Day 2 of the 4th Test between England and India was quite possibly one of the best days of Test match Cricket there has been for a while.
India started proceedings with openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul at the crease, but Stuart Broad removed both as India were 50-2. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli put on a 92 run stand as India reached 142-3 at Kohli’s dismissal. Still trailing by 104 runs.
Wickets fell at regular intervals as Moeen Ali, who was brought back into the side, racked up his fifth Test 5-wicket haul as India crumbled to 195-8.
Ali finished on 5-63, and after his 40 valuable runs in England’s first innings, has surely secured his place as England’s Test spinner. Adil Rashid who has been the preferred spinner, has failed to make any meaningful contribution in this series.
Despite the constant stream of wickets tumbling at the other end, Pujara was still going strong, and when Ishant Sharma was dismissed for 14, Pujara was on 96*. Worries were that he would be left stranded, and not be able to achieve his 15th Test ton. All eyes were on Jasprit Bumrah. Everyone supporting India would have hoped he could survive long enough to allow Pujara his well deserved century.
There it was. Pujara had reached his 15th Test century, and maybe more importantly, his first in England. It was a patient and gritty knock that showcased the true technique necessary in Test Cricket. Batting against a quality bowling attack at home, he defied them and remained not out at the end of India’s innings, on 132* as Inda were bowled out for 273, a slender lead of 27.
England had to bat 4 overs to reach stumps and Cook and Jennings survived to reach 6-0, trailing by 21 runs.
As I said at the beginning, this was a great day of Test Cricket, it had a gritty fighting hundred from an overseas player, a wonderful fifer from a player who had returned to the side after being discarded and showed his all-round ability. and a Test beautifully poised for another cracking day on Saturday.
Long live Test Cricket.