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2nd Test: India all out for 255; England need 399 to win

Visakhapatnam, Feb 4 2024-

Riding on Shubman Gill’s third Test century, and some important contributions from Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin, India have set England an imposing target of 399 for victory in the second Test after their second innings folded on 255 on day three at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

The target of 399 is more than the 378 England chased down against India in the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston in July 2022. Add to it, the highest successful chase by an opposition team against India in India was registered by the West Indies when they chased down 276/5 in 1987 at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi.

The record for the highest successful chase in India is of 387 which ironically came against England at Chennai in 2008. Also, the highest fourth innings target successfully chased in Asia is 395 by West Indies against Bangladesh at Chattogram in 2021, making England’s chase of 399 all more daunting, despite their Bazball style of playing Test cricket.

Gill got a few slices of luck early on, and made it count by slamming 104 off 147 balls, his first Test century as a number three batter. His partnerships of 81 with Shreyas Iyer and then 89 with Patel (45), followed by a late 29 from Ashwin helped India reach a competitive total. For England, spinners Tom Hartley and Rehan Ahmed picked up seven wickets between themselves as the Indian lower order folded quickly.

The post-tea session saw Rehan strike early as KS Bharat mistimed his pull to wide mid-on, while Hartley took out Kuldeep Yadav, whose top-edge on slog-sweep was caught at mid-wicket. Ashwin was dropped at slip and bided his time before swatting Rehan down the ground for four, followed by lofting a six in the same region and a four coming via a sweep off the leg-spinner.

The 26-run stand for the ninth wicket was broken when Hartley had Jasprit Bumrah edging to gully and Rehan ended India’s innings in the next over when Ben Foakes took a sharp catch of a faint outside edge coming off Ashwin’s bat, with the hosts’ losing their last six wickets for 44 runs.

Brief scores: India 396 and 255 in 78.3 overs (Shubman Gill 104, Axar Patel 45; Tom Hartley 4-77, Rehan Ahmed 3-88) lead England 253 by 398 runs. (Agency)

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