Vizag Test: Ravichandran Ashwin tightens noose around England with drift and dip
In the context of the game, two of the most vital blows came from the fast bowlers -- Mohammed Shami scalped Alastair Cook and Umesh Yadav took the wicket of Jonny Bairstow. The two dismissals bookended a defining period for Ravichandran Ashwin where he reinvented himself, after brought into the attack by Virat Kohli.cricket Updated: Nov 19, 2016 18:53 IST
Ravichandran Ashwin took the 22nd five-wicket haul of his career to help India tighten the noose around England and take a first innings lead of 200 runs.(DAY 3 SCORECARD)
Choosing not to enforce the follow on after the Ravichandran Ashwin show,India lost three wickets quickly but captain Virat Kohli dug in again to score a brisk fifty and give India an overall lead of 298 at stumps. With two days left in the second Test, India would like at least 100 run more runs before throwing the gauntlet.(DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS)
In the context of the game, two of the most vital blows came from the fast bowlers. By breaching Alastair Cook’s defence on Friday, Mohammed Shami gave India the much-needed opening by dismissing a batsman known to have a great record in India. It is difficult for a pacer to make an impact with a 78-over old ball but Umesh Yadav did just that by surprising Jonny Bairstow with raw pace and ending England’s last hopes of saving the follow on.
The two dismissals bookended a defining period for Ravichandran Ashwin where he reinvented himself after an uninspiring spell to bounce back with one that England had no answers to. After returning with figures of 13-5-20-2 on the second day, Ashwin had to be the man for Virat Kohli to run through the rest of the England batting.
At least that seemed to be the plan when Ashwin was given a long nine-over spell in the morning. But a hurried and misjudged call for a wasted review against Bairstow off his first delivery was the start Ashwin could have avoided.
England were in danger of keeling over but living up to their reputation of being the most productive pair for England this year, the sixth-wicket partnership between Bairstow and Ben Stokes denied India the early advantage.
Despite a wobble while coming out to bat, which needed medical attention, Bairstow did what he does best with Stokes. For two consecutive overs, Ashwin conceded a last-ball boundary to Stokes before missing out on a stumping chance when he had beaten the all-rounder with his drift but Wriddhiman Saha couldn’t collect the ball cleanly.
Stokes resumed his treatment next over by sweeping him for a boundary to raise 50 runs for the stand. By then, Ashwin looked a little deflated, trying too many options instead of settling on a line and tiring the batsmen. When Kohli ultimately pulled Ashwin out of the attack, he had conceded 33 runs in nine overs and taken just one maiden.
He wasn’t done yet. Teased by the partnership that was closing on the 100-run mark, Kohli was forced to bring back Ashwin with the second new ball just five overs old. This time, Ashwin found his line and took just 10 deliveries to get rid of his main tormentor by making Stokes play at a ball that drifted into his pad before flying to short leg. A review of the decision revealed Stokes’ bat had hit his pad, turning it into an lbw.
Finding drift and dip, Ashwin picked Stuart Broad and James Anderson off successive deliveries to produce a spell of 7.5-0-14-3. With this, Ashwin not only surpassed 50 wickets this year but also joined Malcolm Marshall, Waqar Younis, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh in the list of career five-wicket hauls. Only two contemporary bowlers --- Rangana Herath (28 in 75 Tests) and Dale Steyn (26 in 85 Tests) --- are ahead of him but the fact that he took just 41 Tests to get here shows how prolific Ashwin has been for India.