Former England legendary all-rounder Sir Ian Botham believes the Ageas Bowl pitch is ideal for Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid. In fact, Moeen Ali continued his dream form going while playing against India at Rosel Bowl, Southampton.
The off-spinning all-rounder scalped a perfect five-for to get England back into the game. India was cruising at one stage with 142 for 2. However, Ali was able to break the spine of the Indian middle order.
The pitch will definitely assist the spinners.
Thus, the tourists went down from 142 for 2 to 195 for 8, losing six wickets for just 53 runs. In fact, Moeen Ali has performed brilliantly while playing at this venue against India. In 2014, Ali had taken eight wickets in the third Test match against India. Subsequently, Moeen Ali has scalped 13 wickets at an average of 14 at this venue.
Meanwhile, the Ageas Bowl track is starting to break out. Therefore, the spinners will come into action. There is enough assistance for the spinners. Furthermore, they can make use the footmarks of the pacers.
“At the Ageas Bowl Moeen’s record is very good, he took 6-67 against India here in 2014, which was where he took his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket. He gives you a bit of stability, and this is a perfect pitch for both Moeen and Adil Rashid to bowl on. As the game goes on, the two of them will bowl more and for England,” Ian Botham was quoted as saying in his column for the Sky Sports.
Sir Ian Botham went on to praise Cheteshwar Pujara who scored his maiden century in the England conditions. Pujara scored an unbeaten 132 which helped India in taking a lead of 27 runs. Thus, Pujara was able to rescue the Indian team out of troubled waters.
Pujara was able to get India out of trouble.
“These are the first runs Cheteshwar Pujara’s got this summer, he had never scored a hundred in England before his unbeaten 132 which helped India earn a 27-run lead and his only previous century outside of Asia was the 150 he hit against South Africa in Johannesburg.
“Pujara has worked hard. We know he’s a very good batsman, we watched him in India when he scored two centuries in each of the series in 2012 and 2016 against England, so it is no real surprise to me that he has got runs.
I think he will be delighted because he was under the cosh and was left out of the first Test match, but like all good players who get left out, he went and worked on his game and has come back and put things right,” Botham wrote in his column.
The match is evenly placed as India currently leads by 21 runs. The third day will be decisive and it would be interesting to note which way the advantage pendulum will swing.