Dharamsala Test: Rohit, Gill fashion India’s dominant show on Day 2

Dharamsala Test: Rohit, Gill fashion India’s dominant show on Day 2

Dharamsala, March 8: Centuries by Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, besides half-centuries by Sarfaraz Khan and Devdutt Padikkal fortified India’s position as the hosts pushed their lead to an impressive 255 runs at stumps on Day 2 of the fifth and final Test here on Friday.

As though these top batsmen were thorns in England’s flesh, Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah were ruthless too with their resilience to put an unbeaten 45 runs for the ninth wicket, after India slumped from 376/3 to 428/8.

Sarfaraz and Padikkal were too good with the bat in the post-lunch session, demonstrating their batting skills and determination, before they lost their wickets.

Right after tea, England capitalised on getting Sarfaraz’s wicket for 56 which, resulted in India losing wickets in a clump. Shoaib Bashir removed debutant Padikkal after sketching up an admirable 65 runs.

The incoming batsmen Dhruv Jurel, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ravichandran Ashwin failed to make seductive contributions. But, Kuldeep and Bumrah frustrated England by putting a full stop to losing further wickets.

In the morning session itself, Rohit (103) and Gill (110) tilted the match in India’s favour with centuries, putting on a fabulous 171-run stand as India finished the day on 473/8.

The duo scribbled up 129 runs without losing a wicket with a classy set of their trademark shots – Rohit’s backfoot drives and pulls, besides Gill’s eccentric short-arm jabs against pace and lofts against spin.

England needed an out-of-the-box effort to break Rohit and Gill’s partnership, and England skipper Ben Stokes provided it with his very first ball of the series.

A nipper done in Rohit, castling his stumps and then James Anderson removed Gill in the next over with an inswinger as both the bowlers got the ball to reverse.

England’s hopes of restricting India’s lead climbed with these dismissals but Padikkal and Sarfaraz negated them with a 97-run partnership in just 131 balls.

Sarfaraz in particular was aggressive of the two, taking on the spinners, and also played fearless shots against Mark Wood. Padikkal started with an array of boundaries, of which some were streaky and few others had the charm of a left-hander’s magnificence.

Both took India to tea and looked all set to get their centuries but England once again roared back by taking wickets in a clump in post-tea session. Bashir induced a soft shot from Sarfaraz and then cleaned up Padikkal with a ripper.

Dhruv and Jadeja played with caution but Bashir struck twice in successive overs to dent India’s progress. Tom Hartley then wounded Ashwin’s 100th Test by dismissing him for a duck.

England has a huge task cut out as they are trailing by over 250 runs, and with three days to go, Stokes will have to do something extraordinary to avoid a fourth defeat.

On the other hand, India will look to bat only once in the match and hand an innings defeat to clinch the series 4-1.

Brief scores: England 218 (Zak Crawley 79; Kuldeep Yadav 5-72, Ravichandran Ashwin 4-51) trail India 473/8 (Shubman Gill 110, Rohit Sharma 103, Devdutt Padikkal 65; Shoaib Bashir 4-170) by 255 runs.


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