India have England on the mat at lunch on day two


PTI, Feb 14, 2021, 12:06 PM IST

Chennai: Indian spinners had England reeling on an exploding pitch, reducing them to 39 for four at lunch on day two of the second Test here on Sunday.

India, who resumed the day at 300 for six, could only score 29 runs in the morning session with Rishabh Pant (58 not out of 77 balls) running out of partners.

At the break, England were trailing India by 290 runs and face a herculean task in getting close to India”s first innings score of 329 on a dustbowl.

Local star Ravichandran Ashwin (2/15) struck at the stroke of lunch, having Dan Lawrence (9, 52 balls) caught at short-leg by Shubman Gill as England sank into further trouble. Ben Stokes was batting on 8 at the other end.

Pacer Ishant Sharma (1/15) provided the first breakthrough for India when he had left-handed opener Rory Burns LBW for a duck with a ball that nipped back and beat his defensive push.

The other opener Dom Sibley (16, 25 balls, 3X4) was the next to go, caught by Virat Kohli at leg-slip off Ashwin, which was given by the third umpire after India chose to review as the on-field umpire turned down the appeal for a catch.

The big wicket of captain Joe Root (6, 12 balls), who tormented the host bowlers in the first Test, was taken by debutant Axar Patel (1/9) when the England captain”s attempted sweep against the turn landed safely in the hands of Ashwin at short fine-leg.

Earlier, India added 29 runs to their overnight score. The aggressive Pant scored 25 of those runs, hitting two fours and two sixes to remain unbeaten. For England, pacer Olly Stone finished with 3 for 47 in his first game in India. Off-spinner Moeen Ali (4 for 128) picked up four wickets, including that of host skipper Virat Kohli, but proved expensive Jack Leach (2/78) and Joe Root (1/23) were the other wicket takers. India lost two wickets in the second over of the day as Moeen Ali struck twice in the space of three balls. After having Axar Patel (5), stumped by Ben Foakes. Ishant, who came in at No.9, defended the first ball he faced before a top edge off an attempted sweep lobbed to Burns for an easy catch.

Comeback man Kuldeep Yadav too fell for a duck but helped Pant add 24 runs to the score by surviving 14 balls. He was dismissed by Olly Stone one delivery after being hit on the shoulder while attempting to evade a bouncer that didn”t rise as much as the batsman expected. No.11 Mohd Siraj (4) upper cut Stone for a boundary before a similar shot brought his downfall the next ball, ending the Indian first innings.

The England bowlers did not concede a single extra in 95.5 overs, the fourth such instance in Test history. Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who was hit on his right hand by a delivery from Olly Stone while batting on Saturday, did not take the field on Sunday. Mayank Agarwal fielded in his place.

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