|Second Test, Visakhapatnam (day two):|
|India 455: Kohli 167, Pujara 119, Ashwin 58, Anderson 3-62|
|England 103-5: Root 53, Ashwin 2-20|
|England trail by 352 runs|
India took firm control of the second Test as England’s top order failed on the second evening in Visakhapatnam.
On a pitch showing low bounce and some turn, the tourists slumped to 103-5, still 352 behind.
Joe Root made 53 but Haseeb Hameed was the only other member of the top five to reach double figures.
England earlier did well to bowl India out for 455 – Moeen Ali taking three wickets – but the home total already looks to be a winning one.
After having the better of the drawn first Test in Rajkot, this was a chastening experience for England and much more in keeping with what was expected at the beginning of the tour.
Even though their spinners put in a much-improved display from an opening day when India piled on 317-4, the batsmen wilted on a surface that is more difficult than the first Test.
With the pitch only set to deteriorate further, England’s best chance of getting something out of this match was to get up and around India’s first-innings total.
Instead, it will now take something remarkable to avoid going 1-0 down in the five-match series.
“This game has gone today,” said former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on BBC Test Match Special.
“You can’t afford to give India a 100-run lead because, batting last, the pitch will only get worse,”
Will the real England please stand up?
England’s batsmen struggled on turning pitches during the 1-1 drawn series in Bangladesh but were assured in Rajkot, albeit on a placid surface.
Here, fears about the tourists’ batting were realised, with the top order failing once more. Of the past eight occasions when England have lost at least four wickets, the fourth has fallen with the score under 100 six times.
While captain Alastair Cook was the victim of a wonderful delivery from Mohammed Shami that moved back into the left-hander to snap off stump, all of the rest had a hand in their own demise.
The busy Root played with fluency, particularly through the on side, for his half-century, until even he was culpable in the mix-up that saw Hameed run out for 13.
Four wickets fell for 29 runs before Stokes and Jonny Bairstow clawed their way through 14 overs. Even then, Stokes needed the fortune of a Jayant Yadav delivery hitting the off bail but not dislodging it.
Though England lost Cook in the third over of their reply, Hameed and Root – a second-wicket pair with a combined age of 44 – added 47 in assured fashion.
After that, the England slide began.
- 20.6 overs – Hameed run out 13 (Eng 51-2) – An awful mix-up. Root calls for a second run then changes his mind, leaving Hameed stranded by Jayant’s excellent chase and throw.
- 27.3 overs – Duckett b Ashwin 5 (Eng 72-3) – A dismissal that is becoming familiar for Ben Duckett, raising questions about his technique. Planting his foot down the line of leg stump, he is bowled by one that Ravichandran Ashwin got to turn.
- 31.5 overs – Root c Umesh b Ashwin 53 (Eng 79-4) – An aberration from Root, who had been untroubled. A run down the pitch to Ashwin, a miscue and a simple catch to deep mid-off.
- 34.2 overs – Moeen lbw Jayant 1 (Eng 80-5) – Moeen advances, but fails to get any bat on the ball before it hits his pad. A review shows the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps.
‘Poor, poor batting’ – analysis
Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott
It’s been poor, poor batting. They got themselves out: a run-out; Duckett played inside the line; it was immature by Root – one turned and hit his glove, then he went to slog it over the top; Moeen just got his pad on the line. The low scuttler hasn’t got anybody out and I haven’t seen the jumping ball yet.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan
Ben Duckett’s mind is going to be frazzled now. We saw him pressing down the line of leg stump and that exposed his off stump. He’s got a real issue against the off-spinners – England are going to have to iron that out very quickly.
Former England off-spinner Vic Marks
I don’t think this pitch has deteriorated that much yet. The ball has not been jumping and turning it viciously but England have made some mistakes. England had a horrible session. It all seemed relatively calm until the run-out – and then it all started to disintegrate.
Batting meltdown comes after bowling improvement
England’s spinners were disappointing on Thursday, coming in for criticism from Michael Vaughan after bowling 49 wicketless overs.
On the second morning, following the visitors’ curious reluctance to attack first-day centurion Virat Kohli and Ashwin with the second new ball, off-spinner Moeen turned the tide.
One delivery after Ashwin was dropped by Stokes at slip, Moeen had Kohli held by the same man for 167.
When both Wriddhiman Saha and Ravi Jadeja were pinned lbw – the latter opting not to review one that would have missed leg stump – Moeen had three wickets in 14 deliveries.
England were held up by Ashwin’s second half-century of the series, made in partnership with debutant Jayant, but, after Ashwin edged Stokes behind, neither Jayant and Umesh Yadav could resist swiping at Adil Rashid.
India had lost their last six wickets for 104 runs, a slide likely to be rendered inconsequential by England’s more dramatic slump.
‘We have to cut out sloppy periods of play’
England assistant coach Paul Farbrace to TMS: “Some of the dismissals, you can look back and say they were disappointing. We need to find a way to scrap and fight in those situations, rather than having those mini collapses. That’s something we have to eradicate from our batting.
“We’ve got to find a way to be tougher or stronger in that situation. The two at the end showed that if you apply yourself and you get stuck in and you’re resolute and you’ve got some guts then you can get through those tough periods.
“Certainly with the bat we have got to cut those sloppy periods of play – we have got to play better.”