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India gain upperhand after Vijay, Ashwin shine

December 09, 2016 17:44 IST

Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay were involved in a 107-run unbroken second wicket stand against England on Day 2 of the 4th Test in Mumbai on Friday

IMAGE: Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay en route their unbroken 107-run second wicket stand against England on Day 2 of the 4th Test in Mumbai on Friday. Photograph: Shashank Parade/PTI

India made a strong reply with the bat after off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picked up yet another five-wicket haul as the hosts reached 146 for one on the second day of the fourth Test against England in Mumbai, on Friday.

- Scorecard

After Ashwin registered superb figures of six for 112, Murali Vijay (70 not out) and Cheteshwar Pujara (47 not out) led a solid Indian reply to England's first innings 400 all out with a 107-run stand for the unbroken second wicket to help the hosts take the honours on Day 2.

India, 2-0 up in the five-match Test series, trail England by 254 runs with nine first innings wickets in hand on a Wankhede Stadium track offering copious turn and bounce to the spinners.

Opener Vijay rediscovered his form with an elegant knock of 70 not out while in-form number three Pujara continued to torment the visitors with his impeccable judgement with his bat in making 47 not out as India closed the second day with their nose ahead on 146 for one in 52 overs.

The duo's unfinished second wicket partnership of 107 runs came from 228 balls and it was their seventh 100-plus stand in Tests and second of the series after the double century stand in the drawn series opener at Rajkot.

Earlier, Indian spin twins Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja claimed all the 10 wickets between them to bowl England out for 400 in the visitors' first innings courtesy of Joss Buttler, who played a fine knock of 76.

Ashwin claimed his 23rd five-wicket haul in his 43rd Test, while left-arm spinner Jadeja claimed 4 for 109 as the tourists were all out in the post-lunch session.

Ashwin also equalled legendary Kapil Dev's tally of 23 five-wicket hauls in Test cricket and is just behind just Anil Kumble (35) and Harbhajan Singh (25).

In the morning session, India got rid of overnight batsman Ben Stokes (31), Chris Woakes (11) and Adil Rashid (4) but their India's hopes of dismissing the visitors below 350 were dashed when Buttler and the Ball negotiated testing spin from Aswin and Jadeja without much trouble.

Ashwin had Stokes top-edging in the very first over of the morning, but the fielder stationed at backward square leg reacted late to the opportunity and missed out on a possible catch.

It appeared to be a huge opportunity lost to dismiss the all-rounder who had scored a hundred in the drawn series opener in Rajkot.

Ravichandran Ashwin, centre, celebrates with team mates after taking the wicket of Jake Ball

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin, centre, celebrates with team mates after taking the wicket of Jake Ball. Photograph: BCCI

However, Ashwin did not have to wait long to send back Stokes even as a decision review call by the hosts had to be taken to overturn the original decision of not out. DRS confirmed a thin outside edge off Stokes' bat before the ball was collected by Parthiv Patel.

Jadeja then got into the act. He first unsuccessfully reviewed a not out leg before decision by the umpire to leave the hosts without any DRS left in kitty.

But Jadeja got rid of Chris Woakes in his seventh over of the morning when he got the batsman to edge low to wicketkeeper Patel.

Jadeja then dismissed Rashid with an arm ball that struck the off stump as the batsman left it by shouldering arms. In three overs the left arm bowler had taken two wickets to leave England at 334 for eight.

He should have had Ball caught at slip but Indian skipper Kohli dropped a sharp chance. Ball was caught behind off Ashwin, courtesy of some extra bounce as he looked to play the cut shot.

Buttler kept the runs coming as he completed his half century in 106 balls before he was the last batsman dismissed when he was bowled by Jadeja trying for a big hit.

Opener K L Rahul (24) was out before Vijay and Pujara, who had put on a stand of 211 in the series opener at Rajkot, came together to consolidate the innings by negotiating the spin of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid with aplomb.

Vijay started with a superb drive past bowler Woakes while Rahul also played pleasing drives -- a back-foot punch square of the wicket off leggie Rashid catching the eye.

But he went for an ambitious cover drive on the track offering copious spin against Moeen Ali and was bowled through the gate for 24.

Vijay attacked Rashid after Rahul’s dismissal and stepped out to loft the bowler twice, for a four followed by a six in one over.

India dominated the post-tea session courtesy of both Vijay and Pujara.

Vijay, who batted sedately in the beginning, started to attack Rashid after Rahul's dismissal and stepped out to loft the bowler to the straight field twice -- for a four followed by a six -- in one over.

Vijay had one lucky moment when on 45 as he came out of the crease against Rashid, missed the ball which spun and bounced past wicketkeeper Bairstow. Soon after, he completed his half-century, the 15th of his 46-Test career, off 126 balls with the help of one six and five fours.

Pujara, on the other hand, continued to torment the Englishmen with his superb form that has secured him two hundreds and a half century coming into this match. He has so far struck six fours in his 102-ball unbeaten innings.

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