India seized the initiative on a rain-interrupted day after England crumbled to 84 for six when the visitors struck immediately after a long afternoon delay when nearly two and a quarter hours were lost.
Dismissed for their lowest total against England, the lbw decisions once again decisive with six India batsmen falling foul of swinging deliveries before more followed in England’s second-innings taking the match tally to sixteen, one short of the women’s world Test record.
Facing a deficit of twenty two and needing to survive half an hour before lunch, England made the worst possible start in their second innings as Heather Knight prodded forward to Jhulan Goswami ’s second ball and was caught at the wicket.
Tammie Beaumont and Lauren Winfield re-grouped and after Beaumont fell victim to another lbw decision, Charlotte Edwards and the York-born Winfield added thirty eight in a breezy third-wicket stand before Winfield departed trapped lbw trying to pull a short ball from Shikha Pandey just as the heavens opened.
England slumped to 73 for four after Edwards departed first ball after the rain-delay edging behind and Lydia Greenway followed one run later giving Goswami her sixteenth lbw decision in Tests - a new women’s world record.
Having thrown away a promising position losing three wickets for eleven runs, the experienced campaigners Sarah Taylor and Gunn consolidated putting on twenty six for the seventh wicket to see England safely through to the close when bad light stopped play.
Taylor said it was one of the most testing innings she had played adding: “ We needed to dig and stick around because India are in a strong position.
“We’ll assess our position overnight but we need to kick on continue accumulating to set a target. It’s not a natural role for me to defend but it was essential for the team and Jenny and I have a massive job ahead of us.
“I was nervous when I came in especially after losing quick wickets but I felt proud at the end of the day."
Resuming at 87 for six, India’s opening bowlers Goswami and Nagarajan Niranjana extended their gritty seventh-wicket stand inching their way in to a three-run lead before Jenny Gunn struck to remove Goswami as she prodded forward.
The 28-year-old Berkshire pace bowler thoroughly deserved her first five-wicket haul in Tests rounding off a superb spell and career-best figures of five for nineteen.
Kate Cross chipped in with a couple while Sonia Odedra, a late call-up in to the squad, claimed her first Test wicket after Shikha Pandey missed a perfect in-swinging yorker.
Unbeaten England batsman Taylor said that the game is still up for grabs, if they can get off to a good start tomorrow. She said: I think we’ve got to look at assessing overnight and putting a target on what we want, and getting as many runs as possible, but I still think there’s a few wickets in there and the game is anyone’s.
“I guess india might be in a slightly stronger position and the lead is about 90odd or something like that so we need to look to kick on tomorrow and get some good runs on the board that we can defend."
Although forced to suppress some of her natural flair, Taylor went on to admit that it was a challenge she enjoyed: "It’s one of those battles that I relish and enjoyed. Don’t get me wrong I was nervous at the time considering situation but I absolutely loved it to finish the day not out."