Chennai: Another day, another impressive show by the Indians. All-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin slammed his fifth Test century to help India set a mammoth 482-run target for England on Day Three of the second Test here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday.
The hosts still have two days to dismiss England but expect them to seal the deal tomorrow itself. Local lad Ashwin, once again, the star of the show, this time with the bat as he top-scored with a fabulous 106.
Ashwin scored 106 runs off 148 balls with the help of 14 fours and a six as India’s second innings came to an end at 286 in the post-tea session. Mohammad Siraj remained unbeaten on 16 and added 49 runs for the final wicket with Ashwin who was the last wicket to fall.
Earlier, resuming at 54/1 on Day Three, India lost five wickets but added 102 runs to get their lead past 350 in the morning session. The hosts lost the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara (7), Rohit Sharma (26), Rishabh Pant (8), Ajinkya Rahane (10) and debutant Axar Patel (7) in quick succession to give a glimmer of hope to England.
However, skipper Virat Kohli and Ashwin then shared a 96-run stand for the seventh wicket to put India in a commanding position. Kohli, who showed his class on a Chepauk wicket that aided turn, was the first wicket to fall in the post-lunch session as he was dismissed by Moeen Ali at his individual score of 62. This was the fifth time that Ali had dismissed the Indian skipper in Test cricket.
Kuldeep Yadav (3) and Ishant Sharma (7) also shared eight and 27 run partnerships respectively with Ashwin to frustrate the England bowlers. Ashwin decided to farm strike for the last wicket with Mohammed Siraj at the other. Ashwin used the depth of the crease to great effect as he cut one short ball from Jack Leach for four towards backward point before slog-sweeping Moeen Ali for a six over long-on to breeze through the nineties.
Ashwin got his hundred off a mis-hit as an outside edge took the ball past slips for four and the hometown boy in Chennai got another hundred. His was the last wicket to fall as India were bowled out for 286 runs in their second innings and set England a daunting 482 runs to win the Test.
Brief scores: India 329 & 286 (Ravichandran Ashwin 106, Virat Kohli 62; Moeen Ali 4/98, Jack Leach 4/100) vs England 134 and 53/3. Match to continue