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India vs England 2nd Test, Day 3: Kohli, Ashwin lead India to 481 runs; Hosts eyeing for a comfortable win

Brief Scores: 2nd innings: India 286/10 (R Ashwin 106, Virat Kohli 62; Moeen Ali 4/98, Jack Leach 4/100)
England 53/3 (Rory Burns 25, Daniel Lawrence 19*; Axar Patel 2/15, R Ashwin 1/28)

A day that started in England’s favor finally wound up supporting the hosts in the second and third sessions. Although it was the third day of the second Test, the pitch behaved like it was a fifth day’s wicket troubling the hosts in the initial hours of the contest. India lost a total of five wickets in the first session with spinners Jack Leach and Moeen Ali forging through the Indian batting order with wickets incoming at regular intervals.

With the scorecard reading 105/6 in 36.1 overs and a few overs remaining for the session to end, Indian skipper Virat then forged an initial 50-run stand for the 7th wicket. The duo added another 46 runs to their partnership before Virat’s dismissal on an LBW on 62.

With the third session fully in India’s control, Ashwin opted for a counter-attacking play and went on to score his 5th Test hundred at a strike rate of 70-plus only to get dismissed on an inside edge delivery off Olly Stone that brought curtains to India’s batting display in the second innings. The target for England being 482, the hosts’ firstly dismissed Dominic Sibley (3), then scalped quick wickets of Rory Burns (25) and nightwatchman Jack Leach (0) to finish the day on a dominating display.

Here are the talking points from Day 3 of the  India-England 2nd Test match at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai –

Jack Leach and Moeen Ali bundle out India’s middle and lower-order

Spinners have been up for advantage throughout the second Test at Chepauk. Leach and Moeen had capitalized in the first innings and followed with equally enthralling performances in the second innings as they scalped 4/100 and 4/98 respectively, sending the majority of Indian batting-order back to pavilion.

An unfortunate run-out of Cheteshwar Pujara (7) was followed by Leach dismissing the likes of a gritty Rohit Sharma (26) and Rishabh Pant (8) that involved brilliant stumping from keeper Ben Foakes. Now, it was Moeen Ali who came into the wicket-taking spree, dismissing Rahane (10) on a slower-delivery that spun back in and edged to Ollie Pope at short leg in the 31st over. It was the 36th over when the 33-year-old rendered an arm-ball to Axar that pierced through his front foot defense to strike him at the pads to be dismissed LBW.

After a bit of tussle at the latter stages of the first session and for a good part duration in the second session, Moeen got the much-prized wicket of Virat Kohli and a couple of overs later, Kuldeep Yadav, both on LBWs. In the 77th over, Leach bowled around the wicket to Ishant Sharma, who tried to sweep a delivery tossed right outside off-stump only to get the thick edge of the bat and being caught by Olly Stone on a dive.

Also Read: 3 Legendary Test bowlers who failed with their performance in India

Virat Kohli-R Ashwin weave a 96-run stand, steer India to 481 runs

India needed partnerships to keep the scorecard ticking on what had turned out to be a very tricky wicket to bat on. And it’s exactly when the duo of Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin stitched a brilliant partnership, initially of 50-runs in the first session, and then dominated the majority of the second session by adding another 46 runs to the total.

Virat (62), once again, missed out on a well-deserved hundred in this series, this time courtesy of Moeen Ali’s around the wicket delivery that bounced and turned enough to hit the pad in line with the middle stump. Nonetheless, the duo’s 96-run partnership proved fatal for the visitors as India ended up compiling 286 runs in the second innings, and overall, a target of 482 runs with 19 overs of the third day’s play and additional 2 days of cricket remaining.

Post Virat’s dismissal, Ashwin played alongside Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, and finally Mohammed Siraj, with the last two partnerships yielding 27 and 49 runs respectively, and helped the Tamil Nadu all-rounder clock his 5th century. Ashwin, became only the second all-rounder (other than Sir Ian Botham) in the history of Test cricket to score a hundred and pick a five-wicket haul in the same Test on three or more occasions.

Axar Patel gets the English stumps shattering at fag end

India set a target of 482 runs for the visitors and struck the right chord by dismissing Dominic Sibley (3) on an Axar Patel’s delivery that got him LBW in the middle.

While Rory Burns stayed unaffected and was counterattacking the Indian spin attack by striking fours and reaching 25 off 41 deliveries, a peach of a delivery from Ashwin that was tossed up at middle and off-stump, got Burns edged and taken by skipper Virat Kohli waiting at the second slip. In the immediate over that followed, Axar struck again, this time bowling a sharp delivery that came straight into Jack Leach’s pads, hit the face of the bat, and caught by Rohit Sharma positioned at leg slip.

There was another chance of wicket in the final over of the day, this time the victim could have been Joe Root. Axar, having picked two wickets already, then bowled an arm ball that kept low and beat the Englishman onto the off-stump that although looked like a clear dismissal, got him saved the umpire’s call.

Also Read: 4 Legendary Test batsmen who failed to deliver their potential in India

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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