A little after lunch on day four, India completed a comfortable 317-run victory against England in the second Test at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The result was never really in doubt after the hosts had secured a 195-run first innings lead earlier in the game, following which they set the visitors a target of 482.
INDIA’S SPINNERS STRIKE
Heading into play on Tuesday (16 February 2021), with England having only seven wickets in hand, it was a matter of when, rather than if, India would win this game.
Ravichandran Ashwin wasn't given the ball at the start of the day, but when he came into the bowling attack, it took him no time to get a breakthrough. With his first delivery of the day, he got the wicket of Daniel Lawrence. The England batsman was quite proactive in this innings, coming down the track often, but it ended up being his downfall in the end as he was stumped. In fact, Ashwin seemed to have anticipated Lawrence coming down the track as there was a discussion between Rishabh Pant and him before the over began.
We've witnessed some fantastic wicketkeeping in this match and there was another instance here as Pant did some brilliant work to collect the ball and knock the bails off before Lawrence could get back.
Heading into this Test, Ashwin had dismissed Ben Stokes eight times in Tests and that number has increased to 10 now. While Ben Stokes showed determination, batting for 51 deliveries, his stay in the middle came to an end when he got an inside edge which hit his pad, with Virat Kohli completing the catch at second slip.
While Root was still at the crease at lunch, he saw two of his teammates -- Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes -- dismissed while playing a sweep shot. In fact, Root himself had a fortunate escape as he was dropped by Mohammed Siraj while attempting a reverse sweep off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav. Surprisingly, Kuldeep had to wait until the 43th over to come into the bowling attack and, while that drop would have been disappointing, he got the wicket of Foakes soon after.
AXAR SECURES MAIDEN FIFER
Root, who had his share of luck earlier on, then got an unplayable delivery from Axar Patel. The England skipper stood in disbelief after some extraordinary bounce saw the ball hit his glove, following which Ajinkya Rahane took an easy catch at first slip. It was Axar’s fourth wicket of the innings.
The left-arm orthodox spinner didn't have to wait long for his fifth as Olly Stone was soon dismissed leg-before-wicket for a duck. On impact, only a small part of the ball was in line with the stumps, but with the on-field decision being out, Stone had to head back to the pavillion.
Moeen Ali then played an entertaining knock, slamming five sixes en route an 18-ball 43. For a while, it looked like he would break the record for the fastest fifty (21 balls) in Tests but it wasn't to be as he was stumped off the bowling of Kuldeep while attempting another big shot. This ended a 38-run partnership for the 10th wicket, the highest of the innings, with England bowled out for 164.
While Ashwin was unsurprisingly named the Player of the Match, the margin of victory – 317 runs – is the biggest for India against England in Tests (in terms of runs). Meanwhile, Kohli added another feature in his cap as he equalled MS Dhoni for the most Test wins (21) at home by an Indian captain.
With the series level 1-1, there’s everything to play for in the last two matches of the series in Ahmedabad, not least a spot in the World Test Championship final. India have climbed up to second on the table with a PCT (points earned/points available) of 69.7 while England (67.0) have dropped to fourth. For India to qualify, they need to win the series by any margin, provided they don’t receive any over-rate deductions from here, while Root and Co. will need to win both of the remaining Tests to make it to the finale at Lord’s.
(Image Courtesy - BCCI)