Twitter Reactions: England favorites as a survival battle awaits India

Twitter Reactions: England favorites as a survival battle awaits India

Gill and Pujara ensured that India did not have anything less than 9 wickets in hand going into the last day of the first Test.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

India finished day four at 38/1, in an unlikely – or probably impossible – pursuit of 420 runs on day four at Chepauk. Resuming the day from 257/6, the hosts could not last longer than the first session despite Washington Sundar, playing only his second Test and first at home, showing plenty of promise with the bat. Alongside his Chennai counterpart, R Ashwin, Sundar played some glorious strokes early in the morning, punishing the spinners whenever they shortened or missed their lengths by even an inch, as England delayed for opting the new ball.

Runs kept coming for India at a fair clip, and taking inspiration from his partner, Ashwin upped the ante too, as he slammed Dom Bess for a six over mid-on. With the pacers unable to get any breakthrough, Root’s decision to hand the new, hard ball to spinner Jack Leach did the trick as Ashwin ended up gloving a delivery that bounced more than his anticipation to Buttler close by. Shahbaz Nadeem’s outing did not last long as Leach induced an edge and Ben Stokes grabbed another sharp chance in the slips.

Sundar was left stranded on 85 as Anderson struck twice in quick succession, getting Ishant Sharma, who awkwardly fended a short ball before lobbing it up to Pope at short leg, and Jasprit Bumrah, who fell to another one of Ben Stokes’ sensational catch in the slips.

England piles on the massive lead

Having earned a gigantic lead of 241, England chose to pile up some more to set India a target instead of enforcing a follow-on. Quite surprisingly, though, England made no amends in the batting order as their usual openers walked out to play the few overs left before Lunch. India made early inroads as Ashwin removed Rory Burns on the first delivery of their innings as the southpaw prodded hard at the delivery and edged it to Rahane in the slip.

Ashwin struck soon after the resumption, this time finding the inside edge of Dom Bess, who lobbed up a catch for Pujara at leg slip. Paying no heed to what the track had to offer, Joe Root counterattacked the bowlers as he raced off to 40 from just 32, with 7 fours. Meanwhile, Ishant Sharma picked his 300th Test scalp when he smacked one into Dan Lawrence’s pads, who reviewed it to no avail. More success followed for both India and Ashwin, as the spinner induced a thin edge from Ben Stokes through to Pant behind.

England’s denial for declaration

While Root kept the flow of runs on, from his end, Bumrah struck moments before the Tea break, pinning the skipper lbw to reduce England to 101/5. It was strange tactics from England post Tea as they continued to pile up their lead without contemplating even once for declaration. Though Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler made valuable contributions, there was hardly a sense of rush in them to add to their tally as they ate up more time. Shahbaz Nadeem, who has had a hard time in the Test, had a reason to celebrate when Ollie Pope picked Rohit Sharma at cover while reverse-sweeping.

Dom Bess then added 35 with Buttler, keeping India at bay, before Ashwin pinned him lbw. Nadeem got his second when Buttler danced down the track but missed to make any connection, giving an easy stumping opportunity to Rishabh Pant. Ashwin ended up with 6 as he knocked over Jofra Archer and followed it up by taking a simple return catch of James Anderson in the 47th over to dismiss England all out for 178.

Leach strikes early

Coming to face a tricky phase, the fag end of the day, Indian openers – Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill – made a positive start nevertheless. Sharma was not shy in pulling Archer for a six, however, Leach had the better of him. Defending on the wrong line, he bent forward to meet the ball that straightened after pitching, meaning that Rohit was beaten to be cleaned up. Negotiating a testing phase, Gill and the new man Cheteshwar Pujara ensured that India did not have anything less than 9 wickets in hand going into the last day of the first Test.

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