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Oval Test: Ashwin double strike pegs England back at tea

London: Ravichandran Ashwin took two quick wickets as India pegged back England late in the post-lunch session on day two of the fifth and final cricket Test at the Oval here today.

The hosts reached 246/5 in 73 overs at tea, in reply to India's first innings 148 all out.

Ashwin (2/44) and Varun Aaron (2/84) made sure that the England lead did not stretch past 98 runs with five first innings wickets intact.

Ishant Sharma (1/33) was the other wicket-taker in the session, with Jos Buttler (12 batting) and Joe Root (11 batting) the unbeaten batsmen at the crease at the break.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/49) and Stuart Binny (0/24) were the other Indian bowlers deployed.

England began the second session looking to drive home their advantage after Alastair Cook's (79) half-century had helped level the scores at lunch.

The skipper continued his 82-run partnership with Gary Ballance (64 runs, 117 balls, 13 fours) and they further added 43 more runs, totalling a second-wicket stand of 125 runs.

Three overs into the session -- 48th of the innings -- Ballance reached his fifty off 77 balls, including 11 fours and an over later celebrated his 100-run partnership with Cook.

Then began an odd period of play wherein India could have had more wickets but for the two catches dropped.

The first was in the 50th over when Cook was dropped off Aaron by Murali Vijay at first slip. The English captain was batting on 65 then and he had another reprieve five overs later when Ajinkya Rahane dropped him while on 70 off Ashwin this time, again at first slip.

Finally some luck came the Indian bowlers' way as Vijay held on to another chance offered by Cook in the 58th over bowled by Aaron.

The hosts captain was finally dismissed for 79 runs off 183 balls with nine fours included. England's 200-run mark came up in the 62nd over but more importantly they collapsed from 191/1 to 204/4 in the space of 33 balls.

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