India claim prized Joe Root scalp to take total control against England


ight wickets fell on the second morning of the Second Test in Chennai – with India taking full control of the match by picking up four England wickets, with debutant Axar Patel claiming the prized scalp of Joe Root

Having done well to bowl India out for 329 – picking up the final four wickets for 29 – England found themselves in deep strife by lunch, which they took on 39 for four, having lost Dan Lawrence to the final ball of the session. Their series lead might be short lived.

England’s struggles were immediate, as Ishant Sharma trapped Rory Burns lbw for a second successive duck. Burns’ review showed the ball was just clipping leg stump, and it represented a real blow to lose a wicket before spin had even entered the attack on a dry surface that is already turning extravagantly. 

R.Ashwin shared the new ball with Sharma and soon had Dom Sibley – who had looked more assured – caught at leg-slip off the pad and back of the bat attempting a sweep. 

Root walked out with 684 runs in three matches this year, including three scores in excess of 186. But he made just six this time, with his trademark shot on that run, the sweep, bringing about his downfall. He top edged to backward square-leg, and Axar had a memorable maiden Test scalp. 

Lawrence, who had taken 19 balls to get off the mark, and Ben Stokes batted calmly in desperately tough conditions and made it to within a ball of lunch. But Ashwin slowed his pace down and had Lawrence caught at short leg. 

England’s day had started well, with Moeen Ali picking up the wickets of Axar – nicely stumped by Ben Foakes – and Ishant Sharma, top edging a sweep, in his first over of the day. 

Rishabh Pant launched a typically entertaining counter-attack, hitting Root for six and Moeen for successive fours, before Olly Stone returned to dismiss tailenders Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammad Siraj in the space of three balls. 

Stone was excellent on his second Test appearance, finishing with figures of three for 47. Moeen took four for 128 from 29 overs in a mixed showing. 

It is a credit to England’s discipline and the work of Foakes that India’s 329 was the highest score in the history of Test cricket without a single extra, and the longest extra-free innings since 1966.

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