It took India just over a session to wrap up proceedings in the second Test in Chennai and seal a huge 317-run win against England – it was a victory that boosted their chances of making it to the ICC World Test Championship final.
England were bowled out for 164 in their second innings, with Axar Patel taking a five-wicket haul on debut. There was brief resistance from Joe Root and Moeen Ali, but by and large, the Indian spinners ran riot, bringing up a much-needed victory to draw level 1-1 in the series, and move up to No.2 in the World Test Championship standings.
The defeat meant England, who were leading the table, slipped all the way down to fourth in the standings. They have only one avenue left to make it to the final – they have the daunting task of needing to win the remaining two Tests in Ahmedabad, and take the series 3-1.
The visitors resumed the fourth morning 53/3, facing the improbable task of chasing down 482. Dan Lawrence and Root, the overnight batsmen, employed different methods to tackle the spinners – Lawrence used his feet to get to the pitch of the ball, while Root, an excellent sweeper of the ball, repeatedly employed the stroke to find runs.
Unfortunately for England, it didn’t take long for the opening wicket. Six overs into the day, Lawrence stepped out to Ashwin, but was confounded by an off-break that nutmegged him. Pant was excellent to gather down leg and break the stumps, and India had their first of the day.
Ben Stokes came in thereafter, and resisted India alongside Root. They put on 24 for the fifth wicket, in what was England’s longest partnership of the day, but Ashwin was again at it, dismissing Stokes a second time in the match as the batsman inside-edged one onto his pads, gifting a catch to Virat Kohli at second slip. Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes fell within a few overs of each other, Axar and Kuldeep Yadav claiming the wicket, and England were reduced to 116/7 by Lunch.
It didn’t take India long after the restart to nip England out. Axar had Root dismissed, prompting the England captain forward to one that leapt off the surface, enough to catch his glove and pop to slip. He quickly followed that up with the scalp of Olly Stone, and with just one wicket remaining, Moeen adopted a carefree approach and went after the spinners.
He scored an entertaining 18-ball 43, hitting five sixes and three fours, but it only served to delay the inevitable – Kuldeep had him stumped and India had their victory.
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