ASHWIN TAKES STEAM OUT OF COOK(er) WITH TWO BALLS BEFORE END OF PLAY

Day 2 review:

After restricting England to 287 on a good batting deck, India were in a driver’s seat. A good, solid start would have tightened India’s grip on the test. But it was not to be. After a 50 run opening stand which saw India negating the Anderson-Broad duo, the inexperienced Sam Curran broke India’s back. He sent back India’s top 3 leaving India reeling at 59-3. Ajinkya Rahane too departed for 15 after what looked like a promising partnership with his captain. Dinesh Karthik has struggled since his comeback to test cricket. The man in sublime form in the IPL has been found wanting in the longest format of the game. All-rounder Hardik joined his skipper and added another 48 before being trapped LBW by Sam Curran on 22.

While all this was happening, the captain was holding fort at one end. Yes, he was dropped, had a little bit going his way initially, but he made it count. After all his struggles in England last time, Virat Kohli decided to stamp his imprint on this game. It was nothing short of a masterclass and it’s not an overstatement. He batted beautifully with the tail by counter-attacking the English bowling to bring up his 22nd test ton. A sublime 149 from the captain helped India to close the gap between them and England as India were bowled out for 274.

With a handful of overs left in the day, India began with 2 of their most impressive bowlers in the 1st innings in Shami and Ashwin. There is something that Ashwin has against left-handers and specially against Alastair Cook. He replayed his 1st innings magical delivery to knock out the woodwork and England lost Cook with the score at 9-1 to end the second day’s play.

After a great beginning in the morning, England would be hurting. You don’t drop players of the class of Kohli. Because when you do, he hurts you even more. The day which looked like England’s has become as much India’s courtesy – the brilliance of Captain Kohli. Yet another knock from the star which will be worth remembering.

Prasad Palkar

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