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regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

Dharamsala Test: Sarfaraz Khan and Devdutt Padikkal steer India to 376/3 at Tea on Day 2 against England

Sarfaraz (56 batting) and debutant Devdutt Padikkal (44 batting) are manning the crease as the home side now leads by 158 runs

PTI Dharamsala Published 08.03.24, 02:32 PM
Dharamsala: Players of India and England during the second day of the fifth Test cricket match between India and England, at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala, Friday, March 8

Dharamsala: Players of India and England during the second day of the fifth Test cricket match between India and England, at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala, Friday, March 8 PTI

England captain Ben Stokes got Rohit Sharma bowled off his first ball in nine months before India's supremely confident youngsters took their team to a commanding 376 for three at tea on day two of the fifth Test here on Friday.

The ever impressive Sarfaraz Khan (56 batting off 59) and debutant southpaw Devdutt Padikkal (44 batting off 77) then got together and ensured runs kept flowing for the home team. India extended their first innings lead to 158 runs.

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Stokes, who had been bowling in the nets on the tour thus far, finally decided to roll his arm over in a match situation after nothing went England's way in the morning session. He stopped bowling owing to a knee injury and had undergone surgery last year.

Bowling the second of the afternoon session, Stokes produced a peach that seamed away a touch from good length to dislodge Rohit's off-stump.

In the next over, James Anderson bowled Gill with a beauty that seamed back in, leaving India at 279 for three.

In his debut game, Padikkal's off-side play stood out as he regaled the crowd with exquisite back-foot punches and cover drives.

Sarfaraz, on the other hand, started slowly before changing gears both against pace and spin.

He swept Shoaib Bashir twice in the 81st to bring up his third fifty of the series. However, what attracted most attention was his attacking play against the express pace of Mark Wood.

His game against fast bowlers have been questioned but Sarfaraz was razor sharp on Friday as he dispatched Wood for a lofted bowler's back-drive before pulling him for a six over over backward square leg. He also played a ramp shot off Wood using his extra pace and bounce that he generated.

In the morning, skipper Rohit and Gill struck sublime hundreds as India pressed the advantage in the game by reaching 264 for one at lunch.

Rohit and Gill walked out in the middle in bright sunshine and milked the conditions to take India well past England's first innings total of 218 after resuming the innings at 135 for one.

England tried everything to contain them, whether it was employing the leg-slip for Rohit when Bashir was in operation or Wood using the odd short ball against the overnight unbeaten duo with as many as six fielders on the leg side.

However, nothing worked for the visitors despite the Barmy Army making a lot more noise compared to Indian fans at the stunning HPCA stadium. Rohit and Gill collected 129 runs from 30 overs in the two hours of play.

Rohit and Gill, who were batting on 52 and 26 overnight, gave themselves an over each after start of play before going for their strokes.

Off-spinner Bashir opened the bowling alongside Anderson and was put under immense pressure by Rohit, who deposited him for a straight six and a four in his second over to set the tone.

Gill, who played some audacious strokes on the opening day, carried on in the same vein as he took two steps forward against the great Anderson for a straight six, which was followed by a square cut.

The only real chance that England had in the session went begging when Zak Crawley could not latch on to a sharp catch offered by Rohit at leg-slip.

Mark Wood replaced Anderson and Gill put him under the pump with a square cut and a beautiful cover drive. Wood resorted to the short ball tactic against the well-set duo but that did not work either. Stokes first put five fielders on the leg side before adding another one.

The mid-off was left vacant, prompting Rohit to make room and slap Wood in the region for a boundary.

Bashir returned for his second spell but Gill ensured he did not settle down by smashing him for a maximum. The off-spinner then decided to go round the wicket but to no avail.

Rohit completed his 12th Test hundred and second of the series by flicking Tom Hartley for a single.

Two ball later, Gill followed him into three digits by slog-sweeping Bashir for a four. After completing his second ton of the series, Gill took his helmet off and bowed to the spectators in the stands including his proud father Lakhwinder.

Scoreboard

England (1st Innings): 218 all out India (1st Innings, Overnight: 135/1; 30 overs) Yashasvi Jaiswal st Foakes b Bashir 57 Rohit Sharma b Stokes 103 Shubman Gill b Anderson 110 Devdutt Padikkal batting 44 Sarfaraz Khan batting 56

Extras (LB-4, NB-2) 6 Total (for 3 wickets, 84 overs) 376

Fall of wicket: 1-104, 2-275, 3-279

Bowling: James Anderson 14-1-59-1, Mark Wood 13-1-83-0, Tom Hartley 25-3-85-0, Shoaib Bashir 26-4-127-1, Ben Stokes 5-1-17-1, Joe Root 1-0-1-0.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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