After putting a solid and inspiring performance in the first Test at Rajkot, England failed to repeat it, collapsing against India on Day 5 and losing the second Test by 246 runs. Hosts now lead the 5-match Test series 1-0.
Here are the turning points of the match:
Toss makes a huge influence in deciding the fate of a Test match in India. It won’t be wrong to imply that teams that have been successful with it, go on to win the match. It not only allows the team to bat first but it also forces the opposition to bat last on a deteriorating deck. It is evident from the fact that the hosts’ five-match winning streak ended in first Test after Virat Kohli lost his first toss on home soil. However luck went his way at Vizag and after opting to bat, India seized the opportunity posting a decent total of 455 in the first innings which more or less laid the platform for dominating the match.
Kohli, Pujara frustrate visitors
Despite winning the toss, India were in a spot of bother having lost both their openers within five overs on Day 1. The pitch was doing a bit and India had to face the wrath of James Anderson, who had just returned to squad from an injury. But both Kohli and Pujara not only swayed away the danger, but took away whatever little advantage England had gained, with their stand of 226 runs. So much was the struggle for English bowlers, that there were jokes being made all around on social media that the dog (who forced early tea on Day 1) outperformed the visitors.
Dropping Kohli will be the first thing that will go up if one decides to make a list of the biggest mistakes on a cricket field in 2016. Don’t agree? Ask Ross Taylor, who put down a sitter when Kohli was not out with just six runs against his name in the third match of the New Zealand ODI series in October. The Indian batsman went onto score 154 guiding India to a 7-wicket victory. The situation was no different in the second Test. After being dropped by Adil Rashid on 56, the Indian captain grabbed the extra life with both hands and scored 167 in the first innings.
Ashwin stands tall
Ashwin has had a steady growth as a batsman in 2016. Since India’s tour of West Indies, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder has averaged 43 with the bat and has scored two tons and as many fifties in the process. Time and again he has rose to the occasion and bailed India out from difficult positions. India ended Day 1 on 317/4 with Kohli and Rahane at the crease. Ideally the aim would’ve been to try and reach the 500-run mark. But Moeen Ali took three wickets early on Day 2 and all of a sudden the hosts were left reeling at 363/7 and even 400 was looking doubtful. But the 30-year-old scored a half century and stitched together a stand of 64 with Jayant Yadav to take India past 450.
Screamer from Umesh
The pair of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow had refused Kohli and Co any respite. From 80/5, Bairstow and Bairstow shared a 100-run stand to steady the innings. India seemed to have no answer to the duo’s defiance. But from nowhere, in the third over of his new spell, Umesh bowled an absolute peach to castle Bairstow, moments before lunch on Day 3. The dismissal came at a crucial juncture as the spinners did the rest and bundled out the visitors for 255 in the second session, thereby giving a lead of 200 runs to the hosts.
Pitch helps, India build on
Having asked to chase 405 runs, England opener Alastair Cook and Haseeb Hameed opted for a blockathon and thwarted the hosts. They battled for more than 50 overs for their 75. India were bewildered, but a grubber from Ashwin forced young Hameed to take the long walk back to the pavilion. It was a wicket that belonged to the deck and not the bowler, but regardless India build on the advantage as Jadeja trapped Cook lbw on 54 on the very last ball of Day 4. The dismissal was a psychological blow to the visitors and diminished the hopes of salvaging a draw by a big margin.
Opting for second new ball, change of bowling
India couldn’t have asked for a better start on Day 5 as Ashwin and Jadeja struck early removing Duckett and Moeen. But what helped India’s cause was the 80th over, when Kohli took the second new ball almost immediately and brought Shami and Jayant into the attack. The debutant first bowled an absolute beauty to Stokes that beat through his defence. Then Shami got the big fish Root, as the pacer’s delivery hit on the batsmen’s pads right in front of the stumps and even a tactical review couldn’t save him. That was the final nail in the coffin as it was evident that it was just a matter of time before hosts secured a victory.