Anthony De Mello Trophy, 2021
Venue: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
Date: 13 February-16 February, 2021
RR: 3.02 | India beat England by 317 runs
That's that from Chennai. The series stands level at 1-1 and the action will now move to Ahmedabad for the next lot of two Tests, of which, the first one will be played with the pink ball (D-N Test). It's from 24th February at 1430 local (0900 GMT). Looking forward to your company then. Cheers!
MAN OF THE MATCH IS RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN! He smiles as the crowd goes bonkers. Starts by saying that this wicket was very different from the one they played on in the first Test. Tells that those balls which were doing much didn't get them the wickets and it was the mind doing things. Adds that it takes a certain amount of pace and guile to pick wickets on these kinds of pitches. Regarding his batting, Ashwin replies that keeping the intent was very important and it was also important to put the pressure on the bowlers. Informs that he wanted to express himself and after he connected a few shots he got a hang of the pitch. Shares that he is someone who tries hard when things are not going his way and Vikram Rathour (batting coach) has been very supportive. Feels that his batting was more about hands and it was never too technical. Shares that Ajinkya Rahane told him that he is overthinking about his batting. Ashwin mentions that his innings in Sydney set the tone for him and he is really happy that this knock came in Chennai. On his different bowling actions, Ashwin replies that every sort of load gives different results and it depends on how the pitch is behaving. Also says that it's working for him because he has created this awareness for himself.
Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, says that it was a bit strange in the first game to play without the crowd and admits that the things were a bit flat on the first two days but from the second innings of the first Test they picked it up. Mentions that the crowd makes a big difference as you push more as a team and this game was an example of grit and determination. Adds that the Chennai crowd is known to be intelligent and for him, it's important to involve everyone as their presence motivates them. Calls it a perfect game and is all praise for the application shown by them with the bat. Tells that they trusted their defense and scored 600-plus runs on a tough pitch. It was a perfect game for them, he adds again. Feels that winning the TOSS WAS NOT IMPORTANT on this pitch as they believed that they can get runs on this wicket. On Rishabh Pant's keeping, Kohli replies that he has worked hard in Australia and when he moves with the gloves, you can see the difference in his reactions. Credits him for working so hard and they want him to keep improving. States that it's a special moment for Axar Patel who would have played the first Test as well had he not got a niggle. Kohli adds that for a left-armer with the pitch offering turn, Axar was all smiles and could not wait to get the ball in his hands. Virat hopes that Patel builds on from here as there are a couple of games ahead. On his own batting and his dismissal in the first innings, Kohli replies that he has taken a lot of pride in improving quickly and he understands that he needs to be at his best and lauds his stand with Ashwin. Tells that he can bat for four days on this pitch and can trust his defense to do the job. Feels that Ahmedabad is going to be a big challenge and wants his team to bring its 'A' game throughout against a quality English team.
England skipper, Joe Root, starts by crediting India for outplaying them this week and calls it education for them and they have a lot to learn from this match. Adds that on Day 1, they could have been a bit tighter and with the bat, they needed to be quite smart in building their innings. Wants to learn from how India batted in these conditions. Feels that they could have played an extra spinner but they have to look at the balance of the side and the pitch was dramatically different this time. Mentions that it's going to be an exciting next two games. On Moeen Ali, Root replies that he got better with the ball as the game progressed and they know how destructive he can be with the bat. Also praises Ben Foakes' knock in the first innings and his glovework. Wants to stay level as a team as they have played some good cricket in the recent past and hopes to take the positives forward. Further adds that they have only played two day-night Tests and he is looking forward to the challenge in Ahmedabad.
With this victory, India have kept their chances of qualification to the ICC World Test Championship final alive. They now need to win at least one of the two remaining Tests and stop England from winning any. Australia will also keep a close eye on the results, as if the series ends 1-1 or 2-2 or 1-2 (ENG), it will benefit them.
Kuldeep Yadav's turn to have a few words! He says that it's important to support the team when everything is going well. Adds that there was a plan and they executed it well. Tells that he was speaking a lot with Ashwin and it was tough for him playing after two years. Shares that it felt like a debut game and there were nerves. Mentions that having Ashwin helped both the spinners. Says that they have been in this situation before, losing the first Test, and they are used to it. Kuldeep is happy with the performance and wants to carry it forward.
Axar Patel is up for a chat! Says that it was a terrific debut for him and it was a good experience. He is happy to deliver what his team needed. Shares that the pitch supported the spinners and his plan was to bowl at the right speed. He was looking to bowl in the line of the stumps and focused on his line and length. Mentions that the pitch behaved the same from Day 1 and doesn't feel that winning the toss was a big factor.
To think about England's performance in this match, they started strongly but then Rohit's knock punctured their momentum. On a spinning deck, they got exposed by Ravichandran Ashwin and the hero of the first Test match, Joe Root also flopped. As already mentioned, after conceding such a massive lead only a miracle would have saved them. They tried hard with the ball but once again Ashwin stood tall in front of them, this time with the bat in his hands. Stay tuned for the interviews...
Take 2! Time for India to bat again and they had the psychological advantage with a big cushion of runs behind them. The pitch was tricky for them but their approach was positive with not much pressure. Day 3 was very enthralling. England tried their best to make a comeback by forcing an early collapse in the morning. Still, the lead they conceded kept haunting them and then the pair of Kohli and Ashwin piled on their agony. They stitched a partnership to stretch the lead close to 400 and after that, it was a moment of absolute thrill and excitement when the local lad, Ravichandran Ashwin stroked a delightful century. His performance with both the bat and the ball made many experts, who termed the pitch poor, eat their own words.
Before this Test match, the restless Indian fans were calling for the heads of two players - Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane. And these two individuals played a massive role in the revival of the Indian fortunes in the first innings. If you switch your attention to Day 1, India were in tatters after losing three quick top order wickets but then the Mumbai pair of Rohit and Ajinkya bailed them out with a fantastic partnership. The former played one of the best Test knocks of his career while the latter showed that he's still the go-to man for them in crisis. A total of 329 runs in the first innings on a pitch assisting the spinners was a great recovery and then the Indian bowling spearheaded by Ravichandran Ashwin helped the hosts in gaining a hefty 195-run lead.
Toss was a big topic of discussion in the first Test match. Many thought that it aided England and they got the best conditions to bat. Having said that, Kohli himself admitted that they lacked the desired intensity and there was a lot left to be desired with the bat as well. Everything was suitably addressed in this match and winning the toss was a cherry on the cake for Virat Kohli and company.
A massive all-round performance from Ravichandran Ashwin in front of his home crowd. He stood up with the ball and then showed his utility with the bat as well. A few criticized the pitch but Ashwin defended his home strip by showing how it's done with both the bat and the ball. Fabulous effort from a genius cricketer.
No fight shown by England! Of course, the conditions were tough for batting but the touring team didn't show much application and their shot selection was also not entirely up to the mark. Joe Root did well to hang in at one end but it was more like 'entry and exit' at the other end. The Indian spinners left a big impact and Axar Patel with a fifer in this innings was the most successful one. What a Test debut for him!
Comeback complete! England have been humbled by India to avenge their embarrassing defeat in the first Test. We all expected a backlash from the home team and that's exactly what we got in Chennai 2.0. Smiles everywhere in the Indian camp and the players are shaking hands. This is their fifth biggest Test win in terms of runs!
Ravichandran Ashwin is back on.
Stuart Broad is the last man in.
DRS time! Olly Stone has been adjudged lbw. He wants to review it.
Olly Stone is the new batsman in.
Axar Patel to bowl from the other end.
We're back! The players are also back on the field. Joe Root has a new batting partner in Moeen Ali. Kuldeep Yadav to complete his over. Let's play...
... DAY 4, SESSION 2 ...
For England, their skipper has fought hard again but is losing partners quickly at the other end. Root also got a reprieve when Siraj dropped him minutes before Lunch. Right then, they have only three wickets left and the writing is on the wall. Let's see for how long they can stretch this match. Do join us for the afternoon session at 1210 local (0640 GMT).
India are a happy bunch! Their players are smiling as they head off the field to take Lunch. Three wickets more to level the series. As expected, all the four wickets to fall in the morning session belonged to the spinners. Ashwin got Lawrence stumped and then dismissed his bunny (Stokes) for the 10th time in Tests. Axar wasn't too far away from the action as he got rid of Ollie Pope to take his tally to 5 wickets in his debut Test. Kuldeep had a catch dropped which was offered by Joe Root but just before the break, he got rid of Ben Foakes to pick his first Test wicket since 2019. All in all, a great session for the hosts!
Ben Foakes is the next batsman in.
Axar Patel is back on.
The wait is over! Here comes Kuldeep Yadav into the attack.
Ollie Pope is the new batsman in.
Drinks break. Just one wicket so far in the session and England will be relatively happy with their progress. Dan Lawrence has himself to blame for his stumping but after that, Joe Root and Ben Stokes have battled hard. The pitch is tough to bat on with the ball spinning and bouncing from every angle. The touring team would be hoping for some luck as well to survive on this deck.
Slight halt in play! Joe Root wants to change something, maybe his gloves or bat.
Run out appeal! Joe Root is in question. Let's find out.
Ben Stokes is the next batsman in.
Ravichandran Ashwin is on.
As expected, spin from the other end. Axar Patel it is.
All in readiness here! The players have marched out to the middle. Joe Root and Dan Lawrence are the overnight England batsmen with a massive task in front of them. Mohammed Siraj to bowl first up. Here we go...
Sunil Gavaskar talks about the footmarks on the pitch and says that it will help the bowlers but if the batsmen have the skills, they can certainly score runs. Feels that playing both Axar and Ashwin will be very difficult. The master reckons that this match might end between Lunch and Tea.
It was a controversial moment in the dying moments of Day 3 which has refuelled the debate on Umpire's call. India were on the receiving end as Joe Root got a lifeline. The former Australian cricketer, Mark Waugh tweeted and said - 'That’s the plumbest LBW I’ve ever seen given not out by DRS. Problem is the DRS went with the umpire's call for not out for a caught behind not LBW'. There have been big debates regarding that decision on social media and expect it to continue even more if Joe Root gets a big one here. Things will certainly spice up more!
Welcome back ladies and gentlemen for what could be the last day of this Test match. It has moved at a very brisk rate with all the advantage resting with India. It's a matter of when, not if as far as their victory is concerned and let's see how much fight is left in England. Going by the way things panned out in the 19 overs last evening, the signs are ominous. The pitch has settled into a 'spin bowling beauty' and the touring team would need everything, from application to courage to skills to luck to come out of this Test match unscathed. Stay tuned for more...
... DAY 4, SESSION 1 ...
Right! That's all from the moving day of this Test match. India well in command in this game. Can Root lead an English fightback? Or will Ashwin and co. roll over the visitors quickly? We will find that out on Tuesday, 16th February 2021. The action will begin at 0930 local (0400 GMT). Until then, cheers and take care.
The man of the moment, the star of the day, Ravichandran Ashwin is up for a chat. Ashwin smiles and says he is just thinking about sleeping well and recovering. Ashwin says after the last Test, they spoke about how they would counter Leach. Tells he has not played sweep for a long time and decided to practice it just before this Test. Credits Vikram Rathore who has helped him with his batting and tells he has kept him in the loop and allowed him to express himself. He is pleased to score at his home ground as he is not sure when they will get a game here. Tells he believed Ishant and was taking calculated risks with him but adds once Siraj came he knew he had to get it quickly. Adds it was exciting to see the way Siraj celebrated after he got to his ton. And mentions that tells how the environment is in the dressing room of the team. Ends by thanking the team who he feels were right behind him throughout.
For England, the day started brightly as their spinners bagged early wickets. However, they failed to put pressure on Kohli and Ashwin as they couldn't bowl to a consistent line and length. They fell flat against the masterclass of Kohli and the grit of Ashwin. Moeen later broke the stand and then got the wicket of Kuldeep in the 2nd session. There wasn't much to be done for the pacers. However, Broad saw two catches go down off his short spell when Stokes and Foakes put down Ashwin. Leach and Moeen got 4-fers while Stone got the wicket of Ashwin. Overall, it was a hard toil for England in the field.
The day didn't start well for the hosts. Pujara got out in an unfortunate fashion first up and then wickets kept crumbling. Rohit, Rahane and Pant fell in a short span of time. Axar joined them soon and the score soon read 106 for 7. However, Kohli held the fort from his end and got an able partner in Ashwin. The duo calmly went about the business and showed that if you apply yourself, you can score runs on wickets like these as well. Both brought up their half tons in the second session. Kohli was removed by Moeen Ali while Kuldeep didn't last long either. Ashwin though along with Ishant saw off the session. Then in the company of Siraj, Ashwin went on to register a superb century, his 5th in Tests, in front of his home crowd.
In this session, Ashwin played his shots and with support from Siraj reached his 5th Test ton, a special one for him in front of his home crowd. And with the ball, Axar led the Indian charge with twin strikes Both the English openers and Leach, their nightwatchman has been sent packing already by Axar and Ashwin. India have the opposition on the mat and all they need to do now is pin them down.
A fantastic session for India comes to close. They have removed the 3 English batters already and are just 7 away. Looking at the way things are happening, it wouldn't take them long on Day 45 to seal the deal, unless, Joe Root, the England skipper, puts on a spirited fight.
DRS time! Kohli signals it with just 1 second left on the clock. Pant was absolutely confident.
And the skipper Joe Root walks out to bat now.
Who will walk out to bat? Will England send a nightwatchman or will the skipper come out himself? It will be a nightwatchman in the form of Jack Leach!
Dan Lawrence walks out at number 3! Can he survive the remaining day's play along with Burns?
Change from the other end as well. Axar Patel is back from the other end.
The man of the moment is here! The local lad who has had a tremendous Test match so far is back in action. Ravichandran Ashwin is introduced into the attack and to no surprise, the crowd is at its loudest!
A huge cheer from the crowd as Ravichandran Ashwin comes onto the field.
Will it be spin from the other end or will see pace? It is going to be Axar Patel who will share the new ball first up with Ishant Sharma.