Cricket: India in command, overall leads by 249 runs

Chennai: Enjoying the cushion of a huge 195-run first innings lead after spinning out England for 134, India were in a commanding position at close on the second day of the second cricket test in Chennai Sunday.

At the draw of stumps, India’s overall lead swelled to 249 runs, despite losing opener Shubman Gill (14, 28 balls, 1×6), with first innings centurion Rohit Sharma batting on 25 (62 balls, 2×4, 1×6) and Cheteswar Pujara (seven bating, 18 balls, 1×4).

India were 54 for one 18 overs in their second essay. With nine wickets in hand and three full days remaining, India would like to stretch the lead as far as possible till the pitch deteriorates further, making matters
tough for the visitors.

Left arm spinner Jack Leach took the only wicket to fall that of Shubman Gill.

On a wicket which started crumbling offering more turn and bounce for the bowlers, especially for the spinners, 15 wickets fell for 217 runs.

Earlier, England, after restricting India to 329 all out, fell to the guiles of off-spinner R Ashwin who bagged five for 43, while debutant left arm bowler Axar Patel, who prized out last match double cenutrion and England captain Joe Root, who fell for the sweep shot, and pacer Ishant Sharma claimed two wickets apiece.

Ashwin posed more threat to the batsmen by varying his angle and length and with deliveries that spun viciously and bounced.

Except wicket-keeper Ben Foakes, who top scored with an unbeaten 43 (107 balls, 4×4) and ploughed a lone furrow and showed some character in handling the spinners, along with Olli Pope (22) to some extent, none of the other batsmen were able to tackle the slow bowlers.

After Ishant Sharma trapped Rory Burns off the third ball of England’s innings, the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals and were reeling at 52 for five.

A sixth wicket stand between Foakes and Pope of 35 in 14.5 overs, showed signs of a recovery. But once Pope was brilliantly held by a diving Rishab Pant when he gloved Ishant, England lost further momentum before the innings folded, handing India a massive lead.

Earlier, resuming at their overnight score of 300 for six , India, Rishab Pant continued in his usual style hitting a couple of sixers and fours and remained unbeaten on 58 (77 balls, 7×4, 3×6) as the home team finished at 329.

India lost their last four wickets in 7.5 overs for 29 runs on the second morning, leaving Pant stranded.

For England, off-spinner Moeen Ali bagged four wickets, rookie pacer Olly Stone claimed three and Leach got two wickets.

Following is the scoreboard :

India (first innings) : 329
England (first innings) : 134

India (second innings) :

Rohit Sharma (batting) 25
Shubman Gill lbw Jack Leach 14
Cheteswar Pujara (batting) 7

Extras (b-5, lb-3) 8
Total : 54 for one in 18 overs.

Fall of wickets : 1-42.

Bowling :

Olly Stone 2-0-8-0
Jack Leach 9-2-19-1
Moeen Ali 7-2-19-0.


NT Bureau