India wrest initiative

India wrest initiative

On a pitch offering plenty of assistance, India were led by the in-form Ravichandran Ashwin who starred with an all-round performance, having scored a crucial half century earlier in the day.

Visakhapatnam: India spinners roared back to form and leave England reeling at 103 for five in their first innings as the hosts strengthened their position on Day 2 of the second Test in Visakhapatnam on Friday.

On a pitch offering plenty of assistance, India were led by the in-form Ravichandran Ashwin who starred with an all-round performance, having scored a crucial half century earlier in the day.

Ashwin took the crucial wicket of Joe Root (53) to put the visitors in a fix as they ended the day still 352 runs behind India’s total.
At stumps, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow were in the middle.

India, starting the day at 317/4, added 138 runs to post 455 with overnight centurion Virat Kohli going on to make 167, besides Ashwin (58) and debutant Jayant Yadav (35) making valuable contributions.

When given the ball, off-spinner Yadav scalped his first Test wicket trapping Moeen Ali leg before wicket -- India making successful use of the DRS.

From the second session onwards, the ball started turning and keeping low.In the second session, opener Haseeb Hameed and Root hung on after they lost skipper Alastair Cook (2) in the third over.

With a peach of delivery that came in sharply, Mohammed Shami (1/15) dislodged Cook's off-stump.Shami and his fellow pacer Umesh Yadav consistently hit the deck at 140kph-plus speed in a fine display of pace bowling.

Root stamped his class to notch up his 24th fifty in the 50th Test.But he could not make it count as Ashwin (2/20) provided the crucial breakthrough when the Englishman stepped out only to be holed out at long-off.

With Root back in the hut, India were soon on top of the opposition after Ali was dismissed and England were soon reduced to 80 for five.

There was also improvement in India’s fielding – wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha executed a MS Dhoni-like back flip to run out Hameed (13).

Earlier, Ashwin batted beautifully in his innings spanning two hours and 26 minutes and found a fine ally in debutant Yadav as they put up a crucial 64-run stand for the eighth wicket after Moeen Ali's triple blow in the first session.

Having brought in the ninth over of the day, Ali provided the breakthrough by dismissing Kohli in his second over of the day and in the next over he took two -- Wriddhiman Saha (3) and Ravindra Jadeja (0) -- in three balls to reduce India to 363/7.

But Ashwin, who was dropped on 17, played with patience on a wicket that started turning as India's last five batsmen chipped in with 104 runs.

Ashwin completed his fifty from 86 balls with a boundary as he proved his mettle once again with the bat in a fruitful calendar year in which he averages 46.60 from nine matches including two hundreds.

India unsuccessfully reviewed Saha's LBW but a dubious decision of Jadeja by umpire Kumara Dharmasena in the same over went unchallenged.

Replays showed that the ball pitched outside the off stump went with the angle and missed the lefthander's leg stump but with one review pending India were not in a mood to take a chance.

Eyeing a third double century in a calendar year, Kohli looked in no trouble against pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the morning session.

The Indian skipper momentarily lost his concentration with the change of bowling as he went for an expansive drive in the very second ball he faced to Ali and Stokes held on to the catch at slip to bring an end to his six-hour and 41-minute vigil at the crease.

Having grounded Ashwin to his left in the previous ball, Stokes let out a frustrated celebration as Kohli made a quiet walk but not before putting India in command.

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