ASH­WIN’S STRIKE LEAVES ENG­LAND REEL­ING

The Sun (Malaysia) - - 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 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. –

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