Sunday, 23 January 2022

India outplay England to lead series 2-0

Parthiv Patel rocks back for a pull, India v England, 3rd Test, Mohali, 4th day.

MOHALI: Ravindra Jadeja’s sparkling allround performance floored England and handed India an unbeatable 2-0 lead after they cantered home to a comprehensive eight-wicket win in the third Test on Tuesday. Top-ranked India surpassed the 103-run target in the final session of the fourth day at Mohali with recalled opener Parthiv Patel (67 not out) hitting the winning runs. Left-handed Jadeja scored a career-best 90 in India’s 417-run first innings total before finishing with a match haul of four wickets to be named man-of-the-match. India’s road to victory was smooth despite Chris Woakes striking early to send back opener Murali Vijay for nought. Patel and Cheteshwar Pujara (25) then put on an 81-run partnership to enable the hosts register their second straight win of the five-match series. The first Test in Rajkot ended in a draw before India won the Visakhapatnam game by 246 runs. Patel, returning to the Test side after an eight-year gap, struck 11 fours and a six off 54 balls on way to his fifth Test half-century. Skipper Virat Kohli, who was at the other end when stumps were drawn, hugged Patel to celebrate his team’s well-earned victory.  It was the steely lower-order resistance from the Indian batsmen and a combined effort by their bowlers that set up victory for the Kohli-led side. Jadeja’s knock surpassed his previous-best of 68 he made against the same opposition at Lord’s in 2014. Ashwin, who claimed three wickets in England’s second essay, also hit 72 with three other Indian batsmen making half-centuries.

The Indian lower-order contributed 213 runs to the total score after the hosts were reduced to 204-6 following a fightback by the England bowlers on the second day. “I think we got in a bit of a bother on the second day but the belief inside the dressing room was tremendous,” said Ashwin. “We always backed the lower order to get a lot of runs. We tell ourselves that we are capable of making 125-150 runs. And I think we put up a stellar show.” After securing a crucial 134-run first innings lead, India bowled out England for 236 despite defiant half-centuries from Joe Root (78) and Haseeb Hameed (59 not out). Teenage Hameed, who impressed on debut with a 82-run knock in the drawn first Test in Rajkot, registered his second Test fifty in only his third game. But the Indian bowlers always held the upper hand with paceman Mohammed Shami (5-103) instrumental in wiping off the tail in both the innings with his lively pace. One of his bouncers even struck Woakes’ helmet grille, breaking a portion of the protective gear, before getting the batsman out off the next ball. England though can take positives from Ben Stokes’ five-wicket haul in India’s first innings, while leg-spinner Adil Rashid finished as the leading wicket-taker with 17 scalps. England skipper Alastair Cook admitted his side squandered the advantage of winning the toss after scoring a below-par 283 in the first knock. “It was a good toss to win but if you get bowled out for 280-odd you won’t win games,” said Cook. “You need to get 400 on this pitch at least. It has been a frustrating four days. Credit to India, they outplayed us.” Stokes, who was reprimanded for his argument with Kohli on the opening day, added spice to the proceedings with a sealed lip gesture after the Indian skipper’s dismissal. Kohli reciprocated in equal measure when he put a finger on his lips after Stokes lost his wicket in England’s second essay. The action now shifts to Mumbai with the fourth Test scheduled to start on December 8.

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