sport

Broad puts England on top

England continued where they left off from the Ageas Bowl as they dominated day one of the fourth Test, closing on 113-3 after dismissing India for 152.

Having recorded an emphatic victory in Southampton last time out to level the series, the hosts skittled their opponents inside two sessions thanks to Stuart Broad's 6-25.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni had seemingly made the universally correct decision to bat first after winning the toss, only for his side to suffer a disastrous morning that saw them lose four wickets with the score stuck on eight.

They collapsed again in the afternoon to be bowled out in 46.4 overs. Dhoni showed his team-mates how it should be done on a pitch with pace and bounce - a rarity these days on English soil - with a defiant knock of 71 before becoming the ninth wicket to fall.

England's reply looked in danger of being a struggle when they lost openers Sam Robson (six) and Alastair Cook (17) in the early stages, leaving them at 36-2.

However the in-form Gary Ballance (37) and Ian Bell (45 not out) put the pitch into perspective with an alliance worth 77 that was ended just before the close when the former was lbw to Varun Aaron - one of three new faces in India's XI - for 37.

It all meant that by the time stumps were drawn on a day extended due to rain before play, England had a firm grip on proceedings. Even with the forecast looking a little iffy for the coming days, they have accelerated the game to such an extent that a positive result still looks very likely.

Broad was the headline act with the ball, and it was his partnership up front with James Anderson (3-46) that knocked the top off the India order and left the innings in tatters.

The recalled Gautam Gabhir was the first of the dominoes to fall, Broad getting the left-hander caught at gully by Joe Root for four.

Anderson then followed that up with a double-wicket maiden, both Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli pushing at away-swinging deliveries to provide comfortable chances to Cook at first slip.

When Broad tempted Cheteshwar Pujara into a rather leaden-footed drive that ended up in the hands of Chris Jordan at third slip, India had seen four batsmen depart without the score budging.

Ajinkya Rahane also departed, the one wicket not to go to England's new-ball pair as he was caught in the slips off Jordan, to leave the lunchtime score at a rather rocky 63-5.

Ravindra Jadeja didn't last long after the break, lbw to Anderson after being greeted to the middle by a chorus of boos from the Manchester crowd, before Dhoni combined with the recalled Ravichandran Ashwin to add 66.

At 129-6 things were looking a little brighter for the tourists, only for Broad to return and take 4-6 in the space of 21 deliveries to wrap up the innings in a hurry. Crucially he had Dhoni caught in the deep, ending the right-hander's defiance as he looked to add to his 15 fours.

England's reply suffered a setback when Robson was left to rue leaving alone an inswinger from Bhuvneshwar Kumar that clipped off stump, continuing his barren run of form.

Cook must have regretted having a hook at the lively Aaron too, but any concerns about a collapse were dismissed thanks to Ballance and Bell, who will resume on day two with 45 to his name and nightwatchman Jordan for company.