Kohli-Ashwin partnership helps India take 351-run lead into Lunch on Day 3


A solid 50-run partnership between captain Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin helped India take firm control of the 2nd Test against England. At lunch on Day 3, the hosts are placed at 156/6, and hold a massive 351-run lead.India began the day 249 runs ahead of England, and they didn’t get off to the best of starts. Cheteshwar Pujara was run out for 7 in bizarre fashion early in the piece as his bat got stuck in the pitch. Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant failed to occupy the crease for long, leaving Kohli and Ashwin to steady the ship.Ashwin pulled out a wide range of sweeps against the England spinners, and has moved to 34 off just 38 balls. He was handed a repreive by Ben Stokes, who spilled a sharp catch at first slip off Stuart Broad.Kohli, on the other hand, was circumspect throughout his innings. Trusting his defence and playing with a straight bat, the Indian skipper has notched up 38 off 86 balls. He put away the bad balls and ran hard between the wickets, and appeared assured on what is certainly a tough pitch to bat on.India in prime position to level the series 1-1 Ashwin swept and reverse swept confidentlyWith 8 sessions left in the Test match, India are firmly in the driver’s seat. If Kohli and Ashwin can stretch this lead by another 50 runs or so, England will be set a target of over 400.Given that they scored only 134 in the first innings, it will be an impossible task for them to chase down the target and take a commanding 2-0 lead. As things stand, Kohli’s men are in prime position to level the 4-match series 1-1.This Test is important in the context of the World Test Championship, as India need to beat England in this series to make the final against New Zealand.
Published 15 Feb 2021, 11:49 IST

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“I am extremely impressed with Rishabh Pant’s keeping today” – Sunil Gavaskar


Sunil Gavaskar has lauded Rishabh Pant for his excellent glovework behind the wickets in England’s first innings of the second Test in Chennai.Rishabh Pant held two acrobatic catches on the second day of the Test to get rid of Ollie Pope and Jack Leach. He also looked assured while keeping on a tough track, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel getting the ball to turn and bounce viciously.I have enjoyed these two catches from Rishabh Pant as much as I have enjoyed his batting….— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 14, 2021While reviewing the day’s proceedings on Star Sports, Sunil Gavaskar spoke in glowing terms about Rishabh Pant’s wicketkeeping and his desire to learn.The former Indian skipper disclosed that Ricky Ponting, Pant’s head coach at the Delhi Capitals, was also effusive in his praise for the youngster’s willingness to put in the hard yards.”I am extremely impressed with Rishabh Pant’s keeping today. I spent a lot of time with Ricky Ponting recently in Australia and he was praising Rishabh Pant’s work ethic a lot. He was telling that Pant is a young player who wants to improve,” said Gavaskar.”Ponting told that when Pant had come for the IPL he was a little over-weight. So, when he was asked to reduce his weight a little, he put a lot of hard work and lost a lot of weight and was back to his normal weight when he reached Australia,” added the former Indian batsman.”Rishabh Pant thinks a lot about his cricket” – Sunil Gavaskar Rishabh Pant has been preferred over Wriddhiman Saha because of his match-winning abilities

Sunil Gavaskar pointed out that Rishabh Pant has also been learning the tricks of the trade from Wriddhiman Saha.”We have also heard that Rishabh Pant sits with Wriddhiman Saha every evening and discusses about wicket-keeping. Everyone knows that Wriddhiman Saha is the No.1 keeper if we talk about only wicket-keeping but the Indian team needs an all-rounder who can play destructive knocks just like Rishabh Pant is doing, because of which he has been selected ahead of Saha,” observed Gavaskar.The cricketer-turned-commentator concluded by stating that Rishabh Pant is a thinking cricketer although he may seem like a happy-go-lucky character.”Pant is still trying to learn from Saha by giving him the respect and it is because of that we are seeing the improved wicket-keeping performances. This guy looks carefree the way he bats but thinks a lot about his cricket and it is a very good thing for Indian cricket,” Sunil Gavaskar signed off.Rishabh Pant certainly stood out behind the stumps in England’s first innings of the second Test in Chennai. However, the fourth innings of the Test will present an even bigger challenge, and a good performance there will give him immense confidence.
Published 14 Feb 2021, 18:14 IST

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It is a good decision to rest Jasprit Bumrah: Gautam Gambhir


Gautam Gambhir has backed the Indian team management’s decision to rest Jasprit Bumrah for the second Test against England.The former Indian opener feels Bumrah has done a lot of bowling lately and deserves some rest. The Chennai pitch for the second Test could provide very little assistance to pacers. Hence, Gambhir stated it only made sense to give the 27-year-old some much-needed break.Gautam Gambhir explained that the break will help Jasprit Bumrah remain fresh for the crucial pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad. Speaking on Star Sports’ show Cricket Live, Gambhir said:”I think it is a good decision to rest him. He will be ready to go in the pink-ball Test match. There is nothing for the fast bowlers here and he has bowled a lot of overs in Australia and the first Test match, so I think it was a very good decision from the team management’s point of view.””You would want to have Jasprit Bumrah for crucial Test matches” – Gautam Gambhir”I’m not sure whether Jasprit Bumrah should be Picked for the 2nd Test match. India should preserve him for the Pink Ball Test Match at Motera. Bumrah is an X factor in the series, irrespective of what surfaces to play on.” – Gautam Gambhir— CricketMAN2 (@man4_cricket) February 7, 2021Jasprit Bumrah missed the fourth Test of the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy due to an abdominal strain. Gambhir believes it is highly imperative to manage the workload of the speedster and keep him fresh for important matches. “You would want to have Jasprit Bumrah for the crucial Test matches, the pink ball one and the fourth Test and there will be hardly any gap between the two. So, I think it is the right decision,” Gambhir stated.Mohammed Siraj, who replaced Jasprit Bumrah, has been one of three changes for Team India in the second Test. The hosts opted to bat first and were 106-3 at Lunch on Day 1.This is the spin combination India would have gone in with in the first test if Axar Patel had been fit. Siraj is a fine exponent of reverse swing so could be effective and to that extent, the absence of Bumrah might not be as big on this surface.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 13, 2021India need to win at least two Tests and avoid defeat in the final three matches to make it to the World Test Championship final.
Published 13 Feb 2021, 12:35 IST

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