A solid 50-run partnership between captain Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin helped India take firm control of the 2nd Test against England. At lunch on Day 3, the hosts are placed at 156/6, and hold a massive 351-run lead.
India began the day 249 runs ahead of England, and they didn’t get off to the best of starts. Cheteshwar Pujara was run out for 7 in bizarre fashion early in the piece as his bat got stuck in the pitch. Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant failed to occupy the crease for long, leaving Kohli and Ashwin to steady the ship.
Ashwin pulled out a wide range of sweeps against the England spinners, and has moved to 34 off just 38 balls. He was handed a repreive by Ben Stokes, who spilled a sharp catch at first slip off Stuart Broad.
Kohli, on the other hand, was circumspect throughout his innings. Trusting his defence and playing with a straight bat, the Indian skipper has notched up 38 off 86 balls. He put away the bad balls and ran hard between the wickets, and appeared assured on what is certainly a tough pitch to bat on.
India in prime position to level the series 1-1
With 8 sessions left in the Test match, India are firmly in the driver’s seat. If Kohli and Ashwin can stretch this lead by another 50 runs or so, England will be set a target of over 400.
Given that they scored only 134 in the first innings, it will be an impossible task for them to chase down the target and take a commanding 2-0 lead. As things stand, Kohli’s men are in prime position to level the 4-match series 1-1.
This Test is important in the context of the World Test Championship, as India need to beat England in this series to make the final against New Zealand.
Published 15 Feb 2021, 11:49 IST