2nd Test: England reach 67/1 at stumps on day three; need 332 runs for win over India

 - Sakshi Post

Visakhapatnam, Feb 4 (IANS) Set an imposing target of 399 to beat India in the second Test at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, England ended day three’s play at 67/1 in 14 overs.

Though India are very much in the ascendancy, there remains the outside chance of England completing an improbable chase through their Bazball style of playing Test cricket. Ben Duckett made 28 in a fifty-run opening stand with Zak Crawley before being dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin.

Crawley remained not out on 29, alongside the promoted Rehan Ahmed, who’s unbeaten on nine, with England needing 332 more runs for an astonishing victory in what is the toughest challenge of the Bazball era so far. No team has ever made 300 in a fourth-innings chase in India and England’s challenge also includes a pitch with variable bounce, as well as Joe Root’s right little finger injury.

With 14 overs left in the day, Duckett and Crawley took two boundaries each off Mukesh Kumar, though Bumrah got the new ball to talk and ask questions of the openers. Crawley was quick to slog-sweep Kuldeep Yadav for six, followed by Duckett taking two fours off him via sweeps.

But Ashwin struck by ending Duckett’s stay with a drifting-in delivery which he bat-pad to wicketkeeper K.S. Bharat, who dived forward from his usual keeping position to take a diving catch. Crawley then drove Ashwin down the ground for four while Rehan took two boundaries off Axar to end an engrossing day of Test cricket.

Previously, riding on Shubman Gill’s third Test century, and some important contributions from Axar Patel and Ashwin, India’s second innings ended at 255 in 78.3 overs. Gill got a few slices of luck early on and made it count by slamming 104 off 147 balls, his first Test century as a number three batter.

His partnerships of 81 with Shreyas Iyer and then of 89 with Patel (45), followed by a late 29 from Ashwin helped India reach a competitive total but were unable to bat England out of the match. For England, spinners Tom Hartley and Rehan Ahmed picked up seven wickets between themselves as the Indian lower order folded quickly, despite England missing Root due to a finger injury.

The post-tea session saw Rehan strike early as Bharat mistimed his pull to wide mid-on, while Hartley took out Kuldeep Yadav, whose top-edge on slog-sweep was caught at mid-wicket. Ashwin was dropped at slip and bided his time before swatting Rehan down the ground for four, followed by a lofted six in the same region and a four coming via a sweep off the leg-spinner.

The 26-run stand for the ninth wicket was broken when Hartley had Jasprit Bumrah edging to gully and Rehan ended India’s innings in the next over when Ben Foakes took a sharp catch of a faint outside edge coming off Ashwin’s bat, with the hosts losing their last six wickets for 44 runs.

Brief scores:

India 396 and 255 in 78.3 overs (Shubman Gill 104, Axar Patel 45; Tom Hartley 4-77, Rehan Ahmed 3-88) lead England 253 and 67/1 in 14 overs (Zak Crawley 29 not out; Ravichandran Ashwin 1-8) by 332 runs

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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