Dawson, Rashid propel England in fifth Test
CHENNAI: Debutant Liam Dawson yesterday said it could be “hard work” for England bowlers on flat deck after his gritty halfcentury helped the visitors post a formidable 477 on day two of the fifth Test against India in Chennai.
Dawson scored an unbeaten 66 and shared a 108-run stand with Adil Rashid (60), England’s best for the eight wicket, to lift their first innings total after the Indian bowlers hurt the visitors with early strikes. England, who resumed the day on 284-4, slipped to 321-7 after overnight centurion Moeen Ali departed for 146, but Dawson and Rashid made sure the the tourists keep going. England’s innings ended 45 minutes into the evening session as India were firm in their reply with 60 for no loss at stumps. Lokesh Rahul (30) and Parthiv Patel (28) were at the crease as the hosts trail by 417 runs. “There isn’t huge amount of spin, hasn’t been much pace in it for the seamers, so tomorrow is going to be hard work for us,” Dawson, who bowls left-arm spin, said.
“But if we keep going all day and keep trying to take wickets then we can take wickets,” the 26-yer-old allrounder told reporters at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium. Allrounder Dawson, who was a late inclusion in the England squad before the fourth Test in place of Zafar Ansari, showed his batting prowess during his 148ball stay, hitting 5 fours and a six.
His effort was the highest by an England No. 8 on debut in Tests, surpassing the late David Bairstow’s 59 against India in 1979. “It is obviously nice to do well on debut. It was interesting first few balls in Test cricket for me but I was pleased to get through them,” said Dawson on getting a bouncer from Ishant Sharma that saw him lose his balance after being hit on the helmet.
Dawson has represented England in a one-day international and Twenty20 earlier this year, but the Hampshire allrounder was thrilled to play a part in the team’s Test performance.
“I was extremely excited and from a team point of view as well, we want to finish on a high. We are in a fairly good position,” said Dawson. Rashid, who recorded his second Test fifty in his 10th game, also looked solid during his gutsy effort as he fell one short of his Test best of 61.
ALI BOUNCED OUT
Earlier Ali seemed relentless in his drive to consolidate England’s position after adding 26 runs to his overnight score but his efforts were cut short just after the first drinks interval of the day. Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s ploy of getting his pacemen to bowl short at Ali paid off as the left-hander mistimed a pull on one of Umesh Yadav’s rising deliveries.
Yadav and Sharma took two wickets each while Ravindra Jadeja, with three wickets on the opening day, stood out on the bowling list for India. “They (England) got some quick runs, but I think the ball is not turning that much. That is the problem, we can’t get wickets and that momentum,” said Yadav, who bowled at a lively pace.
“Let’s see how the wicket behaves, if it turns after the third day (or not). I think there is still some interest left in the game,” said Yadav. The hosts have already pocketed the series 3-0.