• Friday, April 12, 2024


India sniff series victory after spinners rout England

Ravichandran Ashwin REUTERS/Amit Dave

By: Shajil Kumar

Spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav combined to rout England in their second innings and put India on course for a series-clinching victory in the fourth test in Ranchi on Sunday.

Off-spinner Ashwin (5-51) and left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep (4-22) shared nine wickets on a turning track to bundle out England for 145 inside two sessions.

Chasing 192 for a victory that would fetch them an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series, India cruised to 40 for no loss at stumps on day three.

Skipper Rohit Sharma (24) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (16) looked unperturbed on a pitch, where the ball spun sharply and stayed low occasionally.

Earlier, when action resumed on Sunday, Dhruv Jurel (90) led a spirited rearguard action to rescue India, who posted 307 all out in reply to England’s first innings 353.

Jurel combined in a 76-run partnership with Kuldeep (28), whose 131-ball vigil was the longest in his test career.

Jurel smashed four sixes and six fours in his knock but fell short of a hundred when Tom Hartley (3-68) bowled him.

Off-spinner Shoaib Bashir (5-119) claimed his first five-wicket haul in test cricket.

A lead of 46 was much lower than England probably had expected having reduced India to 177-7 before the hosts roared right back into the contest after Ashwin’s triple strikes.

The off-spinner had Ben Duckett caught short leg for 15 and trapped Ollie Pope lbw with his next delivery. Pope fell for his second duck in the match.

While Ashwin could not complete a hat-trick, he got the important wicket of Joe Root (11) lbw.

Root, who made a classy century in the first innings, was initially adjudged not out, but Ashwin coaxed his captain Rohit Sharma into challenging the decision.

The hosts were rewarded when replays confirmed the ball would have gone on to hit the stump.

Opener Zak Crawley smashed seven fours in his 60 before losing his middle stump to Kuldeep.

The spinner struck another telling blow when he had Ben Stokes bowled for four before the tea break.

The England captain missed the ball, which hit his pad before spinning back between his legs and went on to hit the stumps.

Jonny Bairstow (30) fell in the first ball after the tea break and Kuldeep dismissed Hartley and Ollie Robinson in the same over to pin England on the mat.

Ashwin went on to dismiss Ben Foakes and Anderson in the same over as England lost their last six wickets for 25 runs in a remarkable meltdown.

“I’ve enjoyed bowling with the new ball and today was one of those days where Rohit asked in the huddle who wants to start and I put my hand up,” said Ashwin, who opened the attack for India, while also heaping praise on Kuldeep.

“We all know how many revs he can put on the ball and what skills he’s got, but when you can change up the pace and the trajectory, he’s double the bowler he is.” (Reuters)

Pakistan Weekly

Related Stories