Ravichandran Ashwin’s scintillating century and early wickets helped India to dominate on day three of the second Test against England after setting a 482 target at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday.
Ashwin played a knock of 106 runs before the hosts were bowled out for 286 in the final session of the day and set a target of 482 runs against visitors to take the 2-0 lead in the four-match series. At stumps on day three, England’s score read 53/3 with skipper Joe Root and Dan Lawrence still unbeaten on two and 19 runs respectively. Visitors still require 429 runs to win the game.
Axar Patel bagged two scalps while Ashwin clinched one wicket in the second innings.
Openers Dom Sibley (3) and Rory Burns (25) failed to provide a solid stand for the visitors and were picked by Patel and Ashwin respectively.
After losing openers early, England sent Jack Leach as nightwatchman but that move also did not work for the visitors. Leach was sent back to the pavilion on a single ball duck by Patel. Root and Lawrence played cautiously and made sure that the side did not suffer any hiccup on the day.
In the final session, 31.5 overs were bowled as both the teams together scored 118 runs with a loss of five wickets.
Earlier, Ishant Sharma departed after scoring seven runs when India’s score read 237 but Ashwin formed a crucial 49-run stand with Mohammed Siraj and the duo took the hosts’ score to 286 and the lead was extended to 481 runs.
At the tea break on day three, India’s score read 221/8, with Ashwin and Ishant on the field. The hosts currently enjoy a lead of 416 runs.
Resuming day three from 54/1, India got off to the worst possible start as the hosts lost both Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara in the first 15 minutes. While Pujara lost the grip on his bat and failed to ground it on time, Rohit got stumped off Leach’s ball courtesy of some quick glove work by Foakes. Pant was sent up the order after the fall of two wickets but he too failed to leave a mark. Foakes stumped Pant as Leach scalped his second for the day.
Ajinkya Rahane and Kohli then started to rebuild India’s innings with a couple of boundaries. But Moeen Ali struck his first of the day as he dismissed Rahane to leave hosts reeling at 86/5 in the 31st over. Axar Patel too was sent back to the pavilion by Moeen in the 37th over. Kohli and Ashwin then formed a brilliant partnership. Both the players played cautiously but did not miss the opportunity to score boundaries on loose balls.
Continuing their brilliant form, Kohli and Ashwin completed their respective half-centuries as India crossed the 200-run mark in their second innings. Soon after that, England got the much-needed breakthrough as Moeen dismissed Kohli (62).
Kuldeep Yadav then took the field. Ashwin and Kuldeep began adding runs to the scoreboard, with India’s lead crossing the 400-run mark. However, the partnership between the two did not last for too long as Moeen removed Kuldeep (3).
Brief scores: England 134 and 53/3 (Rory Burns 25, Dan Lawrence 19*; Axar Patel 2-15, R Ashwin 1-28); India 329 and 286.