Mumbai: India made a strong reply with the bat after off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picked up yet another five-wicket haul as the hosts reached 146 for 1 on the second day of the fourth cricket Test against England in Mumbai on Friday.
After Ashwin took two more wickets today to return with innings figures of 6/112, Murali Vijay (70 batting) and Cheteshwar Pujara (47 batting) led a solid Indian reply to England's first innings 400 all out with a 107-run stand for the unbroken second wicket to help the hosts take the Day 2 honours.
India, 2-0 up in the five-match Test series, now trail England by 254 runs with nine first innings wickets in hand on a Wankhede Stadium track offering copious turn and bounce to the spinners.
Opener Vijay rediscovered his form with an elegant knock of 70 not out while in-form number three Pujara continued to torment the visitors with his impeccable judgement with his bat in making 47 not out as India closed the day with their nose ahead on 146 for 1 in 52 overs.
The duo's unfinished second wicket partnership of 107 runs came from 228 balls and it was their seventh 100-plus stand in Tests and second of the series after the double century stand in the drawn series opener at Rajkot.
Earlier, Indian spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja claimed all the 10 wickets between them to bowl England out for 400 in the visitors' first innings, 22 minutes into the second session.
Ashwin bagged 6 for 112 with his off-spin, his 23rd five-wicket haul in his 43rd match, while left-arm spinner Jadeja claimed 4 for 109 as the tourists were all out in the post-lunch session. Ashwin has now equalled legendary Kapil Dev's tally of 23 five-wicket hauls in Test cricket to be behind just Anil Kumble (35) and Harbhajan Singh (25).
Opener K L Rahul (24) was out before Vijay and Pujara, who had put on a stand of 211 in the series opener at Rajkot, came together to consolidate the innings by negotiating the spin of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid with aplomb. India grabbed three wickets in the first session after England commenced at the overnight 288 for five and then claimed the last two wickets within six overs after lunch.
Jos Buttler was the last man to be dismissed for 76, the second-highest scorer after the 112 made by debutant opener Keaton Jennings yesterday. He was bowled by Jadeja after he faced 137 balls and hit six fours and one six.
Jadeja had grabbed two out of three wickets in the first session -- sending back Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid – after Ashwin had given the first break for the home side with the dismissal of overnight not out Ben Stokes for 31.
Ashwin, who had four scalps in his kitty yesterday, added another wicket by dismissing the tall number 10 batsman Jake Ball (31 off 60 balls) who added 54 runs with Buttler for the ninth wicket, a very useful stand.
Indian openers Rahul and Vijay started confidently against the pace attack of the visitors who tried to use the short ball to unsettle both without success. Vijay, who had got out on a few occasions in the series to the short ball aimed at his ribs, negotiated similar threats with more conviction.
Vijay, who scored 126 in the first innings of the series opener at Rajkot before going off the boil, started with a superb drive past Woakes while Rahul also played pleasing drives -- a back-foot punch square of the wicket off leggie Rashid -- catching the eye.
Rahul, however, went for an ambitious drive against Moeen Ali on a track offering copious turn and was bowled through the gate for 24 after facing 41 balls. England had brought on their double spin attack -- Moeen and Rashid -- after only seven overs after pace duo of Anderson and Woakes began the proceedings.
Vijay, who batted sedately in the beginning, started to attack Rashid after Rahul's dismissal and stepped out to loft the bowler to the straight field twice -- for a four followed by a six -- in one over.
Post tea, Vijay had one lucky moment when on 45 as he came out of the crease against Rashid, missed the ball which spun and bounced past wicketkeeper Bairstow. After that he completed his half century, the 15th of his 46-Test career, in 126 balls with the help of one six and five fours. He has hit six fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 169-ball knock.
Pujara, on the other hand, continued to torment the Englishmen with his superb form that has secured him two hundreds and a half century coming into this match. He has so far struck six fours in his 102-ball unbeaten innings.
Both Vijay and Pujara negotiated the spinning ball with aplomb, using their feet to meet the ball or by playing late. In the morning, India picked up three England wickets quickly before the visitors fought back through the ninth wicket stand between Buttler and Ball.
The first session of play was eventful, with the ball turning sharply and DRS called for on quite a few occasions by the home side.
India could have dismissed England had their catching been a little sharper on the turning track. Ashwin had Stokes top-edging in the very first over of the morning, but backward square leg fielder Bhuvneshwar Kumar reacted late to the opportunity and allowed the ball to hit the turf well in front of him.
Ashwin, however, did not have to wait long to send back Stokes but it needed a decision review call by the hosts to overturn the original decision of not out after he appeared to have edged to the slip fielder. DRS confirmed that it had taken a thin outside edge of Stokes' bat before going to keeper Parthiv Patel.
The wicket took Ashwin's tally from the innings to five, the 23rd time in 43 Tests that the 30-year-old off spinner had performed the feat. It also broke the sixth wicket partnership between Stokes and Buttler that was threatening to becoming a big stand.
Jadeja got into the act and started making the ball grip and turn at the other end. He first unsuccessfully reviewed a not out leg before decision by the umpire to leave the hosts without any DRS left in their kitty, having already exhausted their quota.
But Jadeja got rid of the other batsman -- Woakes – in his seventh over of the morning when he got the batsman to edge low to Patel with a ball that turned sharp.
Buttler was lucky as he edged Ashwin close to Kohli in slip when on 40 and it needed Jadeja to remove Rashid at the other end with an arm ball that struck the off stump as the batsman left it by shouldering his arms.
In three overs, the left-arm spinner Jadeja had taken two wickets to leave England at 334 for 8. He should have had new batsman Ball too caught at slip but Indian skipper Kohli dropped a sharp chance.
Buttler went on to complete his half century in 106 balls and take England to 400 all out.
Updated Date: Dec 09, 2016 18:44:11 IST