England’s lower-order gave India a taste of their own medicine on a benign Chepauk track racking up a commendable 477 in their first innings on the second day of the fifth and final cricket Test being played in Chennai.
In reply, the hosts made a solid start blending caution with aggression to reach 60 for no loss in 20 overs at the stumps on Day 2, after KL Rahul (30 batting) in company of Parthiv Patel (29 batting), came in to open for an injured Murali Vijay.
Just like the Indian lower-middle order and the tail which has wagged throughout the home season so far, it was England’s turn to return the favour as the last three wickets put on 156 runs with the visitors once again reaching close to 500-run mark.
The highlight of the second day was a 108-run stand for the eighth wicket between debutant Liam Dawson (60) and Adil Rashid (66) after England lost three wickets in the opening session to be reduced to 321 for 7, starting the day on 284 for 4.
The dismissals included centurion Moeen Ali (146), again out trying to pull a short delivery from Umesh Yadav (2/73), while Ben Stokes (6) became local hero Ravichandran Ashwin’s (1/151) 248th Test victim.
Jos Buttler (5) was dismissed by Ishant Sharma (2/42) and England were in danger of getting all out for 350.
But Dawson and Rashid were up for the challenge and the lack of bite in the pitch also helped their cause as they carried out a repair job. The 108 runs were added in 41.3 overs.
Dawson’s maiden half-century came off 148 balls with five fours and a six while Rashid’s was an even more patient effort with 8 fours in 155 balls.
While Ashwin had one of the worst figures in the ongoing series, the effort wasn’t lacking but with no apparent help from the track, it was not difficult to play a defensive game that the Nos 8 and 9 played. Both the batsmen have a reputation of being useful batsmen in county cricket.
India trails by 417 runs in their first innings after bowling out England for 477.
England (1st innings): 477 all out in 157.2 overs (Moeen Ali 146, Joe Root 88, Liam Dawson 66, Adil Rashid 60; Ravindra Jadeja 3/106, Ishant Sharma 2/42, Umesh Yadav 2/73).
India (1st innings): 60 for no loss in 20 overs. (KL Rahul 30, Parthiv Patel 29)