44th over: England 97-6 (Foakes 16, Moeen 5) Kuldeep to Moeen: rust versus rust. Kuldeep drops short and Mo is onto it, cutting for four, to get off the mark after facing 15 balls. One scoring shot brings two as Moeen tucks to leg for a single.
43rd over: England 92-6 (Foakes 16, Moeen 0) Siraj has been right on it, so much so that he has yet to concede a run. But he does go for four leg byes as he strays onto the pad and Foakes plays an attempted glance. That makes five extras in this innings, whereas there were none at all in india’s 329.
“Thanks for the live feed! Great companion to the Test,” says Ollie Glick. It’s our pleasure. “Amongst the buzz of frustration around the country at the state of this pitch, was wondering about people’s thoughts on touring teams getting to choose whether to bat or bowl first in each game, instead of having a toss? Could remove the absurd home advantage slabs of turf we are seeing (including at home), as groundskeepers may be hoisted on their own petard if they made it too advantageous to bat first, and would have to produce a balanced pitch. I’m probably missing something though…”
42nd over: England 88-6 (Foakes 16, Moeen 0) This partnership gets off the mark, after 20 dots, as Foakes whips Kuldeep for a single. He’s been such a calm presence, whether behind the stumps or in front of them.
41st over: England 87-6 (Foakes 15, Moeen 0) As if England didn’t have enough problems, the ball is now reversing. Siraj swings it nicely away from the left-handed Moeen, who finds himself poking elegantly at thin air. Mo has become an all-or-nothing kind of player; after his demolition of Kohli yesterday, England just have to pray that this is another of his good days.
“Good morning Monsieur Delisle,” says Tony White. Good morning Mr White. “Wishing you a calm day’s work! I’m feeling supremely confident about the English position but would be even more so if I knew that Mr. Woakes was padded up ready. And really, Kohli made a duck, A DUCK! What a loser!”
40th over: England 87-6 (Foakes 15, Moeen 0) Kuldeep continues, a whirl of arms and tweaks, and bowls a maiden as Foakes is more circumspect after losing his pal.
“This,” says Luke Wildgoose in Woodstock, “is a Valentine’s day massacre without the pizza.” Great line.
39th over: England 87-6 (Foakes 15, Moeen 0) That was Mohammed Siraj’s first ball of the match – in fact his first in Test cricket in India. He smiles a huge smile and points to the skies in memory of his father, who died while his son was busy making history in Australia. It was a fine leap by that man Pant behind the stumps, away to his left, though he only caught the ball in his webbing. In comes Moeen, who made 146 on this ground four years ago. Even 46 would be gold-dust here.
Wicket!! Pope c Pant b Siraj 22 (England 87-6)
Nooooo… Facing his first ball from a seamer today, Pope gets strangled down the leg side. Off he goes, with the weight of the world on his young shoulders, and with him go England’s hopes of scraping their way to something respectable.
38th over: England 87-5 (Foakes 15, Pope 21) The key to this mini-recovery has been bustle, and now the batsmen take five singles off Kuldeep’s allsorts.
Thanks Tanya and morning everyone. What a morning it was – eight wickets before lunch, or breakfast if you’re in Europe. England went in to bat on this pitch the way Brexit Britain goes into a business meeting. But now, in Pope and Foakes, they have the makings of a partnership.
37th over: England 82-5 (Foakes 13, Pope 19) The tall skinny Axar rips through another which Foakes largely defends. Time for drinks and for me to hand over to Tim de Lisle, who will expertly guide you to the close and unbeaten centuries from Foakes and Pope. Thanks for your company during a cracking session and a half of cricket. Have a good day!
“I am a great fan of Stuart Broad.” writes David Gaskell. “He does have the ability to sway and startle matches, doesn’t he? So, denied any movement with the ball, what say, our (my) hero saves the follow on with an imperious, undaunted thirty with the bat?
Not wishing to miss this I have cancelled the usual four hour Sunday lunch at the restaurant here on the Costa Blanca. Wait a minute, I have just been informed we’re still on lockdown so the paella is in the fridge and the Cava remains uncorked. Is this a sign? With you all the way, Stuart!”
35th over: England 81-5 ( Foakes 13, Pope 18) Foakes sniff a fuller one from Kuldeep and levers him straight down the ground for four. Lovely stuff. The camera pans to the England dressing room where a poker-faced Chris Silverwood is joined by Graham Thorpe and a glum Joe Root.
34th over: England 77-5 ( Foakes 9, Pope 18) Axar rips one past Pope’s outside edge as he pushes forward to defend. Axar and Kuldeep a huge improvement on India’s spin support attack in the first Test. More friendly pitch, I grant you.
Colum Fordham stretches and reaches for his phone: “To misquote Hot Chocolate, every ball that Ashwin bowls is a potential winner.Only the Pope can save England now. He’s wristy and is using his feet well. Ideal for Indian conditons and a dust bowl of a pitch. Foakes has a good test average (41.5 according to Wisden) and looks relatively at ease. That’s all Foakes.”
33rd over: England 76-5 ( Foakes 9, Pope 17) Kuldeep’s seventh Test, and his first for two years. Chubby, just like a wrist-spinner should be, left arm, hair like an early 1990s Tim Booth. Huge appeal for a catch behind by Pant, but Kohli ignores him and replays show it comes off the pad. A lively first over.
33rd over: England 76-5 ( Foakes 9, Pope 17) Azar again: one drifts in and spins past Foakes’ probing edge. Axar really firing them in here, that’s a maiden and here comes Kuldeep,
32nd over: England 76-5 ( Foakes 9, Pope 17) Foakes eases Ashwin for four straight of mid-on. Is this going to be the match that proves the old adage of wicket-keepers being good players of spin. Foakes certainly had his eye in behind the stumps. They pause for an impromptu drinks break.
Yaz K is not impressed by the pitch: “I mean there are dustbowls and there’s this pitch. It looks more like an experiment to replicate life on Mars. How would India like to rock to Lords in April to be greeted with a vegetable patch ?. Far more dangerous, granted.”
31st over: England 70-5 ( Foakes 3, Pope 13) Ollie Pope really looking the caramel on the cone here, survives a beauty from Axar with turn and bounce that rips away from his outside edge and over the top of the stump, but, unfazed, cuts his next beautifully for three.Huge lbw appeal against Foakes, but Kohli decides not to be so trigger happy this time. And he’s right.
30th over: England 66-5 ( Foakes 3, Pope 13) A speedy maiden from Ashwin.
“Virat Kohli is repeatedly encouraging the crowd to make more noise. What a huckster. Next thing, he’ll be telling them to storm the pitch.” Very droll John Starbuck, but who would dare impeach him?
29th over: England 67-5 ( Foakes 3, Pope 13) Foakes misses one from Axar, and it hits middling on the pad, just above the knee, ooof, it looks close but the review shows it passing over the top. Kohli, who barks the question at his fielders, doesn’t always get the best review advice.
28th over: England 63-5 ( Foakes 2, Pope 11) The camera pans to the sky which is dream-boat blue as Kohli gees up the crowd like a conductor of his very own orchestra.The noise lifts again.
27th over: England 59-5 ( Foakes 2, Pope 10) Another nice over from Axar and just a single for Pope.
“For non-Hindi speakers out there, Rishab is calling Axar ‘Baapu’ (literal translation father/dad) – which is what Mahatma Gandhi is also called sometimes. Probably because Gandhi and Axar come from the same state.” Thank you Mittu Choudhary!
26th over: England 59-5 ( Foakes 2, Pope 9) Four dots from Ashwin, then Foakes picks up a not altogether convincing single just past point . My unhappy looking cactus can look forward to some cold coffee refreshment because India are ripping through these bowlers too quickly for me to drink it.
25th over: England 59-5 ( Foakes 1, Pope 8) Pope leans back and cuts Axar through backward point for four for all the world as if the scoreboard read 590 for five. What an opportunity for Foakes, if he can somehow find a path through this dastardly pitch.
Good morning Tanya. Good morning Amelia!
Well it’s heating up in Chennai!!! England clearly need to bat positively here as a ball clearly has your name on sooner or later. What do we think do India enforce the follow on if/ when we don’t get to 130??
I think they’ll buck current trends and send em back in!
24th over: England 53-5 ( Foakes 0, Pope 3) Ok, its looking a little bit tricky for England from here.
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Tim de Lisle kindly taps me on the electronic shoulder, to point out this killer stat.
WICKET! Stokes b Ashwin 18
Beautiful bowling! Ashwin drifts one in, Stokes tries to shovel it away, misses and is bowled!
23rd over: England 52-4 ( Stokes 18, Pope 3) Kohli is furious with himself that he can’t get his right hand to the ball as it flicks off Stokes’s inside edge onto the pad and billows just in front of him at leg gully.
22nd over: England 51-4 ( Stokes 17, Pope 3) These two picking up runs more easily than poor Dan Lawrence did – think the lunch-time brainstrust game-plan might be: don’t get tied down.
Kim Thonger, has drunk an optimism shake for breakfast, “Waking up to see 4 down isn’t entirely enjoyable but I remain cautiously optimistic. A steady defensive century from Jack Leach and a flamboyant daddy hundred from Stuart Broad will save the day. Probably. Then Olly ‘Natural Born Killer’ Stone will cut a swathe through the Indian second innings with figures of 10 for 23, and we can knock off the feeble target set for us to cruise to a 2-0 series lead.”
21st over: England 49-4 ( Stokes 16, Pope 2) Pope sees through another over from Axar pushing into the covers off the last ball to tick off another single.
20th over: England 48-4 ( Stokes 16, Pope 1) Stokes deposits an Ashwin long-hop for four, Pope gets off the mark with an oooh-dont-do-that top-edged sweep.
19th over: England 42-4 ( Stokes 11, Pope 0) Axar on the money straight away after lunch. Stokes picks up three, leaving three for Pope who shapes to cut and is a cheese slice from playing onto his stumps. He survives two more flighted beads of beauty and that’s the over.
“Greetings from Malaysia.” Hello Joel Eley! “What are the chances of this game ending today? Pitch is really nasty. Other than the game in the West Indies being stopped have you seen a pitch this tasty?a pitch that is turning far too much for day 2.”
They’re just discussing this on Channel four.
“It’s a bunsen burner, and it has broken up too much for my liking, but England would have been able to read it, everybody knew but unfortunately they’ve not found a way to bat on it, says ERB
“It’s a poor pitch, a poor Test wicket, doesn’t mean its an excuse to not make runs on it,” is SAS’s verdict. Cripes, the players are out….
On Channel four Andrew Strauss and Ebony Rainford-Brent are discussing the importance of the crowd – and they’re right. I think that is why that session felt just so , electric, we’ve just forgotten what real emotions sound like. God knows what it was like out there, even with only 9,000 in the ground. As Sir Andrew Strauss says, “When India are on top it feels very oppressive.”
Fingerless gloves, hot-water bottle, large pot of coffee and wondering, like Sandy Wilson, on a cruise from Singapore to Fiji, “Not wishing to put the evil eye on ourselves, but has a test ever wrapped up on day 2…?”
The answer is yes, 21 of them: 9 in the 19th century, six in the 20th and six in the 21st – starting with England’s two-day crushing of West Indies at Headingley in 2000. That was the last time England were involved in double-dayers. India beat Afghanistan in two days in Bengaluru just three years ago. I’m not holding out much hope of working my shifts on the fourth and fifth days but never-say-die and we know how much Ben Stokes loves a challenge.
LUNCH England 39-4 (Stokes 8)
18th over: England 39-4 ( Stokes 8) We see a close up of Ashwin who turns the ball away from Stokes’s probing bat by the width of a violin. An airy drive follows, and a single, which brings Lawrence to the striker’s end. Ashwin gets ready to deliver the final ball of the over, but pulls out at the last second. He comes again, and, heartbreakingly, a lunchtime not-out in kissing distance, Lawrence gets an absolute beauty that kicks out of the pitch. As the ball falls into Gill’s hands, his long body slumps in disappointment. He’ll struggle to get a more testing session than that in his entire Test career. What a session! Time for a coffee, see you in half an hour.
WICKET! Lawrence c Gill b Ashwin 9
Ashwin goes round the wicket, the ball spits out of the pitch as Lawrence pushes forward and the ball is snaffled at short leg. That’s the eighth wicket to fall in the session for 68 runs!
17th over: England 38-3 (Lawrence 9, Stokes 7) Pant steps up the chirping behind the stumps, one over to go till lunch. Lawrence grins broadly and plays out a rapid maiden from Axar.
16th over: England 38-3 (Lawrence 9, Stokes 7) A beauty from Ashwin who hits Stokes on the pads. Kohli, most reluctantly, is persuaded to review by Ashwin and, sure enough, the ball is going over. Kohli’s beard stares disapproval. Ashwin may not be sitting next to his captain at lunch.
15th over: England 35-3 (Lawrence 6, Stokes 7) Axar, sleeves up by his elbow, fizzes one through that turns Dan Lawrence around as he makes an inelegant swat to leg. But he survives and tucks a single into his belt to finish the over.
14th over: England 34-3 (Lawrence 5, Stokes 7) We get an overview of the ground, so great to see the stands dotted with colour and life . Just two from a quiet Ashwin over.
13th over: England 32-3 (Lawrence 4, Stokes 6) England quietly pick up three more. 15 minutes till lunch till lunch, 98 needed to avoid the follow on.
“It’s Saturday night here in San Francisco, Chinese New Year fireworks are very quiet this year. No idea which innings we’ll be in when I get up.” Happy slumbers Ian Jefferson. I don’t have a clue either – isn’t it the best!
12th over: England 29-3 (Lawrence 4, Stokes 3) Five from Ashwin’s over as Lawrence shows signs of frustration, stepping out and looping the last ball in the air past mid on. Confident of foolhardy – shall we decide at lunch?
11th over: England 24-3 (Lawrence 1, Stokes 1) Axar, a slim-line of Ravi Shastri, is making his Test debut on a dream track. Not a bad first Test wicket either. He beats Stokes past the outside edge, first ball, and has a huge lbw appeal from the last. Kohli energetically asks for advice – do they review? Rohit, ice to his fire, says no
WICKET! Root c Ashwin b Axar
A first Test wicket for Axar! The ball turns and bounces, Root sweeps and top edges high to Ashwin waiting with open hands at short fine leg. England’s gate is now open…
10th over: England 21-2 (Lawrence 0, Root 3) Lawrence is off the mark! A quick single off Ashwin to mid-on. Tries to spade him off the back foot but the ball skids low and he is made to look foolish. It is spicy out there. If England don’t lose another wicket before lunch, I’ll forgo my muesli my muesli for cornflakes.
“In reply to Richard Hands (our man in Copenhagen), I have been thinking of nothing else since 2018 when I meant to send this verse in a submission to Adam Collins that should have been entitled ‘Instant Karma’:
‘Ishant Sharma’s gonna get youGonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead’
Unfortunately I mixed up the subject and opening lines and referred to ‘Instant Sharma’ instead, to my ongoing shame and humiliation.
Thanks for reminding me, Richard.” Brian Withingon, it is ok, honestly.
9th over: England 19-2 (Lawrence 0, Root 3) Kohli turns to left-arm sqinner Axar Patel on his Test debut. Slender, moustached, sunglasses, fairly round armed. Root knocks him for a couple, then Axar rips one past the outside edge and Root watchfully sees out the rest of the over. A promising start.
8th over: England 17-2 (Lawrence 0, Root 1) Root sweeps his second ball for a single, but India are bubbling. Breathe England, breathe.
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