as Pakistan won he toss and chose to field in crunch clash against arch rivals India in Twenty20 World Cup Super 12 match on Sunday.
"It is the most sought after rivalry in cricket and I never miss these games," Himanshu Desai, who has flown in from Harrow in England to watch the game in person, told AFP.
"We have had good practice sessions and I am confident about our preparations. Pakistan's bowlers are known to trouble other teams but I am confident about our batting too."
A buoyant Scotland will begin their Super 12 campaign against a formidable Afghanistan in Sharjah on Monday. Scotland are brimming with confidence after advancing to the Round of Super 12 with two victories from three games in the first round.