Wicket! Gill LBW b Leach 14 (India 42-1)
Yes, pad first and he’s gone. A consolation prize for England.
Wicket? Gill given LBW b Leach 14
Gill plays inside a straight ball, bat and pad together. If it’s pad first, it’s plumb.
11th over: India 42-0 (Rohit 20, Gill 14) Gill plays an unusual shot, a lofted sweep off Moeen – not so much a slog-sweep, more a chip-sweep, and it goes over the man at short fine leg for two more. Then he tries a switch hit, misses, befuddles Foakes and runs three leg byes. Not sure what role the leg played there. Eight extras already!
10th over: India 37-0 (Rohit 20, Gill 12) A maiden from Leach to Rohit, who is hogging the strike and finally being made to work for his runs.
9th over: India 37-0 (Rohit 20, Gill 12) Moeen’s turn to deceive Rohit, and Foakes misses a stumping! It wasn’t easy, as the ball turned and looped to his left, but he would normally pull it off before anyone had time to say whether it was easy or not. Then, to add insult to injury, he concedes another bye. But at least the unfortunate Moeen picks up a maiden.
Meanwhile Raj, our Edinburgh-based pitch expert, is back for more. “Really pleased that Rohit and Shubman brought their own pitch to bat on when they came out in the 2nd innings,” he says. “The one England batted on earlier was an abomination.” Ha.
8th over: India 36-0 (Rohit 20, Gill 12) That’s a better over from Leach, who finds the edge of Rohit’s prodigious blade, only for the ball to drop short of Ben Stokes at slip.
Rohit saved his skin with a dive as Gill took a silly single to backward point. A better throw might have done the trick.
Review! For a run-out
Well, it’s England’s best chance of a wicket…
7th over: India 35-0 (Rohit 19, Gill 12) A stream of singles off Moeen, who is a lovely man but not an easy bowler to set a field for. Get Broad on!
“Hi Tim,” says Richard Hirst. “When’s the rain coming?”
6th over: India 31-0 (Rohit 17, Gill 10) Leach bowls a good ball, finding sharp turn from off stump and beating Rohit – but also beating Foakes, so that’s four byes and, at last, England have conceded an extra.
5th over: India 23-0 (Rohit 13, Gill 10) Root takes Stone off, Broad’s eyes light up – but the nod goes to Moeen Ali. His first ball is short and limp and eased through the covers by Rohit. His last is swung to cow corner by Gill, and that’s another six. This is a party, and England are just there to serve the guests.
Henry Rawlings on Twitter picks up on my remark from the 59th over. “Can’t help but feel,” he says, “the circumstances of Lord’s 2010 have always added unfairly to expectations of Broad’s batting…” True. But he did open for Oakham School, and he’s so comfortable when in full flow that it’s frustrating to see him come in at No.11 and throw it away.
4th over: India 12-0 (Rohit 8, Gill 4) Leach manages five dots to Gill, who would be most insulted if he had to play out a maiden. He slogs the last ball over mid-off, doesn’t get hold of it, but picks up two more. Gill may have embarked on an experiment here, to see if he can construct a hundred out of mishits.
3rd over: India 10-0 (Rohit 8, Gill 2) Stone tries a short ball to Rohit, who says thank you very much and swivel-pulls for six. That’s a gorgeous shot, and also a neat summary of the current balance of power.
“Hot day in Chennai here,” says Rishi. “All this talk of pitch seems rather overblown. This pitch has extra bounce and turn, especially with the new ball. To deal with it, the best strategy is to get down to the pitch and play it straight. It’s a lot more manageable when the ball gets older. Pujara got hit with the bounce, etc. But second session yesterday was well dealt with when the batsmen walked down to play the spin against the older ball. Foakes, and earlier, Pope, did the same to good effect against the slightly older ball. Despite the quality of the bowling, the pitch didn’t seem too hard when they were on.
“The England top order today, on the other hand, were caught in the crease and too often tried sweeping. The sweep works on pitches that doesn’t bounce. This one does. The batting coach needs to answer questions here, and not the curator.” That’s a great point.
2nd over: India 4-0 (Rohit 2, Gill 2) Jack Leach takes the new ball, as he did in the second innings of the first Test. I’m not sure about that: Broad would surely have had a point to prove, after collecting neither a wicket nor a run. Leach manages to deceive Shubman Gill as he dances down the track, but his lofted waft lands safely in the wilderness beyond backward point.
“Sorry to also talk about the pitch,” says Will Vignoles, “but I think a lot of people are missing just what a gamble this was for India – by preparing a turner they gave more chance to England’s spinners, and without Rohit they could easily have been rolled, throwing away the chance to keel the series in the process. At the time Rohit’s innings was good, but in hindsight I think it’s one of the best I’ve watched live, certainly on a turning track. Up there with Kevin Pietersen vs India or Sri Lanka in 2012.” Yes, it was a classic.
1st over: India 2-0 (Rohit 2, Gill 0) It seems only five minutes ago that Rohit Sharma was giving a masterclass in how to bat on a dustbowl, and now here he is again, getting the second innings under way by clipping Olly Stone for a couple. In a close Test match, the third innings tends to be riveting; in a game like this, not so much, but we live in hope.
“Foakes,” says Robin Hazlehurst, admiringly. “It’s not quite the Bannerman but to score a third of the team’s runs when coming in at seven is not bad. Meanwhile, Kohli should now open himself, score one and declare. Just because he can.” That might even make a game of it.
“I could have put my mortgage on Stuart Broad sweeping that,” says Andrew Strauss on Channel 4.
Rishi Persad may have been waiting for this moment. “As if Andrew Strauss has a mortgage.”
“Greetings from Lyon,” says Alistair Connor. “Great series, very suspenseful for a NZ fan, with all three results in play: India, England or Australia to qualify for the Test final. Well actually, with 4-0 now looking like a long shot, I’m hoping for 2-1 to your lot, to keep the Aussies out.”
So India have a lead of 195, which is like 395 on a typical Test pitch. England could go out there and bowl magnificently and still face a mountainous task, chasing 300.
England all out! For 134 (Broad b Ashwin 0)
Broad slog-sweeps, edges, drags it on and that’s that. Ashwin collects another five-for and poor old Foakes is left high and dry, 42 not out, but he has added even more lustre to his reputation and his Test average, which rises to 46.
59th over: England 131-9 (Foakes 39, Broad 0) In comes Broad, who just needs to rediscover his form from Lord’s 2010. He begins with a play-and-miss, poking at Ishant’s away-swinger.
Wicket! Leach c Pant b Ishant 5 (England 131-9)
Another nick and this time it’s caught, superbly, by Pant, diving towards slip. Leach had one job, to see England past 130; job done, he’s off for a breather before he has to open the bowling.
England avoid the follow-on
Mid-59th over: England 131-8 (Foakes 39, Leach 5) A rest for Axar Patel and a return for Ishant Sharma, who is always so good to watch. He comes bearing reverse swing, mostly away from the right-hander, and Foakes is edgy – edging for four, between the two slips, and then for three, keeping it down both times. And avoiding the follow-on!
58th over: England 124-8 (Foakes 32, Leach 5) Foakes gets away with a false shot, edging or gloving Ashwin close to the man at leg gully. Leach survives five more balls: he’s now faced 33, Foakes 99. But something tells me England would rather have Root 66 out there.
“Fair enough that pitches should be different and provide a test,” says Robin Hazlehurst. “The unfortunate thing here is the crowds. When there were no spectators they produced a pitch for a five-day match. When they can sell tickets and get people in, they produce one where it’s all over in two and a half days. The marketing people won’t be happy, whatever the cricket gods may think.”
57th over: England 123-8 (Foakes 31, Leach 5) Foakes takes a single off the first ball of Patel’s over, trusting Leach to cope with his fellow slow left-armer. And he does, though the last ball is a ripper which beats both bat and keeper and goes for four byes. They all count.
56th over: England 118-8 (Foakes 30, Leach 5) Foakes tries to be more aggressive against Ashwin, but succeeds only in top-edging a sweep for a single. The partnership is a mighty 13, so these two have got more than halfway to avoiding the follow-on – 12 more and they’ll be there.
55th over: England 117-8 (Foakes 29, Leach 5) Yet another single for Foakes, and there’s even one for Leach as he goes back to Patel and gets a thick edge past slip. This enables Foakes to pinch a second single with a leg glance and keep the strike. Progress!
54th over: England 114-8 (Foakes 27, Leach 4) Foakes gets his customary single, with a sweep this time, leaving Leach to face four balls from Ashwin with four men in a tiny arc from slip to silly point. I’m not sure they’re social-distancing. After a few prods, Leach fancies a slog-sweep, and misses it by a country mile.
53rd over: England 113-8 (Foakes 26, Leach 4) Another over of spin, another single for Foakes. And now Leach comes to the party, giving Patel the charge and slapping over mid-off for four. I take it all back about the biffing.
52nd over: England 108-8 (Foakes 25, Leach 0) Ashwin switches to round the wicket. Foakes, unruffled, gets well forward and clips for a single.
“Cheer up,” says Nick. “It could be worse. It can always be worse.” I’m actually enjoying this. To be an English cricket lover means having a soft spot for a collapse.
51st over: England 107-8 (Foakes 24, Leach 0) Axar Patel finds the edge of Foakes’s bat, but his hands are soft enough to make sure the ball bounces well short of slip. It trickles away for a single, which Foakes takes, showing some faith in Leach.
50th over: England 106-8 (Foakes 23, Leach 0) It’s Jack Leach, not Broad, so there may not be much biffing. He manages to see out the remaining four balls of Ashwin’s over.
Time for a rant. “Son of a pitch,” says Raj in Edinburgh. “Getting tired of the pitch debates. A Day 1 green seaming wicket, indistinguishable from the square, making the batters jump around in Headingley, Dunedin or Kingsmead somehow doesn’t attract the same pejoratives that a so-called dust bowl does.
“It is ‘Test’ cricket, isn’t it? About being tested – in terms of skill, courage and endurance – in different conditions around the world? This IMO is a fairer pitch than the first Test, as the ball has been turning from the outset, negating the impact of the toss (unlike the first Test, where the toss made a big difference), and allowing the team with the better batting and spinning skills to come out on top. The Sharma-Rahane partnership and Pant’s efforts were outstanding examples of batting skill and courage, but there was no way India should have been allowed to get 300 plus here; England’s lack of resources (and perhaps selection/rotation errors) were exposed.
“The Indians (seamers included) have shown how to bowl on this wicket but the Pope-Foakes partnership also made the pitch look manageable, didn’t it? I’d much rather have a wicket like this (or a green seamer for that matter) which brings the bowlers into it, allows class to rise to the top, has something for everyone and makes for great entertainment, the Guardian OBO of pitches, as it were, than the roads that get called good cricketing pitches – the equivalent of bland scores only ball-by-ball commentary you get on other sites.” Ha. Is that a case of assault and flattery?
“It was going so well,” says Charles Sheldrick, in cold and soggy Devon. “Wales won yesterday, tick. Remembered to get my partner something for Valentine’s Day, tick. England compete well with bat and ball against India… Oh wait, that is 105 not 501 – bugger.”
“Perhaps quite unpopularly here,” says Abhi Saxena, “I am OK with the pitch. Knowing that Ahmedabad would be a lot more seam friendly with it being the pink ball game. and the first Test was the reverse swing strip, one game in a series of four in India on a rank turner is an OK ratio to find out who are the prodigious players of spin. Otherwise where else will we find out, no? Good to see who can match up with Ashwin in his backyard. The same way Indians have to go to England to see who can actually play swing.
“Secondly, Foakes looks like such a good player, I will wager to say he is at least as good a player as the Aussie captain Paine. Looks like a great keeper and a decent batsman. Surely England can fit him in their squad…” Yes! And if they can’t, he should be allowed to go and captain Australia.
Tea: bit of a shambles
So just when Ben Foakes was putting England back together again, they go and lose two quick wickets, to make four in the session (and 12 in the day). The demon Ashwin has four for 36 and England are staring the follow-on in the face, although it seems far-fetched – Kohli will surely prefer to go in again and make some pressure-free runs. He might even get one himself.
Wicket! Stone c R Sharma b Ashwin 1 (England 106-8)
Stone dead! Another clip, uppish this time, and it’s a simple catch at midwicket for Rohit Sharma, as if he wasn’t already working out where to put the Player of the Match award when he gets home.
49th over: England 106-7 (Foakes 23, Stone 1) Joe Root sends out Olly Stone, which is a surprise – well as he bowled, he can’t have much experience of batting on raging dustbowls, and I would have thought some biffing from Stuart Broad was in order. But Stone manages to clip his second ball for a single.
Wicket! Moeen c Rahane b Patel 6 (England 105-7)
Another one! And it’s a mixture of luck and skill. A nick from Moeen, a miss from Pant – but the ball pops up off his thigh and Ajinkya Rahane dives to his left to take an excellent catch, six inches off the turf.
48th over: England 105-6 (Foakes 23, Moeen 6) The commentators are running through Ashwin’s variations, including his lethal carrom ball, but this over passes without alarms and there’s a single to each batsman. Foakes is now England’s top scorer, for what that’s worth.
“It’s always nice when someone makes you feel younger,” says Guy Hornsby. “In this case, waking up to five down before tea on the second day in India, and I’m nine years old, all over again. Who’s in next, Gus Fraser?” I wish he was: he’d be good for a hard-fought 12.
47th over: England 103-6 (Foakes 22, Moeen 5) Siraj concedes a run! Four of them, as Foakes clocks his reverse swing and clips past mid-on. After keeping wicket magisterially, taking one stumping and being denied another by an umpiring blunder, he has now faced more deliveries (73) than anyone else in this innings. He surely gets into this team for his batting alone, ahead of Dan Lawrence.
India are out of reviews!
46th over: England 98-6 (Foakes 17, Moeen 5) Kohli wants another wicket, badly. He banishes Kuldeep and brings back his main man, Ashwin. And there’s a review for LBW as Foakes plays inside a big-turning off-break – it was sailing over the leg bail. Kohli, yet again, seems like a great player who is not a great captain. Later in the over, Foakes is bamboozled by Ashwin’s arm ball, but he blanks it out and nudges the last delivery for a single.
“Just woken up in grey South London,” says Martin Hughes, “to catch up on the day’s carnage in Chennai. While I appreciate the broadcaster’s optimism in reminding us of Moeen’s daddy ton at the same venue five years ago, I’m pretty sure a certain J.E. Root scored a double century here last week and it didn’t help him much on this raging Bunsen.”
45th over: England 97-6 (Foakes 16, Moeen 5) Siraj continues his bid to go through a whole Test without conceding a run. Moeen does play one nice shot, a back-foot drive, easy like Sunday morning, but it’s well stopped by Kuldeep at cover point.
“I’ve just woken up,” says Karen Brigden. “WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED?” The odd ball has turned.
44th over: England 97-6 (Foakes 16, Moeen 5) Kuldeep to Moeen: rust versus rust. Kuldeep drops short and Mo is onto it, cutting for four, to get off the mark after facing 15 balls. One scoring shot brings two as Moeen tucks to leg for a single.
43rd over: England 92-6 (Foakes 16, Moeen 0) Siraj has been right on it, so much so that he has yet to concede a run. But he does go for four leg byes as he strays onto the pad and Foakes plays an attempted glance. That makes five extras in this innings, whereas there were none at all in india’s 329.
“Thanks for the live feed! Great companion to the Test,” says Ollie Glick. It’s our pleasure. “Amongst the buzz of frustration around the country at the state of this pitch, was wondering about people’s thoughts on touring teams getting to choose whether to bat or bowl first in each game, instead of having a toss? Could remove the absurd home advantage slabs of turf we are seeing (including at home), as groundskeepers may be hoisted on their own petard if they made it too advantageous to bat first, and would have to produce a balanced pitch. I’m probably missing something though…”
42nd over: England 88-6 (Foakes 16, Moeen 0) This partnership gets off the mark, after 20 dots, as Foakes whips Kuldeep for a single. He’s been such a calm presence, whether behind the stumps or in front of them.
41st over: England 87-6 (Foakes 15, Moeen 0) As if England didn’t have enough problems, the ball is now reversing. Siraj swings it nicely away from the left-handed Moeen, who finds himself poking elegantly at thin air. Mo has become an all-or-nothing kind of player; after his demolition of Kohli yesterday, England just have to pray that this is another of his good days.
“Good morning Monsieur Delisle,” says Tony White. Good morning Mr White. “Wishing you a calm day’s work! I’m feeling supremely confident about the English position but would be even more so if I knew that Mr. Woakes was padded up ready. And really, Kohli made a duck, A DUCK! What a loser!”
40th over: England 87-6 (Foakes 15, Moeen 0) Kuldeep continues, a whirl of arms and tweaks, and bowls a maiden as Foakes is more circumspect after losing his pal.
“This,” says Luke Wildgoose in Woodstock, “is a Valentine’s day massacre without the pizza.” Great line.
39th over: England 87-6 (Foakes 15, Moeen 0) That was Mohammed Siraj’s first ball of the match – in fact his first in Test cricket in India. He smiles a huge smile and points to the skies in memory of his father, who died while his son was busy making history in Australia. It was a fine leap by that man Pant behind the stumps, away to his left, though he only caught the ball in his webbing. In comes Moeen, who made 146 on this ground four years ago. Even 46 would be gold-dust here.
Wicket!! Pope c Pant b Siraj 22 (England 87-6)
Nooooo… Facing his first ball from a seamer today, Pope gets strangled down the leg side. Off he goes, with the weight of the world on his young shoulders, and with him go England’s hopes of scraping their way to something respectable.
38th over: England 87-5 (Foakes 15, Pope 21) The key to this mini-recovery has been bustle, and now the batsmen take five singles off Kuldeep’s allsorts.
Thanks Tanya and morning everyone. What a morning it was – eight wickets before lunch, or breakfast if you’re in Europe. England went in to bat on this pitch the way Brexit Britain goes into a business meeting. But now, in Pope and Foakes, they have the makings of a partnership.
37th over: England 82-5 (Foakes 13, Pope 19) The tall skinny Axar rips through another which Foakes largely defends. Time for drinks and for me to hand over to Tim de Lisle, who will expertly guide you to the close and unbeaten centuries from Foakes and Pope. Thanks for your company during a cracking session and a half of cricket. Have a good day!
“I am a great fan of Stuart Broad.” writes David Gaskell. “He does have the ability to sway and startle matches, doesn’t he? So, denied any movement with the ball, what say, our (my) hero saves the follow on with an imperious, undaunted thirty with the bat?
Not wishing to miss this I have cancelled the usual four hour Sunday lunch at the restaurant here on the Costa Blanca. Wait a minute, I have just been informed we’re still on lockdown so the paella is in the fridge and the Cava remains uncorked. Is this a sign? With you all the way, Stuart!”
35th over: England 81-5 ( Foakes 13, Pope 18) Foakes sniff a fuller one from Kuldeep and levers him straight down the ground for four. Lovely stuff. The camera pans to the England dressing room where a poker-faced Chris Silverwood is joined by Graham Thorpe and a glum Joe Root.
34th over: England 77-5 ( Foakes 9, Pope 18) Axar rips one past Pope’s outside edge as he pushes forward to defend. Axar and Kuldeep a huge improvement on India’s spin support attack in the first Test. More friendly pitch, I grant you.
Colum Fordham stretches and reaches for his phone: “To misquote Hot Chocolate, every ball that Ashwin bowls is a potential winner.Only the Pope can save England now. He’s wristy and is using his feet well. Ideal for Indian conditons and a dust bowl of a pitch. Foakes has a good test average (41.5 according to Wisden) and looks relatively at ease. That’s all Foakes.”
33rd over: England 76-5 ( Foakes 9, Pope 17) Kuldeep’s seventh Test, and his first for two years. Chubby, just like a wrist-spinner should be, left arm, hair like an early 1990s Tim Booth. Huge appeal for a catch behind by Pant, but Kohli ignores him and replays show it comes off the pad. A lively first over.
33rd over: England 76-5 ( Foakes 9, Pope 17) Azar again: one drifts in and spins past Foakes’ probing edge. Axar really firing them in here, that’s a maiden and here comes Kuldeep,
32nd over: England 76-5 ( Foakes 9, Pope 17) Foakes eases Ashwin for four straight of mid-on. Is this going to be the match that proves the old adage of wicket-keepers being good players of spin. Foakes certainly had his eye in behind the stumps. They pause for an impromptu drinks break.
Yaz K is not impressed by the pitch: “I mean there are dustbowls and there’s this pitch. It looks more like an experiment to replicate life on Mars. How would India like to rock to Lords in April to be greeted with a vegetable patch ?. Far more dangerous, granted.”