Eng face defeat as Ashwin shines with bat & ball

Eng face defeat as Ashwin shines with bat & ball
R Ashwin celebrates after scoring a century, Monday.
Chennai, Feb 15 (IANS) | Publish Date: 2/15/2021 1:27:21 PM IST

Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday scored his fifth Test century as India tightened the noose around England in the second Test as they set England a target of 482 runs and then reduced them to 52 for three at stumps on the third day.

Ashwin scored 106 runs off 148 balls with the help of 14 fours and a six as India’s second innings came to an end at 286 in the post-tea session. Mohammad Siraj remained unbeaten on 16, and added 49 runs for the final wicket with Ashwin who was the last wicket to fall.

India then knocked out openers Dom Sibley (3) and Rory Burns (25) as well as night-watchman Jack Leach (0) to set England back in chase of 482. England are still 430 runs adrift.

Ashwin’s century followed a five-wicket haul in England’s first innings, making him only the second cricketer to achieve the feat of a century and a fifer in the same game on three different occasions. Ian Botham of England had done it five times.

Earlier, resuming at 54/1 on the third day, India lost five wickets but added 102 runs to get their lead past 350 in the morning session. The hosts lost the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara (7), Rohit Sharma (26), Rishabh Pant (8), Ajinkya Rahane (10) and debutant Axar Patel (7) in quick succession to give a glimmer of hope to England.

However, skipper Virat Kohli and Ashwin then shared a 96-run stand for the seventh wicket to put India in a commanding position.

Kohli, who showed his class on a Chepauk wicket that aided turn, was the first wicket to fall in the post-lunch session as he was dismissed by Moeen Ali at his individual score of 62. This was the fifth time that Ali had dismissed the India skipper in Test cricket.

Kuldeep Yadav (3) and Ishant Sharma (7) also shared eight and 27-run partnerships respectively with Ashwin to frustrate the England bowlers.

India had posted 329 runs in their first innings. The hosts then bowled out England for 134, securing a 195-run lead in first innings.

Meanwhile R Ashwin, who scored his fifth Test century after a five-wicket haul to help India take the stranglehold of the second Test, said he brought out his sweep shot for the first time after well over a decade.

“After the last Test, we were thinking on how to counter [Jack] Leach and start bringing sweep to the game. The last time I was sweeping was probably when I was 19 years old; hit a couple of sweep shots, got dropped from the side, and maybe never played a sweep for the last 11, maybe 13-14 years. I’ve been practicing that shot for the last week to 10 days. Very, very thankful that the plan has really paid off,” Ashwin, who scored 106 to help India make 286 in the second innings and set a target of 482 runs for England, said after the third day’s play.

Ashwin credited India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour, a former India opener, for improvement in his batting.

BRIEF SCORES: England: 134 and 53/3 in 19 overs (Rory Burns 25; Axar Patel 2/15) India: 329 and 286 all out in 86.5 overs (Virat Kohli 62, Ravichandran Ashwin 106; Moeen Ali 4/98, Jack Leach 4/100).

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