Ravichandran Ashwin's hundred on a deteriorating Chennai wicket has put India in command of the ongoing second Test against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday. Resuming from their overnight score of 54/1, the hosts were at one stage reeling at 106/6 in the second innings but Ashwin's effort (106) coupled with a good looking fifty from skipper Virat Kohli (62) helped set the home side a target of 482 for England to win.
Ashwin returned to dismiss Rory Burns with the ball in hand. Axar Patel bagged the wickets of Dom Sibley and Jack Leach on either side of that dismissal as the Three Lions ended the day's play at 53/3, needing a further 429 runs and Joe Root and Dan Lawrence remaining unbeaten.
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The visitors had got off to a great start as they got rid of Cheteshwar Pujara in the opening over of the morning session as he became the victim of a bizarre dismissal with his bat getting jammed on the crease while attempting to get back. Soon after, centurion of the first innings Rohit Sharma went back to the pavilion, courtesy a brilliant bit of glovework from Ben Foakes off Jack Leach.
Rishabh Pant who earned a promotion to play a counter attacking knock could not last long either as he too became the victim of Leach. Moeen Ali then produced the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and Axar Patel as England started sensing a silver lining in the dark cloud post conceding a first-innings lead of 195 runs.
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Ashwin-Kohli To The Rescue
However, Ashwin joined Kohli in the middle and took the attack to the opposition. For all the talks about this not being a good Test match wicket, Ashwin showed how a number 8 batter can do well if he applies himself on the wicket. Kohli, too, looked good on the eye and seemed to be playing the role of the anchor till he was removed by Moeen Ali. However, that hardly seemed to perturb the local lad who went about his business. While the spin duo of Leach and Ali ensured that Kuldeep Yadav and Ishant Sharma could not be of much support, Mohammed Siraj put his hand up and stayed there until Ashwin reached triple figures, showing a bit of urgency and scoring some boundaries. The last wicket added 49 runs for India before Olly Stone claimed the only wicket for a pacer, disturbing Ashwin's stumps to bowl out India for 286.
Monty Panesar Reviews Day 3
Post the innings break, Patel picked two and Ashwin continued his dream run in this Test in front of home crowd. He added another one more to his wicket tally to make it 6 in the match to add to his 119 runs with the bat. Given the form that he is in, it could be an early finish to the Test on Day 4 with India 7 wickets away from levelling the series 1-1.