India were off to a horrendous start in the fifth and final cricket Test against England as a lacklustre batting by the top-order left them gasping at 43 for five at lunch on the opening day, here today.
India's top order crumbled yet again after Alastair Cook won the toss and invited the visitors to bat under overcast conditions at the Oval.
England fast bowlers used the conditions to the optimum as James Anderson (1/16), Stuart Broad (1/6), Chris Jordan (2/7) and Chris Woakes (1/9) all picked up wickets.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (6) and Stuart Binny (4) were at the crease at the break as things did not look much different from Manchester a week ago.
Gautam Gambhir was the first to go, out for a first-ball duck off Anderson. The left-hander intended to play the ball and then left it, as the massive outswinger kissed the open face of his bat on its way to keeper Jos Buttler.
It brought out Cheteshwar Pujara (4) to the crease and he struggled out in the middle for quite some time before a Broad inswinger went past his defences and ended his misery.
India's other big hope, Virat Kohli (6) looked as if he had made some slight changes to his stance in a bid to counter his poor form and faults against Anderson’s outswingers. It seemed to work for a while as he saw off his nemesis, even driving him once.
But it fell to nought as he left an incoming delivery from Jordan and umpire Kumar Dharamsena had no option but to give him out LBW as the ball kissed his pads. However the TV replays later suggested that the ball may have missed the wickets.
Two overs later Ajinkya Rahane (0) offered a simple return chance to Jordan as he picked two wickets in the space of eight balls.
Murali Vijay was the only batsman to reach double figures this morning and he watched from the other end as wickets fell. He played patiently and was watchful in his 64-ball stay at the crease. His dismissal only came about as a result of some very smart work from England.
The opener had been regularly dropping the ball short of the slip cordon, and Joe Root stood a couple yards ahead of the regular gully position to snap up the ball the next time he did so. Woakes benefited as the hosts trumped yet another session in front of