India quell England’s fightback to reach 473/8, take 255 run lead

Dharamshala: Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav put up an unbeaten 45-run stand after England fought back in the last session to extend India’s lead to 255 runs as the hosts reached 473/8 at stumps on Day 2 of the fifth and final Test at the HPCA Stadium here on Friday.

After debutant Devdutt Padikkal (65) and Sarfaraz Khan (56) steered India to a dominating position at the stroke of tea after skipper Rohit Sharma (103) and Shubman Gill (110) had laid the foundation, England staged a fightback in the last session of the day with 5 wickets for 52 runs.

Shoaib Bashir came to break the deadly-looking partnership, giving some reprise to the England camp by dismissing Sarfaraz for 56. Then came a special moment for Padikkal, who brought up his half-century on debut, becoming the fifth member of India’s top five to reach 50 in this innings.

Soon after a ripper of a ball from Bashir dismissed Padikkal for 65, who was looking to defend from the crease. Then, another steady partnership seemed to be taking shape for India as Ravindra Jadeja and Dhruv Jurel collaborated to extend the lead beyond 200. However, Jurel’s dismissal, caught at long-on, handed Bashir his fourth wicket.

Later, Tom Hartley got his first wicket of the match, trapping Jadeja LBW. The batter took a review and the ball-tracking showed that the ball crashed into the leg-stump. In the same over, he bowled Ravichandran Ashwin for a duck in his 100th Test. Following a brief surge from the English spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah showcased composed batting to thwart England’s efforts. As a result, India stretched their lead past 450 runs.

At tea, Padikkal and Sarfaraz, who have just four caps between them, raised a 97-run fourth wicket stand following the dismissals of skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, both of whom notched up centuries. Rohit and Gill both cruised to hundreds during the morning session as India tightened their grip on the final Test. England finally made a breakthrough when captain Ben Stokes made the difference by introducing himself into the attack.

Stokes, who had refrained from bowling since the Lord’s Test in June due to a persistent knee problem that necessitated surgery before Christmas, removed Rohit for 103. Then, Padikkal came to join another centurion of the day Gill. James Anderson soon got another big fish, Gill on 110, for his 699th Test scalp as England got rid of both the set batters shortly after lunch. Sarfaraz walked out at No.5 for India, joining Padikkal. The pair steadied things for India and grabbed the momentum back after England’s double-strike post-lunch.

Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 135/1, Rohit (102 off 160) and Gill (101* off 142) dominated the opening session of the day and put up a 160-run stand at lunch, India’s second consecutive hundred partnership in the series. Rohit was the first to reach the three-figure mark. He notched his second hundred of the series and 12th overall with a clip-through midwicket off Tom Hartley.

In the next over, he handed the strike back to Gill, who slog-swept Shoaib Bashir to bring up his second century of the series and fourth in Tests.

Brief scores:

At stumps, Day 2: England 218 trail India 473/8 in 120 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 57, Rohit Sharma 103, Shubman Gill 110, Devdutt Padikkal 65, Sarfaraz Khan 56, Jasprit Bumrah 19 not out, Kuldeep Yadav 27 not out; Shoaib Bashir 4-170, Tom Hartley 2-126) by 255 runs

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