Ash­win’s triple strike leaves Eng­land reel­ing

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ravichandran Ash­win’s fine all-round per­for­mance put In­dia firmly in con­trol of the third Test yes­ter­day, as he fol­lowed up a dom­i­nant in­nings of 72 with three wick­ets to leave Eng­land reel­ing on 78 for four.

The vis­i­tors, who con­ceded a 134-run firstin­nings lead, trailed their hosts by 56 runs with six sec­ond-in­nings wick­ets re­main­ing at stumps on day three in Mo­hali.

Joe Root (36) and night­watch­man Gareth Batty (0) were at the crease. Root opened with Alas­tair Cook in the ab­sence of teenager Haseeb Hameed with a hand in­jury.

He will bat later in the in­nings but could miss the rest of the se­ries, de­pend­ing on what X-rays re­veal. Ash­win drew first blood by get­ting Cook bowled for 12. The Eng­land skip­per had been liv­ing dan­ger­ously, with two lbw calls against him go­ing for re­views, first by In­dia and then by the bats­man him­self. But he sur­vived only to see his stumps shat­tered later on. Ash­win kept up the pres­sure from his end as he bam­boo­zled Moeen Ali (5) with a flighted de­liv­ery, caus­ing the bats­man to give away a catch to mid-on.

Root sought to steady the in­nings with Jonny Bairstow, but the wick­et­keeper-bats­man’s re­sis­tance did not last long. Off-spin­ner Jayant Ya­dav got Bairstow, who top-scored with a dogged 89 in Eng­land’s first in­nings of 283, caught be­hind for 15. An un­re­lent­ing Ash­win, the world’s topranked Test bowler, then trapped Ben Stokes lbw for five as the vis­i­tors slipped fur­ther.

“We’ve lost a few wick­ets this evening, which was not ideal, that was not the plan,” Bairstow told re­porters. “How­ever, we still got Root out there in the mid­dle, we still got Jos (But­tler) to come, we still got Woakesy (Chris Woakes) to come and (Adil) Rashid scored a heck of a lot of runs. There’s still a lot of bat­ting within the shed.”

Ear­lier In­dia’s first in­nings saw five half-cen­turies be­fore the hosts, who re­sumed the day on 271-6, were bowled out for 417 in the af­ter­noon.

“They have won to­day. I think up un­til this morn­ing, it was evenly poised... they played well this morn­ing. Give them credit,” said Bairstow.

Ravin­dra Jadeja top-scored with 90 while Jayant Ya­dav’s 55 — his maiden fifty in only his sec­ond Test-gave the Eng­land bowlers a frus­trat­ing two ses­sions of play.

Seam bowler Stokes claimed his third Test five-wicket haul while leg-spin­ner Rashid took four wick­ets. Jadeja, who reg­is­tered his ca­reerbest Test score sur­pass­ing his 68 at Lord’s in 2014, fell 10 runs short of his maiden Test ton. But his 80-run stand with Jayant Ya­dav un­der­pinned In­dia’s im­pres­sive lower-or­der per­for­mance. The left-handed Jadeja, who started the day on 31, took over re­spon­si­bil­ity for pi­lot­ing the in­nings af­ter the fall of his overnight part­ner Ash­win. Ash­win’s wicket ended a 97-run sev­enth-wicket stand be­tween him and Jadeja. The pair had lifted In­dia af­ter the loss of four wick­ets in the fi­nal ses­sion on Sun­day.

“Any team will have a plus point if its low­er­mid­dle or­der is con­tribut­ing. If the last 7-11 (bats­men) can give 50 to 100 runs ex­tra for the team it’s a bonus,” said Jadeja.

Skip­per Vi­rat Kohli (62) and Chetesh­war Pu­jara (51) also con­trib­uted half-cen­turies. In­dia lead the five-match se­ries 1-0 with one game drawn. — AFP

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