MOEEN ALI showed his love for the Ageas Bowl with another five-wicket haul for England in the fourth Test against India.
In a day of high drama, the recalled off-spinner played a significant part in the Three Lions’ fightback on the second day of the clash.
Ali missed out on a hat-trick but came close to producing his best Test figures. He finished with five for 63 as England bowled the visitors out for 263.
Joe Root’s troops ended on six without loss at stumps in reply and trail by 21 runs.
Ali earned a recall to the Three Lions side after impressing for Worcestershire.
And, having taken six for 67 against India at the Ageas Bowl in 2014, he revealed he bowled full of confidence.
Ali said: ‘Last time I was here gave me the confidence.
‘They were nice memories to have in the back of my mind. It helped knowing that I had done well against India before.
‘After my first over, I thought I might be in the game throughout the match.
‘The fast bowlers coming around the wicket created footmarks.
'A bit of rough is always nice for an off-spinner.
‘I am looking forward to bowling last in the match but we still have to work hard to get a decent total to bowl at.'
Starting the day with a 227-run lead, England got the early breakthrough. Stuart Broad removed Lokesh Rahul lbw and then had Shikhar Dharan caught behind.
England were sensing a way back into the game at this stage, after being bowled out for 246 on the opening day.
However, Chetashwar Pujara struck a superb 132 in alien conditions to rescue India.
He was well supported by captain Virat Kohli (46) steadied after lunch with a 92-run third wicket partnership.
England again grabbed the initiative, though, when Sam Curran had Kohli caught in the slips.
India lost four wickets in the space of 16 runs through Ali’s brilliant spell and looked like surrendering a first-innings lead to the hosts.
Pujara completed a magnificent century, however, helping his side to an a narrow 27-run lead.
An intriguing day ended with England openers Alistair Cook and Keaton Jennings surviving an uncomfortable four overs.