ASHWIN’S STRIKE LEAVES ENGLAND REELING
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 first-innings 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. 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. “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. 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 lower-middle 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.
India’s batsman Ravindra Jadeja (left) and R. Ashwin walk back after the second day of the third Test cricket match against England at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium yesterday. –