By BV Swagath
Update at Stumps on Day 2: England look all set to win the final Test after securing a massive first innings lead of 237 runs with still three wickets in hand. A repeat of Manchester could well see India lose the Test match tomorrow once the English first innings is wrapped up.
It was an ordinary last session for Team India as its three pacers simply got tired and the second new ball only leaked plenty of runs. Jos Buttler and Joe Root took the game away from the visitors with a partnership of 80. Buttler collected 43 with 9 fours before he flicked Ishant in the air to short mid wicket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the next man Chris Woakes out for a duck, caught down the legside.
India could not deliver the finishing blows and had to chase leather with Joe Root moving along to 92 not out with 9 fours and a six. Chris Jordan who is quite an all-rounder got to 19 not out before the close. The hosts are supremely placed at 385 for 7 with the last session getting plundered for 139 runs in 32 overs.
Update at Tea on Day 2: India has finally managed to win a session since the Lord’s Test! Although they are not quite yet there in the game, India will take pride in reducing England to 246 for 5. The hosts are comfortably placed with a lead of 98 runs with some decent batting left.
It was an inspired spell from Varun Aaron that lifted the spirits of his team mates. Bowling quick while swinging the ball, Aaron induced an edge in Cook’s defence but only for an easy slip catch going down from Murali Vijay. In the very next over, Cook got another life when Rahane dropped an edge off a cut shot in Ashwin’s bowling. Fortunately the two dropped catches didn’t cost a lot as Aaron got Cook playing a false drive to an away swinger and this time Vijay came up with a good low catch at first slip.
Alastair Cook finished with 79 and Varun Aaron broke what was a big 2nd wicket stand of 125. Gary Ballance got out soon after Cook’s exit when he jabbed his frontfoot defence into the hands of silly point to a bouncy off break from Ashwin. Ballance scored 64 from 117 balls with 13 fours.
Ishant Sharma joined the fightback by coming up with a beauty to have Ian Bell caught behind on the frontfoot with one that angled in but zipped away. By the close of the afternoon session, Ashwin got Moeen Ali bowled thanks to a moment of indecision of leaving the ball too late and bottom edging it on to the stumps.
England has got Joe Root on 11 along with Jos Buttler who is on 12. The second new ball is due in another 7 overs which will be the crucial factor in this Test match.
Update at Lunch on Day 2: England batted out cautiously to wipe off the first innings deficit while losing just the wicket of Sam Robson in the crucial morning session on Day 2. It looks like a long day of chasing for India as the bowlers are struggling to create any impression on the pair of Alastair Cook (56* from 140 balls) and Gary Ballance (40* from 66 balls).
Varun Aaron has been the lone successful bowler cleaning up the off stump of Sam Robson (37) with his sheer pace in what was the second over of the morning. England at lunch are 148 for 1 in 45 overs which is the same score of India.