Mohali Test: India ride on fifties but England strike back late
England once again showed their fighting spirit as a unit and also probably gave a fair indication as to why despite losing in Visakhapatnam by a margin of 246 runs, India cannot take them lightly.
India had steadily and slowly established a position of strength with Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara adding 75 for the third wicket. In defense of a lowly 283, England bowlers were relentless and coupled with some incisive bowling had kept India in check. Only 88 runs came for hosts in the post lunch session and with the ball reverse swinging England skipper Alastair Cook did well to give extended spells to both Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes. Till then England had given Murali Vijay a reprieve with Jos Buttler spilling a chance. Pujara had also survived when Jonny Bairstow dropped him on 35.
“I think, I would say we were not struggling the lines which they were bowling were a little negative. I felt we batted and showed character, when we build that partnership (with Kohli) was crucial for team the second session,” Pujara said.
It was only after tea that they reaped the dividends of sticking to the game plan. Two superb fielding efforts and a superb ball by Adil Rashid handed England all the impetus needed to take control of the match.
Chris Woakes did well to dive and hold on to a low catch of Pujara, while next-in Ajinkya Rahane was done in by a googly. Jos Buttler probably provided the additional spark when his diving effort to stop the ball and then quick throw found debutant Karun Nair short of crease.
“271 for six, we’ll take that at the end of the day. Probably, bowled exceptionally well as a team. Stuck to our plans and we got rewards at the end of the session. They got a little partnership but you know it happens in cricket that can happen. But we come back tomorrow and try and knock them over quickly,” Rashid said. In the end India did manage to post a recovery with R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja taking India to within 13 runs of first innings lead.
“It was a very important final session. The pitch seems good enough. We have still got four wickets tomorrow to get,” Rashid said.