Virat Kohli’s India win in four days; England admit Mohali pitch not a factor
India skipper Virat Kohli can savour the Mohali Test victory over England after the hosts were criticised for defeating South Africa on a rank turner at the same venue late last year.cricket Updated: Nov 29, 2016 20:43 IST
As Parthiv Patel chipped England off-spinner Gareth Batty over the cover region for four, skipper Virat Kohli celebrated at the non striker’s end. India had completed yet another comprehensive victory, sealing the third Test by eight wickets on Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Last year, around the same time, Kohli was in the firing line after the Test win against South Africa at the same venue, which finished in three days on a rank turner. But on Tuesday, a beaming Kohli knew he had answered his critics.
His team had done it the hard way, and on a pitch which had life even on Day 4 for the pacers to bend their back and extract bounce. The India bowlers did their job and bowled out England for 236, leaving the hosts to get a modest fourth innings target of 102.
That was never going to trouble India and despite losing Murali Vijay early, Parthiv Patel and Cheteshwar Pujara collected runs effortlessly. The duo added 81 for the second wicket before Pujara top-edged leg spinner Adil Rashid to Joe Root.
In the end, Patel, the stand-in keeper, remained unbeaten on 67, his hitting the winning runs starting the celebrations and helping wrap up the game in time for the India team members to get ready for Yuvraj Singh’s pre-wedding function in a Chandigarh five-star hotel in the evening.
“It was a perfectly good wicket. It was a wicket where if you persisted you get the results you want. And I felt we did that pretty well to get the result our way,” Kohli said.
Spinners strike early
With a 134-run first-innings lead and England four down overnight, India could dictate terms. England had failed on Day 3, allowing the Indian tail to flourish.
On the fourth morning, England still needed 57 to make India bat again and were hoping their lower order would emulate Ashwin, Jadeja and Jayant. But eight balls into the morning, Jadeja trapped nightwatchman Gareth Batty plumb in front of the wicket.
It was only after this England showed some spark with Jos Buttler and Joe Root showing intent to score runs. Buttler started off with a six off Jadeja, while Root gathered his runs in singles and doubles by working the field. Buttler perished, giving the charge against Jayant to be caught in the deep.
Root and Haseeb Hameed, who came in at No 8 due to a fractured finger which has ruled him out of the series, then ensured India batted again, adding 45 runs. Root, who had opened in place of Hameed, fell for 78 to a superb catch by Ajinkya Rahane at first slip off Jadeja before lunch.
Hameed, with Chris Woakes for company, showed great maturity for his 19 years as he pressed on the accelerator to help England build a lead.
Shami fiery spell
Seeing Hameed and Woakes batting comfortably, India took the second new ball and Mohammed Shami made full use of it. After hitting Woakes on the helmet, Shami didn’t shy away from digging in the next one as well. Woakes, rattled by the blow to the helmet, fended it and Parthiv Patel took an easy catch.
A ball later, Shami targeted Adil Rashid too with a short ball which hurried on to him, and his awkward hook shot only found Umesh Yadav at deep fine leg.
Jimmy Anderson and Hameed then dug in for a stand of 41 for the last wicket. By the time Jadeja ran out Anderson, Hameed had scored 59. A valiant effort that even Kohli acknowledged by walking up to pat the youngster.
First Published: Nov 29, 2016 19:14 IST