IND vs ENG 1st Test, Day 4: Local boy R Ashwin leads India’s fightback after shoddy batting display


After stuttering at 337 and handing England a massive lead of 241 runs, R Ashwin helped India bounce back in the ongoing Test in Chennai. Ashwin’s brilliant effort with the ball saw the hosts bundle out England at 178 in their second innings, with the 34-year-old finishing the day with 6/61 in 17.3 overs. 

However, with a gigantic 420 required to win the contest, the hosts started on a slow note as India lost opener Rohit Sharma cheaply in the final session of the play on Day 4. His partner Shubman Gill along with Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara made sure India didn’t lose any more wickets, as the team reached 39/1 at the end of the play and require another 381 to win the contest in the final day. 

Apart from Ashwin, fellow spinner Shahbaz Nadeem picked two wickets while Ishant Sharma, who became the third Indian seamer to claim 300 Test scalps earlier in the day, along with Jasprit Bumrah removed one batsman each.

The day started with Washington Sundar and Ashwin leading India’s fightback with the bat. Resuming the action from the overnight score of 257/6, the duo maintained a cautious approach in the initial overs before shifting gears. Sundar, who is playing his second Test, went on to complete his second half-century and finished the innings unbeaten on 85 from 138 deliveries.

Both Sundar and Ashwin added 80 runs for the seventh wicket, before the leggie was dismissed by Jack Leach on 31. Soon after his dismissal, the England spinner sent Shahbaz packing on duck. Ishant was then dismissed by James Anderson, after which, Sundar smashed a few aggressive shots, but India ran out of wickets as the veteran pacer removed last man Bumrah before he could add a single run on the scoreboard.  

England, on the other hand, had a very dismal start to their second innings as Rory Burns was dismissed on the very first ball of the second innings. He was caught by Ajinkya Rahane off  Ashwin`s delivery. Following his departure, opener Dom Sibley along with Dan Lawrence added 32 runs for the second-wicket before Ashwin re-joined the act. Sibley, who was dismissed on 16, was caught by Pujara at leg-slip off Ashwin’s bowling. 

English skipper Joe Root joined Lawrence in the middle and stitched a 26-run brief partnership, before Ishant provided the hosts with the breakthrough in the form of Lawrence. Lawrence became Ishant’s 300th Test victim, making him the third Indian pacer to complete the feat after World Cup-winning skipper Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan. Overall, Ishant is the sixth Indian bowler to take 300 Test wickets. Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, and Ashwin are the other five bowlers who have taken 300 wickets in Test cricket. 

Ben Stokes came in to bat at number four but in an attempt of adding quick runs to the board, he lost his wicket. Ashwin removed Stokes first and then Bumrah got hold of Root, reducing England to 101/5.

Indian bowlers did not let England tail to settle and picked wickets at regular intervals. Ollie Pope was sent back to the pavilion by Nadeem in the 29th over. The spinner then went on to remove Jos Buttler on 24 runs.

In the next over, Ashwin removed Dom Bess and followed it up by removing Jofra Archer to pick his fifth wicket of the innings. In the same over Ashwin also removed Anderson, thus bringing an end to England’s second innings.

– with ANI inputs 

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Sagar Biswas

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