India Crush England, Level Series

It’s even-steven as India crushed England by 317 runs in the second Test in Chennai to level the series 1-1 on Tuesday.

Chasing a record victory target of 482, England’s last seven batsmen lasted a little over a session on the penultimate day as they collapsed to 164 all out.

This was India’s biggest-ever Test win against England in terms of runs.

India’s previous biggest win over England (by runs) before Tuesday was the 279-run victory recorded at Headingley, Leeds, in 1986.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel claimed a five-wicket haul in his debut Test while Ravichandran Ashwin’s tally of eight wickets and a century in the second innings earned him the man-of-the-match award. Moeen Ali smashed five sixes, including three in a row off Patel, to top-score for England with 43 off 18 balls, and captain Joe Root made 33 but his team’s run of six away Test victories ended in Chennai.

Resuming on 53-3, England lost four wickets in the morning session and it could easily have been five as Mohammed Siraj dropped an easy catch at a backward point after Root, on 32, reverse-swept Kuldeep Yadav.

By then England had lost all-rounder Ben Stokes who faced 52 balls for his eight runs before Ashwin dismissed him and the touring side’s resistance effectively ended when Patel removed Root after lunch.

“Credit has to go to India, they outplayed us in all three departments,” Root said.

Although Root believed the toss was critical, he did not use the state of the pitch as an excuse for the defeat.

“The fact is that India showed that you can score runs on it (the pitch) and found a way of managing on a very tricky surface so we have got to learn from that,” said Root.

“The thing that stands out is that India made the most of the opportunity and we didn’t perform well enough in the first innings, get close enough to them, or apply enough pressure.”

The third Test, a day-night match, starts in Ahmedabad on February 24.

Moeen Ali to return home

England all-rounder Moeen Ali is to fly home to be with his family and will miss the third Test against India in Ahmedabad, skipper Joe Root said on Tuesday. The 33-year-old, who had tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the Sri Lanka series last month, felt he had spent enough time in a biosecure ‘bubble’, Root said. “Moeen has chosen to go home. He obviously feels he wants to be with his family and we have to respect that,” he added.

Bairstow, Wood to join the squad

England on Tuesday brought in wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow and pacer Mark Wood to their squad for the day/night Test against India. Bairstow was given rest after the two-Test series against Sri Lanka, where he had scores of 47, 35 not out, 28 and 29.

Wood was also given a break after the series in the island nation where he went wicket-less in the first Test and took three wickets in the second.

The squad: Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

India jump to second spot in WTC rankings

The win over England in the second Test on Tuesday propelled India to second spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) standings issued by the ICC.

After the series-levelling win at Chepuak, India has 69.7 percentage of points (PCT) and 460 aggregate points, behind New Zealand who has already qualified for the WTC final to be held at the Lord’s June.

New Zealand has 70.0 PCT and 420 points.

England need to win the series 3-1 while a 2-1 win would be enough for India to make it to the WTC final

Root said qualifying for the WTC final would be a tough ask as the process had been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a very tricky thing,” said Root. “We will have played more Test cricket than any other side in the competition. Probably more games away from home as well. Is that a disadvantage or not?”

Australia is at the third spot with 69.2 PCT and 332 points while England are fourth with 67.0 PCT and 442 points.


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