UPDATED: February 16, 2021 13:02 IST
A berth in the final of the World Test championship was at stake and something special was needed from the hosts. All-round India did just what the doctor ordered and produced a stellar performance to register a handsome 317-run victory on Day 4 of the 2nd Test match against England in Chennai. The win means that India have levelled the 4-match series 1-1 before heading to Ahmedabad for the final 2 Tests.
India needed 7 wickets on Tuesday to register a win after losing the first match by a massive 227-run margin. Batting on a spinner-friendly wicket for 2 days and scoring 429 runs was always going to be an uphill task for the visitors as Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel made sure that no noticeable partnership blossomed in the middle.
Daniel Lawerence (26) was the first to depart after a brilliant stumping from Rishabh Pant on the bowling of Ashwin, who also broke through Ben Stokes’ (8 off 51) resistance. Virat Kohli leaped forward to take a stunning catch at second slip as the star all-rounder fell to Ashwin for the 10th time in Test career.
After blows from the local boy, left-arm spinner Axar Patel ensured that the floodgates remain open. The debutant removed a sweeping Ollie Pope for 12 before Kuldeep Yadav joined the party. The chinaman bowler would have got the big fish Joe Root if not for that dropped catch from Mohammed Siraj, nonetheless Axar Patel took a catch at short mid-wicket and helped the youngster dismiss wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes. The wicket was Kuldeep Yadav’s first in the format since January 2019.
When the teams walked off for lunch England’s scorecard read 117 for 7.
Joe Root (33 off 92) fell on the 5th ball after the break after a ball kissed his gloves and landed in the safe hands of Ajinkya Rahane at slip. The next over from the Gujarat-born saw him become the 9th Indian to register a five-wicket haul on debut as Olly Stone got castled for a duck.
With not much left in the game for England, Moeen Ali decided to send a message to the IPL franchises ahead of the IPL 2021 auction. He blasted 3 consecutive sixes off Axar Patel and played at a strike rate in excess of 200 to entertain the Chepauk crowd.
Moeen Ali’s (43 off 18) late firework and England’s innings came to an end when Kuldeep Yadav scalped his second wicket of the match.
With 134 runs in the 1st innings and 164 in the 2nd, the visitors could collectively score just 298 runs in comparison with India’s 615 in the match.
Rohit Sharma’s 161 in the first innings, Ajinkya Rahane’s 67, Ashwin’s hundred and five-for, Virat Kohli’s classy 62 in second innings and Rishabh Pant’s good show with the bat and gloves is sure to make England’s journey in the series more than difficult now.
The third Test, a Day-Night one in Ahmedabad will kickstart from February 24.