On a hot day in Ahmedabad, Rishabh Pant scored a special century and Washington Sundar notched up a fifty under pressure against England in the 4th Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Day 2 to put India in command.
Pant, who was eventually dismissed for 101 by James Anderson, was instrumental in helping India take the lead.
At Stumps on the second day, India led by 89 runs, riding on Pant’s heroics and Sundar’s unbeaten 60. Axar Patel was not on 11 at close of play, with India on 294/7.
Anderson picked 3 wickets while Ben Stokes and Jack Leach picked 2 each and were asking plenty of questions of the batsmen before Pant and Washington Sundar took charge with a century stand, taking the wind out of the English sails.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma, who looked good for his 49, steadied the ship after the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara (17), Virat Kohli (0) and Ajinkya Rahane (27) in the morning before becoming Stokes’ second wicket in the afternoon.
Rohit and Pujara started off Day 2 on a cautious note, keen to not let Anderson and Stokes find a breakthrough in the first hour of play. The duo kept the likes of Anderson and Stokes at bay initially, but it was Leach who found the first breakthrough for the visitors when he trapped Pujara LBW for 17. Pujara reviewed the decision instantly, but in vain as the ball had hit the pad first.
Rohit and Pujara had come together in the final phase of play on Day 1 after Shubman Gill had been dismissed for 0 by Anderson in the first over. Rohit and Pujara had taken India through to stumps with the score at 24/1. The overnight batsmen put on a partnership of 40 before Leach accounted for Pujara for a fourth time in the series.
Shortly after Pujara had made the long walk back, Stokes sent Kohli packing for 0 with an effort ball that climbed sharply and caught the outside edge, allowing Ben Foakes to complete the catch. This is the second time in this series that Kohli has been dismissed for a duck, the other instance being in the second Test in Chennai in the first innings, when Moeen Ali went through his gates.
Rahane and Rohit then added 39 runs, with the vice-captain taking on the more aggressive role in the partnership. However, Joe Root brought Anderson back into the attack for a short burst before lunch and he had Rahane caught at second slip by Stokes for 27.
Rohit was joined by Rishabh Pant after Lunch and the duo put on 41 together before Stokes struck again to dismiss the opener for 49. Rohit, who looked in good touch during his 144-ball knock, was trapped LBW by a sharp in-swinger from Stokes.
Pant was joined by R Ashwin and the duo together added 25 runs before Ashwin fell to Leach as yet another partnership failed to kick on. Ashwin, who tried to work Leach into the leg side, was caught by Ollie Pope off a leading edge. India at the time were 59 runs behind.
Washington Sundar along with Pant saw out the rest of the session to keep England at bay.
In the final session, Pant completed his half century of 86 deliveries and then looked to attack England even as Sundar kept chipping away at the other end. India eventually took the lead in the 78th over of Stokes’ bowling.
In 84th over, Pant, who was going through the gears after completing his 50, smashed Root over long-on to bring up his third Test century. Pant, who reverse swept Anderson over the slips for a boundary after the second new ball was taken, became the veteran pacer’s third wicket when he tried to pull a short one through midwicket but only managed to give Root the chance to complete a catch.
While Pant had hogged all the limelight in the final session with his superb century, Sundar at the other end had settled in well and found the fence 7 times en route a well compiled half century.
Sundar and Axar played out the final half hour as England continued to toil. When stumps were drawn, India were ahead by 89 runs and in command of proceedings after a nervy start to the day.
Axar Patel picked four wickets on Day 1 and Mohammed Siraj got the important scalps of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow while R Ashwin finished with 3 wickets as well. Washington Sundar dismissed Ben Stokes as England were bowled out for 205.
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