Visakhapatnam, Feb 5: Chasing a victory target of 399, visitors England were 285/9 in 68 oveers in their second innings against India at Day 4 of the Second Test at the Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium on Monday.
Ben Stokes's men resumed their innings from 67/1 in 14 overs today. In the first session, they made 127 runs through their uber-attacking style of play, but also lost five wickets in the process, putting India in pole position of winning the match.
Earlier on the day, The Indian bowlers struggled with their lines as Zak Crawley and Rehan Ahmed hit five boundaries between themselves, though the former was cautious against a sharp Jasprit Bumrah.
Rehan became the first wicket to fall for England when he was trapped plumb LBW by Axar in front of the middle-stump. Ollie Pope hit the ground running with his sweep and reverse-sweep off Axar for boundaries. Crawley got his second fifty of the match in 83 balls after dancing down the pitch to chip Axar over mid-off for four.
Pope was at his determined best, sweeping, glancing and using his feet to take three fours off Axar. But his lively innings ended when he looked to play away with hard hands off the backfoot and only managed to get a thick outside edge to the left of Rohit Sharma at first slip, who was alert enough to take a reflex catch.
Joe Root, batting with an injured right little finger, was attacking from the word go – reverse-sweeping twice in his first four balls for boundaries off Ashwin, before smacking Axar over long-off for six. His frenetic knock ended when he miscued a slog off Ashwin and thick top-edge was caught by short third man.
Bairstow continued to look solid, driving Axar through and sweeping off Ashwin to get boundaries. While Crawley smacked Ashwin down the ground for four, Bairstow cut the off-spinner for a boundary. The return of Bumrah didn’t deter Bairstow, who brought out the extra cover drive and punch through point to get two cracking boundaries.
But the momentum swung back in India’s favour in the last ten minutes before lunch. Crawley was trapped lbw on backfoot against Kuldeep Yadav, with replays showing the ball hitting leg-stump. Bumrah ended the session when his nip-backer trapped Bairstow lbw, with the review showing the ball clipping top of leg-stump, as India walked off in high spirits after pushing England on the backfoot.
Brief scores: India 396 and 255;
England 253 and 285/9. (With IANS Support)