england cricket team
IND vs ENG | Aware that I’m not a guaranteed starter for second Test, admits James Anderson
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James Anderson, who ripped through the Indian batting on Day 5, admitted that England’s rest and rotate policy could see him sit out the second Test but stated that he would love to play back-to-back games. Anderson further revealed that he consciously adopted a defensive approach in 1st innings.It is not often that a fast bowler can claim to be in the form of his life at 38, but James Anderson is an outlier. Having registered career-best subcontinent figures of 6/46 in Galle last month, the right-armer backed up the stellar showing with yet another match winning performance in Chennai. Using prodigious reverse-swing, the 38-year-old ripped through the Indian middle-order on the final day to finish with match figures of 5/63 and help England take a 1-0 lead. Anderson would have been a guaranteed starter for the next Test in any other country, but England’s ‘rest and rotate’ policy, coupled with his age, means that there is every possibility that the veteran could sit out the second Chennai Test starting in four days’ time. Speaking post the match on Tuesday, the 38-year-old expressed that he would love to also play the second Test, but admitted that he respects the rotation policy, which could see Stuart Broad be drafted into the side."I guess when a batsman gets in rhythm and form they just want to keep batting and it's the same for a bowler - you want to keep that going as much as possible. But I'm very aware we've got four Test matches in quick succession here and there will be a need to rest and rotate,” Anderson said on Tuesday, reported Cricbuzz.“I'm not presuming anything. I'll try and rest and recover from this game as best I can in the next day or two and get back in the nets and try and put my name in the hat for Saturday.”Anderson struck in just his third over in the second innings, but the 158-Test veteran went wicketless in his first 15 overs in the first innings, where he adopted a more conservative approach to help the other bowlers. This duality was also visible in Sri Lanka, where, in the absence of reverse swing, he adhered to bowling tight lines and lengths, testing the batsmen’s patience rather than trying to produce something out of the ordinary. The 38-year-old revealed that he understands he has to perform different roles and insisted that he is more than happy to be a team man."I thought we were really good. We assessed conditions really well, set the right fields, we tried to keep the run rate down to a reasonable level and I thought everyone stuck to their gameplan. For me that first innings I felt I was the bowler to keep the run rate down, try and drive things up and let the spinners and Jofra attack a little bit more. In England it might be the other way around, the spinners have to do the drying up job."I'm very aware that could be my job out here and then you can attack more in the second innings if you do get reverse swing. It's just trying to manage that throughout the game and pick the right moment to attack and you know when to sit back and defend a little bit," said Anderson.Indian seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, on Day 4, exploited patches on the wicket through reverse swing, but while they only managed to trap batsmen LBW, Anderson got stumps to cartwheel. The right-armer, however, revealed that he was originally only aiming to bowl a stump-to-stump line and the ‘bowled’ dismissals pretty much happened by accident."I didn't really do anything out of the ordinary from the plans we had. I was just lucky really with a couple that hit the bare patches, a bit of reverse as well, so we knew we just had to keep hitting those areas as much as possible and hopefully we'd get a couple to keep low or deviate. We got three or four throughout the day to do that so there was a bit of luck involved as well but I was happy with how it went.""To be honest I was more expecting an lbw, one to keep low or a caught midwicket with one that stuck in the pitch a little bit. But it's always nice to see the stumps cartwheeling out the ground. It doesn't happen very often at my age so I'm really happy with it. It tops off a really good performance throughout the five days - it was a really solid and complete performance from the whole team.”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Incredible patience and vigour with renewed focus: how Jack Leach overcame the odds in Chennai
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Ahead of the series, the focus was of course on Root, on the English batting if they can withstand the Indian bowling unit. But as the past has suggested, always look out for the foreign spinner, especially if he’s left-handed and if it’s a series opener. Rishabh Pant steps out of his crease, Leach has found the ideal spot for the southpaw, who crashes the ball against the sponsors beyond the boundary rope. The riveting battle between two cricketers - at either end of 20s and a new stage of their career - handed contrasting opportunities. While Pant made the fullest use at the striker’s end, Leach made the headline for all the wrong reasons.Never has a spinner been banished as quickly as the left-armer has found himself and never has the Indian wicketkeeper shown mercy to a spinner. For one-tenth of a second, Leach had a different game plan but when the second it was completed, he found himself in a similar position - the Rishabh Pant effect, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Having craned his head for the major part of the day, Leach identified the struggles of bowling in India and quickly identified what the other spinners have gone through in the past against the youngster at the other end. Root and Leach were right - they had a definite plan for the youngster in place. But as it happened, it went awry and he ended up conceding 69 runs off his first seven overs in the country. There has never been a sweeter welcome in the country. "Having missed so much cricket you have to remember to cherish and enjoy these moments. It's my first time in India and to come here and bowl spin is the dream I had. So I just see it as a fantastic opportunity and one I want to enjoy,” Leach had said before the tour. While he took the needed risk, he failed. Yet he moved on, learnt from it and stepped up his game, indicating the presence of the tough mentality. But later on, in the scheme of things, the left-armer bowled snarlers and gems when the ball seemingly gripped. And when he struck, the ball dropped, while in reality, it bounced off the upper part of Ravichandran Ashwin’s blade. It was a dangerous partnership but not more dangerous than what the 29-year-old had just unearthed - the sweet spot of success in Chennai.In the span of two, he accounted for his second wicket - another victim of the vicious bounce. Having put under the pump for the most part of the third day, Leach had just found another incarnation of himself - reinventing his bowling - in the middle of the day. When England had a lead, aplenty that some deemed - there was the other task impending for the left-arm spinner. He had to open the bowling this time around. In the wee hours of the day, where you would have your premier bowlers in tandem, Root found an opportunity to rattle in Leach - a spinner - a ploy that was previously employed in Sri Lanka as well. But up against the English spinners were two of India’s best players of spin - Rohit and Gill. Two of whom, who have disregarded plenty of spinners during their cricketing career and interestingly banished several spinners in the process as well. With runs leaking, as if it were some faulty plumbing, England were flooded with problems - none really solving it at the same time. Having struggled against Gill in just the previous over, Leach was handed a reprieve when Rohit crossed ends. Flighted ball, enticing the batsman to get on the up and knock it straight back, the Somerset spinner threw a dime. It turned out, it wasn’t a dime but a diamond, as Rohit headed back to the dressing room. A pitch that made life hell for the left-arm spinner had overnight turned into his saviour, into his mentor and, moreover, handed him an opportunity to start afresh. England still needed nine wickets, they still had Cheteshwar Pujara - the man possessed by the batting gods at the crease. When spinners around the world have been bothered by his looks, his demeanour - Leach stood there, striking a chord with his inner mind and seemingly found the right word with the pitch. Pujara was pushed, pushed on the backfoot and then brought back forward with a flighted delivery that landed England the sucker blow against India. Flight, bounce, outside edge, slip cordon - four magical words suddenly brought about a new life in England, at a time where waking up was more than just a task. He suddenly got into a groove, where every delivery either whistled or nested past the bat and found the batsmen second-guessing. For all the pressure that he had created from one end, drying up opportunities, creating doubts in batsmen’s head, Anderson came into the attack to marvel at the audience. But there was Pant yet again, this time around, the battle was slightly more conservative - both of them didn’t want a piece of each other. As England stood, putting their full efforts in breaking the partnership between Ravichandran Ashwin and Virat Kohli, it was Leach again, who sucked them out of the crease, tempting a shot. With the bounce that he generated on the day, it required a monumental effort from the batting pair to keep it down, which Ashwin didn’t possess, as Leach got his third. It was only a matter of time before he turned three into four, four into six for the entire game, and put on a show. "They have a great batting lineup and I knew the pressure that comes with it. Happy to take some wickets and get the boys over the line," Leach said post-game. Having previously been well-known for his incredible 1*, Leach had almost found himself wanting for the worst record possible by an English spinner in these conditions before the fortune clock turned around. After being driven out of the attack, plundered ruthlessly by Rishabh Pant, Jack Leach found incredible vigour and immense patience, all with a renewed focus. At the same time, for a spinner to learn on the go - that too in India - Leach not just unearthed one of the most blessed abilities but doubled it up dangerously with his strength and vigour, which galored at Chepauk. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | James Anderson is a great role model for the rest of the group, asserts Joe Root 
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English skipper Joe Root was full of praise for veteran English pacer James Anderson as he termed him a great role model for the team after the first Test win over India. He also added that winning the toss was crucial but it was important to follow through on every facet to win.English pacer James Anderson has been a crucial figure for England in sub-continent conditions after having struggled early on in the alien conditions. In the first innings of the Chennai Test, it was Jofra Archer, who was impressive but today not only James Anderson made his presence felt but opened up the game for the visitors after his five-over spell in the first session accounted for crucial wickets of Shubman Gill, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant as he put up a reverse-swing masterclass. Speaking post-game, winning skipper Joe Root applauded the skill-level of the 38-year-old and also termed him a great role model for the team. "The way Anderson goes about things, challenging himself constantly and getting better all the time even at 38. He's a great role model to the rest of the group. His skill level is right up there with anyone we've ever seen," Root said in the post-match presentation, reported Cricbuzz. England were lucky to win the toss on a wicket that played extremely flat for the first two days and started getting difficult to bat from the third day onwards. They put up a massive total of 578 runs on board in their first innings, which Root felt was crucial given they needed to make most of winning the toss. "Crucial toss but from that point we had to follow through and make the most of a very good wicket. We did that very well. To take 20 wickets in alien conditions is a brilliant job from the bowlers. Knew from the outset it was going to be a good wicket. The first partnership got us going. Different stages guys came in and contributed. That's got to be the way - if we're going to win out here someone has to do that. Fortunately, it was me this week. We know that India are going to come back hard at us."England had decided against declaring on day four which was deemed pretty defensive by a lot of cricket pundits. Root, however, stated that he wanted to take India's win out of the equation and that's why he didn't hesitate in batting late on day four leaving 420 to chase for India. "The idea was to get to 400. Didn't quite materialise like that. But having spent some time out there, I knew wicket had changed drastically and knew it was going to change again. Wanted to take India's win out of the equation. As a bowling group we didn't want to worry about the run rate. Standing here, having won the first game is very pleasing."Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Pant could change game in a session, didn’t want that pressure, reveals Joe Root 
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English skipper Joe Root was heavily criticized for not declaring England's second innings and he has now revealed that Rishabh Pant could have impacted game and he didn't want that pressure. He also added that India have some exceptional players and they will come back hard in the next Test. Though Rishabh Pant has had a short Test career thus far but his impact has been paramount. He was critical to India's epic Gabba win and also threatened to run away with the game in the SCG Test against the Aussies when he had combined in a big stand with Cheteshwar Pujara with his counter-attacking 97. In the first innings of the Chennai Test too, he made an aggressive 91 coming in a pressure situation and helped India post 337 in response to England's 578. Given the left-hander's track record in the fourth innings, English skipper Joe Root didn't want the pressure of containing runs and knew the Indian gloveman could change things in a session. "Rishabh Pant bats for one session and he can make things quite interesting. I did not want the pressure of having to contain and as well as take wickets. I wanted to make sure that the bowlers were concentrating on the ways of finding the wickets on that surface. We were always going to create ten chances, we just had to be disciplined and take the chances that came our way. We could have declared earlier, I am just glad how it has turned out," Root said in a virtual presser, reported ANI. He also added that it was necessary for the Three Lions to completely take India out of the game as Chepauk had a fast outfield. "We could have declared earlier, for sure, we could have. I wanted to make sure that there were only two results possible in this game. I wanted to make sure that we turned up today with the ball still being hard. We wanted to give our bowlers an extra bit of time to be raring to go. We wanted to get to 400 and then we wanted to press the accelerator. Actually, it was going to be really important that we had runs on the board as it was a fast outfield."The 38-year-old James Anderson was crucial to England's win today as he took three wickets in quick time in the first session to jolt India's batting and put England into a position of ascendancy. Root praised the fitness levels of an ageless Anderson. "The toss was going to be important. From that point, it was crucial that we made the most of batting first on that wicket. We played fantastic cricket, we were in control of the game and the guys were exceptional today in particular. It will give us confidence going into the series. I think Anderson seems to get better with time. Those fitness levels are right up there, it is probably the best he has ever been in his whole career," said Root.Despite taking a 1-0 lead in the series, Joe Root is wary of India's strong fightback and wants to keep improving going into the next Test that starts from February 13 at the same venue. "This is certainly a very good victory. But in the scheme of this series, we know it's just a start. We know India is a very good team and they are a very proud nation, they have some exceptional players. They will come hard at us but to be sitting 1-0 up, it's really good. Really proud of how we played this week, there are some areas we can improve on," he added.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Jon Lewis defends England’s conservative approach; says they have ‘enough’ overs to win
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England bowling consultant Jon Lewis claimed that his side did not want to give India a sniff at victory but asserted that despite the conservative approach, the visitors have enough time to bowl the hosts out. Despite being in a commanding position, England only gave India 13 overs to bat on Day 4.When Ollie Pope got out just after Tea on Day 4, trying to attack, the general consensus was that England, with a lead of 370 at that point, were going to quickly get as many runs as they can and give India at least 20 overs to bat on Day 4. However, what instead followed was some flummoxing tactics by the visitors as the Three Lions stayed on the field for 18 more overs, adding just 38 runs. The English batsmen, post Pope’s dismissal, showed no intent and eventually the Indian batsmen needed to negate just 13 overs before stumps. England’s conservative tactic has pretty much taken victory off the table for India, but there exists a fear that, owing to their defensive approach, the visitors might have lent the hosts a hand in drawing the game. However, England’s bowling consultant Jon Lewis is not a strong believer of that opinion. Lewis asserted that the English bowlers have ‘enough time’ to bowl India out on Day 5 and stressed that it was imperative for the visitors to not give the hosts even the minutest chance of winning the contest."We were very comfortable with the amount of overs we wanted to bowl [on Monday night]. It will give us a bite with the second new ball if required [on Tuesday]. It's the first game of the series and while you want to get off to a really strong start you don't really want to give India a chance to win,” Lewis was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.India will need to score 381 runs in 90 overs tomorrow to clinch victory, and that is, even by their high standards, far fetched. Lewis reckoned that England’s approach with the bat on Day 4 will enable the skipper to set attacking fields on the final day, for there will be no concerns about leaking runs.  "Saying that, they have some fine players and you want attacking fielders around the bat for the whole of day five, especially for our spinners, so to get as many runs as we could and keep the rate high for them feels like our best chance to win the game.”England scored 178 runs in 46.3 overs in the second innings, and the approach of Dom Bess and Jos Buttler, in particular, was puzzling. The duo were keen to block deliveries - and not score - and they strung together a rather slow 35-run partnership which came off 13 overs. Lewis insisted that every English batsman was positive and asserted that the pitch was by no means ‘easy’ to bat on. "The guys were positive in the way they played and I don't think it is a straightforward pitch where you can go and be reckless."It's a good pitch but tricky so, against experienced Indians in India, against Ravichandran Ashwin bowling well on a turning wicket, it isn't always straightforward to smack the ball all over the place and accelerate. The guys just played the situation the best they could."England will need 9 wickets in 90 overs tomorrow to go 1-0 up in the four-match series.  Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Has fatigue impacted India’s performance in the Chepauk Test?
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It's almost crazy when you think of it. It has been 165 days since 11 of the 22 players who made it to  the India squad for England Tests have been in a bio-bubble which started in late August. Any gap in between? Yes, just one five-six day gap in between after the end of the taxing Australia tour.Cricket is generally never ending, hectic and overstretched  in India’s cricket calendar. But the fact that there hasn't been any change to the way things work with the newly introduced mentally taxing bio-bubble in cricket has been surprising. India are playing back-to-back four-match Test series. There is hardly any respite. Hard quarantine, innumerable COVID tests, travel restrictions and not being able to meet family frequently have added to the woes apart from the apparent physical and mental challenges of overdose of cricket, which is already a big challenge to contend with.For instance, Jasprit Bumrah played 15 matches in IPL, three ODIs, one warm-up game, four Tests since September 19. He has bowled 153.4 overs in the last four Tests (end of England first innings). Cummins also bowled like a machine in the hot summer Down Under but right now, he's resting on his couch or sunbathing on beaches than sweating in hot Chennai. Ajinkya Rahane, after being part of the IPL, played two warm-up games and this is his fifth Test in the last 50-odd days that he’s playing and will feature in three more Tests in the next four weeks. The grueling Australia Tests ended on January 19 and just after a few days, India were back to quarantining and playing another testing series at home. And that too as big as four matches. Fatigue is not only physical as pointed out about Bumrah or Rahane but mental as well. Being on the road for such a long time is extremely challenging. Even when a player isn't playing, he can't let his guard down and has to stay mentally confined to cricket with little or no access to the outside world. Being mentally fresh and up to the task is as complex, especially in these times of bio-bubble restrictions.When asked ahead of the Test series opener about the mental fatigue and tiredness, India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane had stated that, "We are not mentally tired at all - we’re really tough mentally."But when India were batting on day three in their first innings, there were at least a few dismissals which showcased lack of application, seemingly, borne out of tiredness than complacency. Even before the penny could drop in Ravi Shastri's words and India could soak in, reflect, relax, sink in the feeling of back-to-back Test series wins Down Under, they were facing a relentless and rampant England. One of the hallmarks of Rohit Sharma's batting in Australia was the application and discipline he would show up in the first 20 overs, exhibiting good judgement of the off-stump and playing the hard way. Batting in India, he becomes even more disciplined in his game in easier conditions. But on day three, on a flat wicket, Rohit missed out, much to everyone's surprise. He was guilty of hanging his bat out even when the ball wasn't heading to the stumps and pushed at the ball. Perhaps, the hard two-week quarantine in Australia, two tiring Tests, fielding for 190 odd overs had got to his batting as his fielding when he had dropped a sitter too long ago. Even Shubman Gill, one of those players, who have been on the road for 165 days in three bio-bubbles with a short break, which can be termed as negligible rest and relaxation period after Tests Down Under, showcased the class but not the temperament like in Australia. The right-hander, who had been part of 14 IPL games, one ODI, two warm-up games, and was playing his fourth Test in a short period of time, played an impatient drive too early. Perhaps, in his head, he was still in Australia or a little tired.Rahane, who generally shows a lot of restraint and application, was also seen coming down the track and getting out to a full toss, that too on the sixth delivery he faced. It came as a surprise given the team was expecting far more from their vice-captain after Kohli had got out shortly before with England having a big score on the board. For all the character, grit, determination, application, and persistence shown in the last Test series, it was the stark opposite. And not only in batting, even Indian bowling lacked plans unlike Australia. The fielding was extraordinarily poor and the body language was not up to the mark with shoulders down. It was a tired and worn out side on the field, which gave a feeling that there is more to the tiredness than just being out in the park for two days on a flat pitch. They just looked out mentally. And given how extensively India had talked about not being complacent, that was surely not the reason behind such a lackluster display.In comparison, England's rotation policy that had seen them resting Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes for the Sri Lanka series, rotating Anderson and Broad, then giving a breather to Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood for the first two India Tests, it was all making more and more sense. They had a fizz, clear batting plans, no signs of exhaustion, spring in their steps on the field, which saw them taking three brilliant catches, and it all transpired into beating India in their own game of posting big first inning score and then bowling out opposition for lesser runs to get into a position of ascendency.When England was facing criticism for not putting their best team on the park owing to rotation policy, someone like Jofra Archer had rightly emphasized that “Anyone that’s criticizing [player rotation] has never stayed in a bubble. At the end of the day, humans are social people, especially when you’re not having a great game. There’s no escape, nowhere to go." Even senior player Jos Buttler had opined that, "You do find it challenging having to stay away from your families, being in quarantine and locked up in hotels. ECB has been forward-thinking in rotating players for this series. At times, it's frustrating as you want to have the best players on the show all the time but it's not possible with the amount of time that one spends in a bio bubble. You can't expect people to keep doing that," The first few days of the ongoing Test series has certainly proven how England with their rest and rotation policy out-thought India  which has reflected in how they emphatically have been mentally and physically all over the hosts. And even if we take out the performance part, this way of functioning for India isn’t sustainable for too long.Both Bumrah (36) and Ashwin (55.1) have already bowled the most overs they have delivered in a Test innings in their career in the heat of Chennai. Notably, both had got injured and missed out on the Gabba Test, which was most likely induced due to their workload. England's first innings vigil was the longest first-innings total in Test cricket since South Africa's 510/9 decl against India in 2005 in Kanpur, in which the tourists had batted for 190.4 overs. It is likely to have taken a huge toll on both the premier Indian bowlers. Three Tests remain and India might not want to be too stubborn with their players. With a limited-overs series coming up, followed by IPL and then an away Test series in England and a T20 World Cup later this year, India will need to plan carefully and purposefully going ahead if they want the best out of team sans injuries and exhaustion. Perhaps following the England route of rest and rotation might not be a bad start. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | England have put themselves in great position in the first Test, admits Dom Bess
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England off-spinner Dom Bess, who ran through the Indian line-up on Sunday, admitted that his side are now in a commanding position in the game but insisted that it is imperative for the team to not think too far ahead. Bess further hailed Pant, who according to him played a phenomenal innings.When England strode out to bat on Day 3, they were accused by many of ‘playing for a draw’, but the Three Lions’ astounding bowling performance on Day 3 turned the narrative of the first Test around. After accumulating a mammoth 578, England, at stumps on Day 3, reduced India to 257/6, putting themselves in prime position to win the contest. The job for England, however, is only half-done and this was acknowledged by Dom Bess, who was the destructor-in-chief on Sunday. Bess, who picked four wickets and punched a hole in India’s batting, admitted that his side are in a strong position, but stated that it is important for them to not think too far ahead. "I do not want to get too far ahead and say anything. Most important thing is finishing off this first innings and see where they are at, at that point in time. They got these two, who can certainly bat. But we have put ourselves in a very good position," Bess said in a virtual press conference on Sunday. Despite coming on the back of a successful tour of Sri Lanka, there were doubts over Bess’ quality as a spinner, but the youngster put to bed all questions through an exceptional showing on Day 3. Bess’ sizzling performance included the prized scalp of Virat Kohli, and the 23-year-old revealed that the Indian skipper’s wicket ‘happened by chance’. “I was just trying to bowl at a spot, trying to build pressure for a long time, and II guess it just happened. It wasn't like I was trying to bowl that magic ball. It was really just about hitting that box. I saw the replay and it seemed to [drift] a little more and got him playing at a wider line, and I'm glad Popey took a great catch at short leg,” Bess said of Kohli’s wicket.England and Bess managed to keep almost every Indian batsman in check, but Rishabh Pant. On the back of historic knocks at both the SCG and Gabba, Pant played yet another mind-bogglingly good inning, striking 9 fours and 5 sixes before falling nine short of a well-deserved century. Bess described Pant’s innings as ‘phenomenal’."Pant is just a completely different player and he played phenomenal innings. I think how he played was really courageous.”In particular, Pant took a liking to left-arm spinner Jack Leach, who was deposited to the stands five times by the southpaw. Pant’s merciless assault meant that Leach finished with figures of 0/94 at the end of Day 3. Bess insisted that the left-armer bowled exceptionally well and added that he was unfortunate to have got caught in the Pant-storm.“I thought Leachy bowled really well today. You saw the spot map, and from him to Sundar, I guess he had 20 balls on the same spot, but I guess it was just a different innings [from Pant].”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Chepauk Day 3 Talking Points: X-factor Jofra, complacent Indian batsmen and the alluring Pant-Pujara stand
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Three back-to-back days and it has been an England domination all the way in the ongoing Chepauk Test, much on the unexpected lines. Today, Indian batting disappointed largely as they batted with little or no application barring Pant-Pujara as England ended on top with Jofra on fire from the start. X-factor Jofra Archer's top-notch skillsRaw pace, height, bounce, skills, intelligence - Jofra Archer wasn't designed in any laboratory though he may seem like one with what he offers. Right in his fifth delivery in Asia, a 141kph delivery hits good length and raises a puff of dust from the surface and the ball races past the outside edge of Gill like a quick leg cutter. Jofra hits it where it matters. It's enough to create doubts as after fielding 190 odd overs, Indian openers must have realized it ain't as flat especially when Archer has the red-cherry.It is a third-day pitch but then why James Anderson wasn't as threatening? This is about what Archer brings to the plate - pace and bounce. The right-arm pacer gets the reward soon, Rohit who averages 88.33 and is invincible at home gets out early as all it takes is nine deliveries for the lanky pacer to get off the mark in India. He does it with a short of length nipping away delivery after steaming in at pace. Soon enough the dangerous-looking Gill is also dismissed as Archer takes two wickets in his first spell.Then walks in India's Test kingpin - Virat Kohli. And the one ball that pretty much typified the threat that Archer brings on these surfaces came on the third ball of the 20th over. He beats Kohli's outside edge. It could have been a half-volley had he taken a stride forward points a TV commentator. But why he didn't? Because Jofra has threatened Kohli's head and gloves with vicious bouncers and has created enough doubts in his head not to lunge forward easily as he does to Anderson. Archer has already brought many modes of dismissals to play on a flat pitch. This is the X-factor that he brings, which they otherwise wouldn't have managed.Lack of application from Indian batsmen Undoubtedly, this is a third day Chennai pitch. It's doing more than the last two days but anything worth being 73 for 4 when England made 578? Not quite. Especially the way the Indian openers got out it was as if they were expecting things to fall in place for them just because it's a flat pitch and should be easy to motor along. Rohit Sharma, who was guilty of throwing away his starts be it taking on the bouncer in closing phases of the SCG Test or his Gabba attempt to hit a maximum off Lyon, was at it again.Archer did bowl a good delivery to Rohit but the senior batsman was hanging his bat out even when the ball wasn't heading to the stumps and pushed at the ball. Openers are supposed to be tested on the off-stump line with the new ball no matter where you play and Rohit just didn't show enough discipline to counter early overs. His junior partner Gill also followed in his footsteps too. He was creaming the ball with the ease of a master batsman at his peak. Nothing seemed to faze him and a big knock beckoned. But he played an uppish on-drive too early to a freebie full ball as if its white-ball cricket or he's in some rush.Virat Kohli got out playing away from his body which is risky when the ball has turn and bounce, quite opposite to what he does, let the ball come to him. And the Ajinkya Rahane dismissal just summed India's expectation of carrying over from Australia without breaking a sweat. It was one heck of a catch but Rahane also got into a position that he played an aerial shot at a time when India needed stability. Just poor application. Period, which put the responsibility back on Pujara-Pant partnership. 'Ice' Pujara and 'Fire' Pant and the art of fightbackCheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant, these two are the personnel of a contrasting world. One will kill by squeezing every ounce that there is in a bowler while the other will keep hammering till you tap into submission. But this pair combines well. Never have I felt opposites attract as much the last three Tests that India have played with this pair as they have strung together stands of 53, 148, 61, and 119. This is how well these two have done together for the side.One thing common between all these partnerships and these two has been the resolve to fight back for the team when the chips are down. Today again, like the SCG and Gabba Tests, they came with the team needing a solid performance from them. At 73 for 4, with all batsmen getting out sans application and a big deficit, they got into their element. It was Pant again, who started putting back the pressure on England as he attacked Jack Leach, taking him to the cleaners and kept attacking, showcasing audacity that made him a hero at Gabba as he replicated the confidence from Down Under.On the other hand, Pujara also looked at ease. He played the spinners in his trademark fashion of coming down the track to not let it spin much. He was solid against fast bowlers. And if not for an unlucky dismissal, he was set for a big knock. The partnership between the two might well have ended on 119 but they again showed how two extremes can succeed together yet again and have developed into a dependable combination. Moreover, it helped India get out of extreme trouble after they have been on the back foot since day one, even if it was only for a short duration. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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VIDEO | ‘Superman’ Root takes a flying left-handed blinder to send ‘shocked’ Rahane packing 
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Joe Root. Chennai. This connection is turning special with passing time. After making a historic 218 in what is his 100th Test, he takes an absolute jaffa of a catch to help England with the wicket of India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane as India are reduced to 73 for 4 in a mini-collapse.English skipper Joe Root is having that sort of Test that whatever he touches turns into gold. This year he has been in maddening form. It is as if he wants to make up for all the wrongs he has done in the last couple of years. It is like he's answering each one of his critics who were questioning his batting, captaincy or status in fab four. So it is the 27th over. Ajinkya Rahane who has been in great form in the last few Test series comes out to the crease. India are still getting in terms with the fact that Virat Kohli who was averaging 344 against spinners in India since 2018 has got out to a rookie Dom Bess. But why panic when India's two specialist Test batsmen Pujara and Rahane are in the middle. Rahane likes to show his presence with positive intent at times. He advances to Dom Bess, takes the ball on the full. It looks like he has timed the ball well enough in first glance and it will go to the left of the fielder at cover. He has middled the ball after all. It is still in air though. But wait, what? The catch has been taken. The fielder at cover has made a full outstretched dive to his left to hand on to the ball with one hand and take a stunner of a catch. Rahane is still standing in disbelief.And it's Joe 'Superman' Root who has done it again. Is there anything he can't do this Test? English fielders are running towards him. There is joy all around. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Chepauk Day 2 Talking Points: India tasting their own medicine, Stokes fuels fire and Bumrah’s workload
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If day one of the first Test was poor for India, day two turned even poorer as England batsmen piled up misery on the tired Indian bowlers making them taste their own medicine. Ben Stokes and Joe Root put on a scintillating stand while Bumrah's fitness was tested as much as Kohli could.India tasting their own medicine Prepare flat tracks, which have no lateral movement or much spin in the first three days, bat first, score big and outplay opponents has been India's way of winning at home, a lot of times. But this Test things haven't gone as per India’s plans. England won the toss and batted as ruthlessly as India does. Generally, a pitch like Chepauk is akin to a graveyard for bowlers. Even in Australia, flat pitches were there but they at least have some bounce. So spinners and pacers can get something out of it as it brings more modes of dismissals to play but not on these dead tracks. England batted with a caution against the new ball, negating the first session with a lot of patience and grit on both the days. Today, it was challenging to bat early in the day but England didn't give in. Just like India take the weaker links in the spin department of other teams to cleaners, so did England. In the first 150 overs, 55 overs were bowled by inexperienced Nadeem and Sundar of whom, the Three Lions looted 223 runs. Interestingly, on the second day, we have seen invariable bounce. There have been deliveries from both Nadeem and Ashwin that have reared up after pitching which indicates how difficult batting last on this pitch can prove to be for India. It's a ploy that India have used quite successfully but now they will be at the receiving end of it as undoubtedly the first two days were gold for batting, not so as we move ahead in the game.  It was expected that India would regroup after day one and come back stronger with a new batsman at the crease in form of Ben Stokes with a set Joe Root. And India started off brilliantly as well. Bumrah was hitting perfect line and lengths, always threatening Root's pads while Ashwin was also able to beat Stokes' outside edge on a few occasions and was getting a hint of turn and also variable bounce. As per CricViz, in the morning session, at one time, England's false shot percentage was 12%, up from the 9% they registered yesterday. But England didn't arrive sans plans. Ben Stokes was the man who led a brilliant counter-attack to further dent India. He attacked his away out of challenges thrown at him. In the 95th over delivered by Ashwin, Stokes had announced that he won't let the offie bully the left-hander, which he usually does gives how the offie matchup works against southpaws. He had launched Ashwin for a straight six when he flighted the ball after getting some purchase. After that the sweep was out, he hit boundaries against Ishant off back-to-back deliveries and all the pressure created evaporated in a few overs. When it came to Nadeem-Sundar, Stokes blasted them like club bowlers. At one time, he was just dealing in slog-sweeps, reverse-sweeps, and also came down the track to hit a six. It was pure mayhem as he brought his fourth gear into play. His 124-run-partnership with Root ensured that India had nothing left in the tank by the time he got out and the visitors were easily posting in excess of 450. Jasprit Bumrah's inexplicable workload In a few months time, there will be an IPL, a Test series in England, and also a T20 World Cup later in the year. And one name that's going to be the most crucial is none other than Jasprit Bumrah. He's a rare jewel for India, who is phenomenally good across formats and spearheads India's bowling attack. Could India have done without Bumrah for this Test series? Surely, they have a plethora of bowlers who can fill in his place keeping in mind how much he matters this year with some significant assignments to come. Even if he had to play, there was a need for him to be used more judiciously. He's Jasprit Bumrah, and with him it is always worth risking. And mind you, he had sent down 117.4 overs in three Tests in Australia, had played the ODI series and also the IPL before that. No wonder he was injured, hence ruled out of the Gabba Test.He bowled 29 of the first 150 overs in the heat of Chennai. He will need to send down a lot of overs in the second innings as well. And if he plays two Tests at this graveyard-esque flat pitch where longer spells are needed, he might end up being injured with a major cause of concern for India in the upcoming months. Not to forget, only last year the pacer had returned after his first major long injury lay-off and it’s surely a time when India show more caution despite the temptation of his world-class abilities.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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