Strong in defence, good footwork: Former India cricketer VVS Laxman praises Kohli, Ashwin
Former India cricketer VVS Laxman termed the fifty-run stand between skipper Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin in the first session of day three of the second Test a “match-winning partnership”.
It was a dream start for England as India lost five wickets in the first session on the back of some fine glove work by birthday boy Ben Foakes. But Kohli and Ashwin steadied the Indian ship with an unbeaten half-century partnership for the seventh wicket before lunch. Laxman said both Ashwin and Kohli showed that if a batsman applies himself he can score runs on what has been termed as a difficult wicket to bat on.
“Match winning partnership between Virat and Ashwin. Strong in defence, good footwork and capitalised on loose deliveries. Both of them showed that if you apply yourself you can definitely score runs on this pitch,” Laxman tweeted.
Jack Leach and Moeen Ali picked two wickets each in the first session but Kohli and Ashwin extended India’s lead to 351 runs on day three.
At the lunch break, India’s score reads 156/6 with Kohli and Ashwin unbeaten on 38 and 34 runs respectively. The first session saw five wickets falling and 102 runs being scored from 30 overs.
Resuming day three from 54/1, India got off to the worst possible start as the hosts lost both Rohit and Cheteshwar in the first 15 minutes.
While Pujara lost the grip on his bat and failed to ground it on time, Rohit was stumped off a ball from Leach courtesy of some quick glove work by Foakes.
Pant was sent up the order after the fall of two wickets but he too failed to leave a mark. Foakes stumped Pant as Leach got his second wicket for the day.
Ajinkya Rahane and skipper Virat Kohli then started to rebuild India’s innings with a couple of boundaries. But Moeen Ali struck as he dismissed Rahane to leave hosts reeling at 86/5 in the 31st over.
And just when a partnership was flourishing between Axar Patel and Kohli, Moeen got his second scalp of the day as the all-rounder departed after the hosts had extended their lead to 301 runs.
Kohli and Ashwin then ensured that England did not make any further inroads in the concluding minutes of the first session on day three.