Rohit Sharma India England
Rohit Sharma is disappointed after being dismissed by Moeen Ali on Day 3 of the third Test between England and IndiaReuters

Batting an entire day with that mammoth score staring at you right in the face was always going to be a tough task for India, and so it proved to be as the batsmen just failed to keep those concentration levels in peak condition from ball one to ball hundred-and-odd, with England tightening the noose with a sound display of patient, controlled, potent Test match bowling on Day 3 of the third Test in Southampton.

Right from the off, India went on the defensive, and right from the off, England's attack-mode-at-the-right-time bowling paid dividends, with wickets, every time India looked like clawing their way back into the match, curbing the away team's enthusiasm.

The end of day 3 saw India finish on 323 for eight in 102 overs, trailing England by 246 runs, with skipper MS Dhoni, the only hope left for his side, batting on 50 (103b, 5x4, 1x6), and Mohammed Shami giving him company.

The England bowlers made as much as they could of the pitch in the first session, keeping it tight with the Indian batsmen – Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, starting from an overnight score of 25 for one in 14 overs – having only one thing in their minds – to survive the first session unscathed, with runs, if they come, very much a bonus.

Such was Vijay's tight defence that the opener took over seven overs to get off the mark on Day 3, and that seemed to be a bad omen, as soon after India lost their first wicket, that of Pujara.

The right-hander has played a few similar innings of the same mould in this series already, wherein he stonewalls the bowlers for a length period of time, without getting too many runs, before throwing it away after looking more settled than a kid in front of the PS3.

Stuart Broad (23-6-65-3) was the man to get the opening wicket of the day, digging one in and finding the gloves of Pujara (24, 52b, 3x4) en route to Jos Buttler to complete his first catch in Test cricket.

Vijay still had that "thou shall not pass" look though, and with Virat Kohli, desperate for some runs in this series, at the other end, India still had that hope of seeing the England bowlers through to Lunch with minimal damage.

However, Broad had his tail up after the wicket, with the tall fast bowler getting one to nip back, catch the bat of Vijay (35, 95b, 9x4) and disturb the timber.

Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, so impressive on this tour so far, saw India through to Lunch with the score at 108 for three, but also with that air of inevitability and a score well below the follow-on target lingering like a heavy, cheap perfume.

The two right-handers stuck together for a tad over 18 overs, scoring 48 runs, with both batsmen growing from strength to strength with each passing over. However, this series has not been Kohli's so far, and the India superstar's bad run continued, after a reasonably serene 75-ball 39 (3x4), getting that inevitable nick through to Alastair Cook at first slip off a perfect seamer from James Anderson (29-9-52-3).

With India batting deep this time around, following the inclusion of Rohit Sharma, there were still plenty of wickets for England to go through before getting to the tail, and Rahane and Rohit put on a solid partnership together, taking their team from a precarious 136 for four to 210.

It looked for all money that India would take Tea with only four down, when Rohit had that "what on earth were you thinking moment" again. With England going through the motions a little bit, looking for that Tea break, Rohit (28, 61b, 3x4) decided to give the hosts a lifeline by going down the pitch to Moeen Ali (18-0-62-2) and lobbing a nice easy catch to Broad at mid-off.

Suddenly, India were right up against it again, and it only got worse as Rahane (54, 113b, 5x4) fell early in the final session, with Ali yet again bringing that golden arm into play, inducing an awful shot from the settled batsman off an even worse delivery.

At 217 for six, India were now in serious trouble, which a 58-run partnership between MS Dhoni, looking a lot better at the crease than he has done for a while, and Ravindra Jadeja (31, 52b, 6x4) could not diffuse, with the latter's wicket and that of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19, 35b, 4x4) late in the piece only giving England more control.