India spinners leave England gasping at 106/8

Chennai, Feb 14 (PTI) India spinners, led by Ravichandran Ashwin, wreaked havoc on a rank turner reducing England to 106 for eight at tea on day two of the second Test here on Sunday. India, who had taken four wickets in the morning, claimed another four in the post-lunch session to gain the upperhand in the the second Test. Ashwin (4/36) added two more scalps to his tally while Mohammed Siraj (1/5), who was introduced in the 39th over, and debutant Axar Patel (2/30) also did the damage. Ishant Sharma (1/15) was the other wicket-taker. Ben Foakes was batting on 23 at tea as England trail India by 223 runs. Ashwin got the big wicket of Ben Stokes in the sixth over after lunch. The left-hander missed an attempted clip off a beauty that drifted in and lost his off-stump. Ollie Pope (22), who looked assured against the spinners, was brilliantly caught by a diving Rishabh Pant when he tried to glide one down the leg-side, to give Mohammed Siraj a wicket off the first ball he bowled in Tests in India. Foakes, who impressed with his keeping skills when India batted, showed his abilities in front of the wickets too. He batted with poise against the spinners, who were looking to make the most of a dustbowl. Moeen Ali, coming in at No.8, fell when his edge hit Pant’s thighs and rebounded to Ajinkya Rahane who took a fine catch diving forward. At lunch, England were reeling 39 for 4 on an exploding pitch. India, who resumed the day at 300 for six, could only score 29 runs in the morning session with Rishabh Pant (58 not out, 77 balls) running out of partners. Ashwin struck at the stroke of lunch, having Dan Lawrence (9) caught at short-leg by Shubman Gill as England sank into further trouble. Ishant provided the first breakthrough for India when he had left-handed opener Rory Burns LBW for a duck with a ball that nipped back and beat his defensive push. The other opener Dom Sibley (16) was the next to go, caught by Virat Kohli at leg-slip off Ashwin, which was given by the third umpire after India chose to review as the on-field umpire turned down the appeal for a catch. The big wicket of captain Joe Root (6), who tormented the host bowlers in the first Test, was taken by debutant Axar Patel when the England captain’s attempted sweep against the turn landed safely in the hands of Ashwin at short fine-leg. Resuming the day at 300 for six, India added 29 runs to their overnight score. The aggressive Pant scored 25 of those runs, hitting two fours and two sixes to remain unbeaten. For England, pacer Olly Stone finished with 3 for 47 in his first game in India. Off-spinner Ali (4 for 128) picked up four wickets but proved expensive Jack Leach (2/78) and Joe Root (1/23) were the other wicket takers. India lost two wickets in the second over of the day as Ali struck twice in the space of three balls. The England bowlers did not concede a single extra in 95.5 overs, the fourth such instance in Test history.


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