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India vs England 2nd Test, Day 2: R Ashwin scalps 29th five-fer, India lead by 249 runs

Brief Scores: 1st innings: India 329/10 in 95.5 overs (Rohit Sharma 161, Ajinkya Rahane 67, Rishabh Pant 58*; Moeen Ali 4/128, Olly Stone 3/48)

England 134/10 in 59.5 overs (Ben Foakes 42; R Ashwin 5/43, Ishant Sharma 2/22)

2nd innings – India 54/1 (Rohit Sharma 25*; Jack Leach 1/19)

India lost the wickets of Axar Patel and Ishant Sharma in the second over of Day 2 to Moeen Ali but courtesy of the aggressive knock from Rishabh Pant, the hosts initially steered their way to 324/8 in the 95th over before Olly Stone dismissed the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj in the 96th over to bowl India all out for 329 runs.

In response, England had a disastrous start to the innings, losing their top-five batters to scores of less than 20 runs, and eventually being dismissed entirely on merely 134 runs. Wicket-keeper Ben Foakes played a gritty knock of 42* off 107 deliveries and top-scored for the Englishmen, while Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes followed with scores of 22 and 18 respectively.

Among Indian bowlers, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had a day to remember in the English onslaught on Day 2 as he picked figures of 5/43, his 29th five-wicket haul in Test. With a lead of 195 runs, India would have hoped to finish on a positive day with ten wickets in hand but an arm-ball from spinner Jack Leach plumbed Shubman Gill on 14 runs and forced him en route to the pavilion. India finished the day with Rohit Sharma (25*) and Cheteshwar Pujara (7*) at the crease.

Olly Stone and Moeen Ali wind up India’s batting order

It was quite expected that Moeen Ali would find himself grabbing impressive numbers in the wickets offered in the ongoing Test series. A rank turner was put to display in the second Test and the off-spinner showed his prowess, getting the much-coveted wicket of skipper Virat Kohli (0) in his initial spell, and while he was finding it a bit difficult to tackle the partnership from Rohit and Rahane, who added a whopping 162 runs for the fourth-wicket.

Moeen got the better on the latter by bowling a full-length delivery just outside the off-stump that turned enough to bowl him out on 67. Moeen then trumped Axar Patel by luring him to come outside the crease for an off-side drive but a brilliant stumping from Ben Foakes ensured Axar’s dismissal before he could get back to his position. In the same over, Moeen then bowled a full-toss to Ishant Sharma, who swept to straight to Rory Burns at short mid-wicket, with the scorecard reading 301/8 in 89.4 overs.

Meanwhile, it never looked as if Olly Stone was playing only his second match in his Test career. His first wicket in the ongoing Test was Shubman Gill, who got flushed right onto the pads for a duck. Post that dismissals, the right-arm pacer then couldn’t get much success for the entire duration on day one, but bounced back hard by sweeping up the tail-enders during the early overs of Day 2. In the 96th over, Pant took a single off the first ball to bring Kuldeep Yadav onto the strike only to be dismissed a few minutes later on a short of length angled out a delivery that edged and went straight to the keeper.

Ishant, the next batsman, counter-attacked Stone with a four on a wide outside off-stump delivery but fell prey to the pacer while trying to cut the next delivery that had a bit of bounce in it. Stone brought curtains on India’s innings and finished with figures of 15.5-5-47-3.

Rishabh Pant stays glued to an end, clocks an unbeaten 58

Pant’s been on a sublime form with the bat since the concluded tour of Australia, where he emerged as one of the highest run-getters. Most notably, his aggressive approach towards the game has caught the attention of the cricketing world since, and again, it was put to witness in the second day’s play against England at Chepauk. Coming out to bat on 33 off 57 deliveries on Day 2 and the scorecard reading 300/6, Pant geared up post the quick dismissals of Axar Patel (5) and Ishant Sharma (0) to off-spinner Moeen Ali in the 90th over.

The southpaw first smashed a gigantic six off Joe Root in the immediate over that followed, then struck 2 back-to-back fours and a single in the next over bowled by Moeen Ali to reach his fifty in 65 deliveries. He hit another six in a span of few deliveries and while he looked in complete control to notch another big total, the loss of wickets from the other end – Kuldeep Yadav and Ishant Sharma being edged and taken by the duo of Olly Stone and keeper Ben Foakes, left the Delhi cricketer stranded on 58* off 77 deliveries, a knock that was studded with 7 fours and 3 sixes and helped the hosts post 329 runs on board. Pant’s last five scores in Tests played in India read – 92, 92, 91, 11, and 58, with the last three coming in this series.

R Ashwin roars at Chepauk, picks his 29th Test five-for

Ashwin has always been a prolific wicket-taker for India in the longest format. He has been at his lethal best with the ball in the ongoing 4-match Test series against England and so far, has picked 14 wickets in 3 innings, averaging under 18.00 and best figures being 6/61.

The Tamil Nadu-born had picked a five-wicket haul in the first Test at Chepauk, and now, picked another 5-for on Day 2 of the second Test, his 29th overall in the longest format, to reach a tally of 391 wickets.

Ashwin’s dismissal of Ben Stokes on 18 got him past Harbhajan Singh’s tally of 265 Test scalpings in India. He then got the wood on tail-enders Olly Stone and Stuart Broad to bundle out the visitors for merely 134 runs in the first innings, providing India a much-needed lead of 195 runs heading into the third innings.

Courtesy of his recent heroics, Ashwin, is now second only to Anil Kumble (350 scalpings) in terms of most wickets by an Indian cricketer in Tests played in India, with 268 wickets in 45 Tests, an average of 22.54 and 23 five-wicket hauls under his belt.

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V Shashank
A cricket aficionado who has been following the game since the historic Ashes 2013-14. "People throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones." - Sachin Tendulkar


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