Hello and welcome to Sportstar‘s highlights of Day 2 of the fourth Test between India and England from the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
The headlines were set after the morning session. England had staged a remarkable comeback. Snapping the trio of Pujara, Kohli and Rahane within an hour is no mean feat and Joe Root’s boys had achieved the unthinkable. To top the trade, they also managed to keep the best batsman of the series, Rohit Sharma, quiet through the day with the visitor’s lead well above 80 runs.
And unlike the norms with most teams around today, India’s lower middle-order possesses a unique fighter in Rishabh Pant. Pant stormed through the ranks without anyone taking notice, for even the Englishmen had planned to bundle India out quickly. With an audacious reverse-ramp off James Anderson (never has it happened before), a six over mid-wicket to bring up his third Test ton and his partner Sundar notching up a fifty as well – England were deftly pulled down from its comfort zone once again as India raced to a mammoth 89-run lead.
With the pitch bound to wear down slowly from Day 3, England has invited the demons onto itself once again. Heading into Day 3, India is nearly through to the WTC final, save for another comeback from the visitor.
India 294/7 after 94 overs: STUMPS. 89 runs lead and India has swatted England out of the contest once again. Axar sees off Leach to finish off the day on a high for India. What a remarkable turnaround after England stunned the host in the first session.
India 292/7 after 92 overs: A couple of quiet overs chugged in by Leach and Bess. India wouldn’t mind that as the lead inches towards 100! Wonder what England would be ruing more now, yesterday’s batting effort or today’s bowling display post lunch?
India 281/7 after 89 overs: The agony pours in for England as Sundar gets to his fifty as well! Axar has taken on the role Sundar played in his partnership with Pant and has casually had his eye in. Sundar has brought up the milestone with yet another solid innings in his four-Test career.
India 268/7 after 86 overs: Anderson to Pant. OUT! A wild heave through the on-side and gone! Pant’s magical knock has come to an unfortunate end. Certainly wanted to raise the scoring rate as he pulled a short ball from Anderson, only to find skipper Joe Root at short midwicket. A swashbuckling knock that has lifted India’s spirit has ended. Pant walks back with visible frustration in throwing his wicket away. Rishabh Pant c Root b Anderson 101 (118b 13×4 2×6)
|Most runs in the first 20 Tests batting at 5 or below:–
1450: Collin Bland
1358: Rishabh Pant*
1356: Steve Smith
1329: Dinesh Chandimal
India 259/6 after 84 overs: Pant soars to his 100 with a massive six over mid-wicket. Geez, this young man knows no pressure. A maiden Test ton at home after all those frustrating nineties. Single-handedly lifted India into the pole position here and might as well race the bar now.
India 252/6 after 83 overs: And Pant reverse-scoops Anderson! I repeat, reverse-scoops Jimmy Anderson with the new ball to bring up the 100-run partnership. A whirlwind knock this, stomping the air out of England.
India 232/6 after 81 overs: Pant greets Anderson in blazing fashion! The first ball with the new cherry is jammed down the ground for a boundary. Anderson bowls a wider delivery on length and Pant swats it with disdain through covers. India has picked up the pace and Pant leads the brigade now.
Jimmy Anderson is back as England takes the new ball.
India 217/6 after 79 overs: Pant has unlocked beast mode and has swept Root for a thumping boundary. Root manages to tail a slider to Pant’s pads and goes for the review after the umpire denies the wicket. Pant survives as the ball slides down the leg-side. England’s agonising period stretches now upto nearly two hours. Two hours is all that it took for Pant and India to turn the tide.
India 209/6 after 78 overs: Two daries and Pant puts India in the lead! Stokes is visibly exhausted and England returns to its precarious self with little options lying ahead of it. Pant is motoring on at the moment with Sundar providing some sturdy bat at the other end.
India 196/6 after 76 overs: Root appears to have gone out of ideas and has brought his main man Stokes with the new ball due in four overs. Leach has bowled well but given the two left-handers not being threatened, Root has been prompted to make another change. Sundar and Pant have clearly put India back in the hunt as England fails to sneak in a wicket post tea.
India 187/6 after 72 overs: 7th Test match fifty for Rishabh Pant. Under mounting pressure, Pant has come out with a solid approach to put India narrowly ahead in the contest once again. A swiftly-built partnership with Sundar carries the side towards a priceless lead on this pitch. The crowd acknowledges Pant’s effort while he gestures towards the dressing-room.
|Rishabh Pant for India since the start of the Australia series:
Most Test runs: 493
Best average: 61.62 (minimum 150 runs)
Most fifties: 5
India 185/6 after 71 overs: India continues to frustrate England. Root has failed to ace the rotation of his bowlers well after tea with Pant and Sundar forging a invaluable partnership for India. The lead is cut short to 20 runs.
India 174/6 after 68 overs: Pant and Sundar inch further to England’s total. Should the pair manage that, India would welcome any run from there on to nail England. Root and Co. needs a quick fix and at the moment, even the captain’s golden arm is not providing the trick. Meanwhile, Pant has shown signs of a hamstring strain and is seen limping while attempting a double off Leach in the previous over.
India 166/6 after 65 overs: Bess continues to dish in the dollies and Pant and Sundar does not let go. Some poor control from the offie has marred performance and is helping India narrow the lead. Stokes shrugs low in the slips and conveys the situation clearly.
India 155/6 after 63 overs: Root continues his spell and begins well after the break. Certainly, the England skipper needs to start valuing his bowling a little more. Root has displayed more control and drift than Dom Bess here.
Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar join back at the middle with England taking the field.
Welcome back, folks. We head into the final session of Day 2.
India 153/6 after 62 overs: TEA | And Pant survives a close shave right on the stroke of tea! Bess darts one in to Pant as he strays back into the crease and the balls smashes his pads. Umpire Nitin Menon does not concede and Root goes for the review. The ball seems to brush the stumps but umpire’s call has adjudged Pant not out. India heads into tea with the loss of its main man Rohit Sharma and Ashwin who fell soon after. India trails by 52 as England sets sights on the remaining four wickets. Back soon after the short break.
India 146/6 after 59 overs: Leach to Ashwin. OUT! Tame dismissal for Ashwin. Leach bowls a rather dry ball outside the leg-stump from over the wicket and Ashwin pushes hard at it. The ball finds a thick edge and lobs straight to Ollie Pope at short mid-wicket. Ravichandran Ashwin c Pope b Leach 13 (32b 2×4)
India 139/5 after 56 overs: Ashwin and Pant continue to rotate strike without much fuss. Leach has not looked as dangerous as his usual self so far and the runs have flowed in slowly in this partnership. Stokes continues to bend his back and startle the batsmen with the short-balls once in a while.
India 130/5 after 53 overs: India well and has stomped by England here. Ashwin has come in and have had his eye in while Pant has restrained from his usual self against Stokes and Leach. With India still trailing by about 70 runs, Pant will have to renew his plans to rake in the runs.
India 121/5 after 50 overs: Stokes to Rohit. OUT! Stokesy gets the bigey! Rohit falls for 49. Rohit was probably carried away by getting to his fifty but what a ball out of the blue from Stokes. Pitches on the length and manages to tail in profusely to surprise Rohit. Rohit’s lapse in concentration meant that he strayed in line of the stumps as the ball hit his front pad. Rohit opts for a review and the replays show ‘umpire’s call’ on impact and wickets – and so the decision stays and may well open the floodgates for another debate on that aspect of the DRS. Massive breakthrough for England as India loses its fifth wicket. Rohit Sharma lbw b Stokes 49 (144b 7×4)
Joe Root into the attack, replaces Bess.
India 112/4 after 48 overs: Pant gets into the act with a crunch drive off Anderson. Jimmy seems to have tired down and perhaps it’s time for Root to give his spearhead a well deserved rest. Rohit and Pant have shown no hesitation to continue playing the waiting game before thronging onto any loose ball bowled, particularly from Bess at the other end.
India 101/4 after 45 overs: Rohit drives and carries India past 100! Bess continues to bowl poor lengths as Rohit dishes the full-toss away through covers. Long time coming but India has managed to cross three figures with Rohit flapping his wings once again.
|Most runs in the ongoing series: Rohit Sharma – 343*
Joe Root – 338
Ben Stokes – 201
Rishabh Pant – 176*
Ravichandran Ashwin – 176
India 96/4 after 43 overs: Rohit and Pant rotate strike with the occasional single. Anderson has put out a strict line at one end, forcing the batsmen to shelve the plans for a hard push. Bess has provided the opportunity for Rohit to shift gears but the opener is laying low for the moment.
Art of leaving balls outside off-Stump has completely vanished from test cricket The only batsman who is assured about where his off stump is @ImRo45 Wat a transformation in his game. Rohit Sharma is the best batsman in the world right now for me, Period… #INDvsEND
— MANOJ TIWARY (@tiwarymanoj) March 5, 2021
India 85/4 after 40 overs: No freebies for Rohit as he moves to 33 off 117 deliveries! Anderson has attempted to attack the stumps but Rohit has endured the little contest. What remains out of character is his unbelievably low strike rate. England has been a tad loose at the other end with Dom Bess repeating his mistakes often. A couple of challenging deliveries followed by a juicy half-volley to the batsmen.
Inda 80/4 after 38 overs: Anderson completes his over with a wicket-maiden. Pant is given an early sighter outside the off-stump which he casually lets go. England is in the commanding position here and the approach from Rohit and Pant will be an enticing prospect.
Welcome back to Session 2! Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant walk out to the middle while an upbeat England takes the field as well.
|Our correspondents Vijay Lokapally, Shayan Acharya and Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya discuss the criticism coming Motera’s way, if home advantages to the kind we saw in the third Test stays true to the spirit of the game and why audiences and not England is the biggest loser here.
25.5 overs. 56 runs and 3 wickets – England has cracked the code early on Day 2 to jump right back into the match. Ben Stokes and James Anderson were on a roll in the morning as they took away the easy runs away from Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara. However, the rewards came in late for the visitor but came in fine grandeur. Jack Leach trapped Pujara as he batted down the wrong line.
Kohli followed soon after a marathon run from Stokes saw him bouncing the Indian captain. Rahane’s positive start ushered a spell of change for India as he eased the pressure on Rohit who quite uncharacteristically, has failed to get going. And England’s relentless approach continued with Joe Root bringing back his talisman Jimmy Anderson. A classical outswinger from Anderson troubled Rahane who poked at a probing delivery from Anderson to put India in a spot of bother at Lunch.
|The Rahane dismissal is Anderson’s 900th International wicket, being the third pacer and sixth overall to the coveted milestone!|
India 80/4 after 37.5 overs: LUNCH | Anderson to Rahane. OUT! A beauty from Jimmy that finds the edge! A classical outswinger, jumps a bit on Rahane and he could not resist a poke at it. The ball travels low to the slip cordon and Stokes quickly jumped onto pick up an excellent catch. Top session for England as it dismisses Pujara, Kohli and Rahane in a dream start to the day. Ajinkya Rahane c Stokes b Anderson 27 (45b, 4*4 )
India 74/3 after 36 overs: Rahane has come out with some aggression and so has Anderson returned with a sensational over. Anderson squares up Rahane with a classical outswinger and jags the ball back into him for the final ball of the over. Dom Bess has begun a spell from the other end and Rohit and Rahane have visibly shown more liking to take on the off-spinner.
Jimmy Anderson replaces Leach.
India 62/3 after 33 overs: A little flourish from Rahane and Rohit as a couple of boundaries eases the pressure. Stokes continues to run in but seems to have worn down a bit. Come on, Joe, give the guy his break!
|After 30 overs in this innings, India were 47-3 – the lowest score at this stage of a home innings this century for India.|
India 48/3 after 30 overs: 24 runs in 18 overs. Stokes onto his 11th over. And he continues to trouble the batsmen with some steep bounce. Leach and Stokes have managed to put Rohit in a rare spot of not lashing the boundaries and has tested the patience of the opener. A blip here or there, England is ready to cash in.
India 41/3 after 27 overs: Stokes has the big fish! Kohli is sent back with a ripper. Stokes running in for his ninth straight over has brought out the dream ball to the Indian captain. Kohli is taken aback with a snapping bouncer that brushes the outside edge of his bat as he attempts to shrug away. Foakes takes a clean catch and England is right back in the game! Virat Kohli c †Foakes b Stokes 0 (8b)
|Most Ducks in World Test Championship (India):
4 – Virat Kohli*
4 – Jasprit Bumrah
3 – Mohd Shami
3 – C Pujara
India 40/2 after 24 overs: Leach to Pujara. OUT! Plumb in line and Pujara fails to push the ball away. Leach has his man for the fourth time in the series. The left-armer brings in a regulation off-break into Pujara who plunges in line to defend but fails to meet the ball ahead of the pads. England has begun well and have a wicket to show now. Excellent on-field call from the umpire Nitin Menon as India loses a review. Cheteshwar Pujara lbw b Leach 17 (66b 1×4)
|Cheteshwar Pujara vs Jack Leach this series:
c Stokes b Leach 15
c Stokes b Leach 21
LBW Leach 0
LBW Leach 17
India 38/1 after 23 overs: Rohit Sharma completes 1000 Test runs as an opener in just 17 innings! What a remarkable turnaround has this been for India’s Hitman up at the top. Meanwhile, Stokes has carried on from the other end by replacing James Anderson.
|Fastest to 1000 runs in WTC (Inngs):
14 – Steve Smith
14 – M Labuschagne
17 – Rohit Sharma*
19 – Ben Stokes
25 – Ajinkya Rahane
26 – Joe Root
India 36/1 after 22 overs. Jack Leach into the attack. Starts up with a nice probing over as he beats the edge of Pujara and Rohit. Now, here’s the contest of the day!
India 34/1 after 20 overs: Anderson and Stokes continue their extended spell. The pacers have drained the runs as they continue attacking Rohit and Pujara in the corridor of uncertainty outside the off-stump. Rohit has been put to a test on his pads while Pujara has faced a short-ball barrage from Stokes.
India 28/1 after 17 overs: A fine start from Stokes and Anderson. Rohit and Pujara have been forced to push back their plans for a swift move first-up. Anderson has brought the ball in to Rohit who has managed to keep out the impending danger. Stokes has kept Pujara guessing at the other end, with a slew of under-cutters and bouncers.
|STAT: Rohit Sharma has 62% of his Test runs through boundaries – 1182 runs through 269 fours and 59 sixes!|
India 26/1 after 14 overs: Stokes shares the ball from the other end and has followed Anderson in pushing the ball further up. Pujara is happy to leave the probing deliveries as Stokes begins his day with a maiden over.
India 26/1 after 13 overs: Rohit begins the day with a flick off Anderson. Anderson has kept the ball a whole lot fuller since the first ball to work around Rohit’s lazy feet movement. Rohit clips a ball outside the off-stump that takes the thick edge and that would keep Anderson optimistic.
Day 2 Underway. Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara walk out to resume the Indian innings while Joe Root and Co. take the field. Jimmy Anderson up with the ball.
Pitch Report: Lot more spin as the game progresses but the pitch has retained most of its richness for a fine contest between bat and ball today. More grass covering at the Reliance End means the fast bowlers will be in contention with the game moving deeper, a hint of reverse swing is probable. Nevertheless, the Indian batsmen have a good chance of batting long if they get their eye in today.
9:00 am – Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara will walk out to the middle in 30 minutes. The pitch remains intact with negligible wear and tear. If the pair manage to have a look in, England will be forced to another gruelling day under the sun. Jack Leach and Dom Bess will be pivotal in the first session for the visitor to pull one back in this Test.
Rohit v Leach: 6 innings, 77 runs, 4 dismissals
Pujara v Leach: 6 innings, 59 runs, 3 dismissals
Picture perfect. Can England stretch India to the edge to have a perfect day as well?
Motera is set for Day 2 as India aims to settle a massive first innings total while England targets early inroads. – Sportzpics
An hour away from action. England will hope Jack Leach and Dom Bess create a few early hiccups for the Indians.
DAY 1 – REVIEW
After ringing in two changes and moving into the final Test with a fully-loaded batting department, England fell flat once again on an even surface, conducive to the batsmen. Joe Root and Co. got their initial plans right with the squad and received an added boost in winning the toss.
However, the visitor’s nightmare continued against the young gun Axar Patel, whose precision leaves no trail whatsoever in the English camp. Openers Sibley and Crawley fell quickly to the left-armer before a fiery spell from India’s pace sensation Mohammed Siraj trapped the England skipper, Joe Root early.
England soon got into a hazy situation, failing to strike its balance between aggression and defense. Ben Stokes (55) and Dan Lawrence (46) tried their luck for a resurgence on a pitch yet to show its true self. England failed to cash in on the absence of Ravi Ashwin running in for long spells as captain Kohli held his talisman back for the day. The cream of the English batting was undone by which time Ashwin had found his rhythm and drift on the ‘polished’ Ahmedabad track.
England, however, managed to cross 200 – 205 to be precise – for the first time since its massive 578 in the first innings of the first Test in Chennai (seems all so long ago).
India began its innings late on Thursday evening and openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill were invited to have a first-hand experience of a Jimmy Anderson masterclass. The veteran paceman snapped Gill in the first over, trapping him infront of the stumps with a typical in-swinger. Gill’s woes in the sub-continent seems to have found a new dimension with him being prone to a bowled/lbw dismissal against the incoming delivery.
India saw off the day with Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara remaining unbeaten on Day 1. ‘Bat well through the first session and bat all day long’ will be the mantra for Kohli’s men on Day 2.
WHAT THEY SAID
“I think we will look back on that and be disappointed by some of the batting. We are more than capable of scoring at least 300 on a wicket like that out here. (It is) frustrating but we can’t dwell on it too much and it was nice to get a wicket at the end of the day,” Ben Stokes on England failing to get past 300 in its first innings.
England XI: Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Dan Lawrence, Ben Foakes (wk), Jack Leach, James Anderson, Dom Bess
India XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj
On-field umpires: Nitin Menon and Virender Sharma; Third umpire: Anil Chaudhary; Fourth umpire: Shamshuddin; Match referee: Javagal Srinath.