Kohli, Ash­win put In­dia in driver’s seat

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ravichan­dran Ash­win claimed five wick­ets while skip­per Vi­rat Kohli struck a dom­i­nant half-cen­tury to help In­dia tighten its grip over Eng­land on the third day of the sec­ond Test in Visakha­p­at­nam yes­ter­day.

In­dia, who dis­missed Eng­land for 255 in the first in­nings, were 98 for three at stumps with Kohli (56) and Ajinkya Ra­hane (22) at the crease. With the hosts hav­ing stretched their sec­ond in­nings lead to a for­mi­da­ble 298, it will be an up­hill bat­tle for Eng­land from here on. It was Ash­win’s 22nd five-wicket haul in 41 Tests that helped In­dia bowl out Eng­land shortly be­fore tea and gain a cru­cial 200-run lead. “The ac­cu­racy that he bowls with is some­thing that is a chal­lenge,” Eng­land wick­et­keeper Jonny Bairstow, who tack­led Ash­win’s guile dur­ing his fight­ing fifty in Eng­land’s first in­nings, told re­porters.

“He bowled nicely to­day but we are not go­ing into the fourth in­nings think­ing that we can’t play Ash­win well,” said Bairstow. Eng­land seam­ers came back roar­ing as Stu­art Broad, who is nurs­ing a foot in­jury, sent the In­dian open­ers trudg­ing back to the pavil­ion early in their sec­ond es­say.

Mu­rali Vi­jay (3) was caught at gully while Lokesh Rahul (10) was plucked be­hind as Eng­land suc­cess­fully used the re­view sys­tem on both oc­ca­sions af­ter the on-field um­pire had ad­judged the bats­men not out. Se­nior pacer James An­der­son also swung into ac­tion to clean up first in­nings cen­tu­rion Chetesh­war Pu­jara for one, re­duc­ing the hosts to 40 for three. Kohli and Ra­hane then got to­gether to put up an un­beaten 58-run stand and thwart the per­sis­tent bowl­ing at­tack in the final hour of play. Kohli, who led from the front with a sparkling 167 in the first in­nings, recorded his 13th Test half-cen­tury as he raised his bat to an ap­plaud­ing home crowd. Ra­hane played the sup­port­ing role to per­fec­tion with his pa­tient 54-ball knock.


Eng­land skip­per Alas­tair Cook jug­gled with his seam and spin op­tions but failed to make any more head­way into the In­dian bat­ting. Ear­lier Ben Stokes, who top-scored with 70, and Bairstow struck gritty half-cen­turies to re­vive Eng­land af­ter they re­sumed on the overnight 103 for five.

“We com­pli­ment each other ob­vi­ously be­ing left and right handed helps. And we ro­tated the strike pretty well,” said Bairstow. Bairstow’s knock was cut short just be­fore lunch when Umesh Ya­dav cas­tled the wick­et­keeper-bats­man for 53.

Bairstow’s de­par­ture ended a 110-run sixth-wicket part­ner­ship be­tween him and his overnight part­ner Stokes who car­ried on the good work into the post-lunch ses­sion. Ash­win fi­nally trapped the left-handed Stokes lbw and even though the bats­man re­viewed the de­ci­sion, the on-field call was up­held by the third um­pire. Adil Rashid scored an un­beaten 32 as Broad also came out to bat with pur­pose, but the English bat­ting strug­gled to get close to In­dia’s 455. Ash­win got Broad (13) and An­der­son (0) off con­sec­u­tive de­liv­er­ies as the vis­i­tors fell one run short of avoid­ing the fol­low-on. “Right now, Ash (Ash­win) is bowl­ing beau­ti­fully, like a dream. You have to work on it (drift and spin), it doesn’t just come overnight,” debu­tant In­dia spin­ner Jayant Ya­dav said of his se­nior part­ner. The tourists, who gave In­dia a run for their money in the drawn Test in

Ra­jkot, have strug­gled against the In­dian spin­ners at Visakha­p­at­nam which is host­ing its first-ever Test. —AFP


VISAKHA­P­AT­NAM: In­dia’s Ajinkya Ra­hane, right, plays a shot on the third day of the sec­ond cricket test match against Eng­land in Visakha­p­at­nam, In­dia, yes­ter­day.

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