As a bowler, Ravindra Jadeja has often been Ravichandran Ashwin’s partner in crime. From taking wickets in tandem to keeping a check on the economy-rate, Jadeja has often built the much needed pressure from one end while Ashwin did the job of wrapping up the batting order from the other. (LIVE UPDATES)
Thus, it was one of those rare occasions when they duo managed to pick only three wickets between them as England posted 283 in the first innings at Mohali. However, as any other opposition would have realised it by now, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are no longer a part of the team as bowlers. The two have matured and have evolved from bowlers to bowling all-rounders.
While Ashwin has already proved his credentials and rightfully is on top of the ICC Test all-rounder rankings, at Mohali, it was Jadeja turn to prove his mettle.
Walking in to bat on Monday with the team still 80 runs short of taking a first innings lead, Ravindra Jadeja showed his maturity with the bat as he let the well-settled Ashwin take on the English bowling attack. (LIVE SCORECARD)
Jadeja scored eight runs off 34 deliveries and took his own time to settle down, calmly ignoring the wide balls unlike Kohli and Vijay who fell for it. Once he settled in, he pounced on Adil Rashid in the 78th whacking one towards the mid-on boundary before lofting one for a gigantic six two balls later.
A googly in the next ball, however, almost ended as a return catch to Rashid but fortunately for India and Jadeja, it didn’t.
The 97-run partnership between Ashwin and Jadeja steered India to take the first innings lead, and when Ashwin fell at 301, Jadeja had imposed himself as the danger man out in the middle.
Jadeja completed his third half-century off 104 deliveries in an innings laced with five boundaries and the gigantic six off Rashid. This was Jadeja’s second fifty against England; the first resulting in India’s victory at Lord’s after 28 years in 2014.
The Saurashtra southpaw then took charge in a similar manner as he had allowed Ashwin to take earlier, as rookie Jayant Yadav learnt the craft of Test cricket from the non-striking end. He stitched another 80-run partnership with Jayant as India took charge at the IS Bindra Stadium.
Jadeja eventually fell at 90, 10 runs short of his maiden Test hundred, but his innings was enough to create a psychological dent on the Englishmen, who would now have to rethink on their strategies to perhaps save the Test match.