London: By taking five wickets on a sunny morning - arguably the best batting conditions of the Test - India more than just delayed England's declaration. In the first hour, against a three-man attack, England surprisingly stayed in their shell, and in the second hour, India's rhythm bowlers - Ishant Sharma and Harbhajan Singh - found their rhythm, converting 54 for 1 to 55 for 4, effectively 243 for 4. Ishant's spell leading up to lunch read 5-3-4-3.
In what could be a significant moment for the rest of the series, although England were still well ahead, Ishant let Kevin Pietersen know he will not be bullied. In the first innings, Pietersen had put Ishant completely off his line and length by walking across and at him. Today Ishant welcomed him with a bouncer like he meant it, got extra bounce and the batsman's glove. To cap it off he soon bowled two beauties to send back Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott.
The first two sessions were always going to be about England striving for a big enough lead for the declaration either side of tea, and India trying to delay that eventuality. England, though, were not in any urgency at the start. Ishant, and even Praveen Kumar, hardly moved the ball in the morning, but were accurate. The openers stayed conventional. Alastair Cook scored 1 off 27 before Praveen took him with one that pitched middle and leg, made him play, and then moved away just enough to take the edge.
Strauss still seemed to be feeling his way back into form. In Trott's company, he started working the ball into the leg side fluently. The two added 31 in 11.3 overs before Strauss played a second ordinary sweep shot to Harbhajan. This time he was caught dead in front. That early wicket meant Harbhajan was more threatening than in the first innings.
That wicket brought Pietersen in, and Ishant had a message to deliver. Then followed the two quintessential Ishant wickets. Bell got one that left him against the angle, taking the edge. Two wickets in one over. Two overs later, Ishant got one to move in sharply to Trott, against the slope, and hit the top of off. That ball was meant to get greats out.