Spin­ners in the fir­ing line

> In­dia’s spin trio of Ash­win, Jadeja and Mishra took only nine wick­ets against Eng­land

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

IN­DIA’S MUCH-HYPED spin at­tack are un­der pres­sure to de­liver in the sec­ond Test at Visakha­p­at­nam start­ing to­day against an Eng­land side high on con­fi­dence and boast­ing new teenage sen­sa­tion Haseeb Hameed.

Nine­teen-year-old Haseeb, dubbed “Baby Boy­cott” for his un­flap­pable style akin to bat­ting great Ge­of­frey Boy­cott, scored 31 and 82 on de­but dur­ing last week’s drawn first Test, the lat­ter the high­est by a teenager for Eng­land.

He shared a 180-run sec­ond in­nings open­ing stand – a record for Eng­land in In­dia – with cap­tain Alas­tair Cook, who made 130, as the homes side’s spin­ners en­dured a tor­rid start to the five-Test se­ries.

In­dia’s spin trio of Ravichan­dran Ash­win, the world’s top-ranked bowler, Ravin­dra Jadeja and Amit Mishra had been ex­pected to rip through Eng­land’s bat­ting line-up but wilted in the Ra­jkot heat.

The tourists sparkled with four cen­turies – from Cook, Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes – as the hosts clung on for a tense draw, los­ing six wick­ets on the fi­nal af­ter­noon af­ter be­ing set a no­tional 310 to win.

There had been ques­tions marks over the qual­ity of Eng­land’s slow bowlers be­fore the game but they out­per­formed their In­dian coun­ter­parts with leg-spin­ner Adil Rashid tak­ing seven wick­ets.

“Our bat­ters played well against their spin­ners, and our spin­ners and seam­ers all bowled well. The way the guys played in this Test should give us plenty of con­fi­dence,” said Eng­land coach Trevor Bayliss af­ter the first match fin­ished on Sun­day.

Eng­land’s strong show­ing against the topranked In­di­ans ban­ished mem­o­ries of last month’s de­feat to min­nows Bangladesh when they were un­done by rookie spin­ner Me­hedi Hasan.

Ash­win recorded just 2-167 in the first in­nings and 1-63 in the sec­ond. Mishra fin­ished on 1-98 and 2-60 while Jadeja’s solid 3-86 was fol­lowed by 0-47 in the sec­ond in­nings.

How­ever, the pitch at the Visakha­p­at­nam ground in Andhra Pradesh state is ex­pected to be more favourable to In­dia’s spin­ners than Ra­jkot’s flat and grassy track.

“We’re un­der no il­lu­sions that these next four Tests could be even tougher,” said Bayliss. – AFP

From left: Jadeja, Ash­win and Misra.

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