Dom Bess and England celebrate the wicket of Virat Kohli. (BCCI)
Dom Bess and England celebrate the wicket of Virat Kohli. (BCCI)

'No one saw this coming': Sunil Gavaskar reacts to India's response with the bat

  • India vs England: India were reduced to 73/4 before Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant hit half-centuries to rebuild the innings.
PUBLISHED ON FEB 07, 2021 02:43 PM IST

Sunil Gavaskar was a bit surprised watching India's response with the bat on Day 3 of the Chennai Test against England on Sunday, saying the home team has its work cut out. On a surface where England made batting look ridiculously easy, the Indian batsmen struggled to counter the pace of Jofra Archer and spin of Dom Bess. In response to England's 578 all out, India started in unconvincing fashion, losing openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill before lunch and later two of their pillars in the middle order in Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane as the team total read 73/4.

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"No one saw this coming. We saw the way Dom Bess and Jack Leach were batting in the morning. There was nothing in the pitch to worry the batsmen," Gavaskar said on the Star Sports Network during the lunch interval on Day 3.

"But yes, I think we knew that England’s strength is new-ball bowling. So if India could have survived the new ball without losing too many wickets, then they would have been in a very good position. But as luck would have it, Rohit Sharma got a beauty of a delivery, though you’ve got to say he might have poked at it, just a little bit more. And then Shubman Gill wasn’t able to keep the on drive down and James Anderson, at 38, what a catch he took. So India will have their work cut out."

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Rohit received a ball that took off and nicked his bat as the batsman tried to poke at it. Shubman Gill, who got off to a promising start with five delightful fours, failed to keep down an on drive, which James Anderson held on to beautifully diving low at mid-on. After tea, England struck twice again, with Dom Bess being the wicket-taker this time around. He had Virat Kohli out bat pad at forward short leg and shortly after, had Rahane out caught off a full toss to Joe Root at covers. India then rebuilt through Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar, both of whom hit half-centuries.

"I think Dom Bess in particular bowled exceedingly well. They way he got Virat Kohli out was an example of how he was trying to set the batsman up," Gavaskar added during the team interval. "Virat played for the turn, there was no turn. And the ball has bounced, so he’s been getting that with the way he’s holding the ball back. The ball has been dipping and that is so difficult then to be able to control your drives or control your defense."

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