Mohali Test: Kohli, Pujara stars but England's spark couldn't be missed

Updated: Dec 05, 2016, 11:55 IST | Shishir Hattangadi

At 148 for 2 at tea on the second day, India appeared to be sitting pretty to dominate the Test match. But clichéd as it might sound, the glorious uncertainties of this game turned up to embarrass all, including Indian batting

England players celebrate the wicket of Indian batsman Karun Nair during the third Test in Mohali yesterday. Pic/AFP
England players celebrate the wicket of Indian batsman Karun Nair during the third Test in Mohali yesterday. Pic/AFP

At 148 for 2 at tea on the second day, India appeared to be sitting pretty to dominate the Test match. But clichéd as it might sound, the glorious uncertainties of this game turned up to embarrass all, including Indian batting.

Cheteshwar Pujara out to a rank long-hop from Adil Rashid, was certainly not the best ball he had bowled all day. Ajinkya Rahane not reading a googly to be leg before and debutant Karun Nair run out for no fault of his, but a sharp piece of thinking and fielding by Jos Butler, made India eat humble pie.

Virat Kohli nibbling at a ball outside off stump and walking back would have pleased the England team who were searching for answers to dislodge the now ever so reliable Pujara-Kohli combination.

Earlier, England won the toss and looked like they would do to India what they did so well during the first Test match, put runs on the board. But some injudicious shot selection from their batsman didn't permit them to put up a score that would give India a sleepless night.

A total 283 was not good enough on a Day One Test match pitch. One would have thought the pitch had a lot to do with it, but England would know they had only themselves to be blamed for an ordinary score.

Kohli showed some intuitive leadership on Day One. The decision to give Jayant Yadav the ball ahead of the more celebrated couple of Ashwin and Jadeja may have been a gut-feel call, but it did work. England seemed to be suffering from inertia in the way they batted and threw away the advantage of an important toss.

England were nagging as a bowling unit on Day Two — nothing threatening. India have played England back into the game. The lower order of India will now have to decide if the game starts at par on a disintegrating pitch. Day Three could be the defining passage of play in this Test match.

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