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IND vs ENG 2016 2nd Test: ‘Even if You Play Defensive It Is Not Easy To Bat On This Wicket’

If there is one team that has been able to give India a run for their money in their own backyard in this decade, it is England. While the other teams have struggled even to play the Indian spinners, Alastair Cook’s men won a series in India in 2012 and started this series in a similar fashion when they put the hosts under immense pressure in the opening Test.

Virat Kohli’s men have now roared back to form in the ongoing second Test and have set an improbable target of 405 runs. With the Vizag pitch deteriorating with every passing over and offering variable bounce, it was widely expected that the Indian spinners would make light work of the visitors. But proving everyone wrong,Alastair Cook and Haseeb Hameed played 302 balls between them for 75 runs. However, India clawed their way back in the match right towards the end when Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Hameed and Ravindra Jadeja had Cook in the very last over of the day.

Speaking to the media after the day’s play, Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said that the hosts were happy with the way the day finished.

Pujara said: “We are happy with the way things went. We got two wickets, we knew it would not be easy to get them out. We had our plans and ultimately we achieved. Possibly day five won’t be easy to bat on. We have seen cracks are opening up.”

With the Indian team failing to get the much-needed breakthrough, the Indian team wasted both of their reviews in consecutive overs. The incident once again raised questions on India’s experience in the DRS, but Pujara quashed all those speculations by saying that the decisions were taken only because the hosts were desperate to get a wicket.

“I think it was the right call [to opt for DRS] because we wanted to get wickets,” Pujara said. “There were a couple of close calls where we felt that if we got some wickets and obviously all of us decided, especially the guys who are close-in to the wicket, they felt that on a couple of occasions, it was a close call and then we opted for DRS. I think it was the right call because if it had been in favour of us, we would have got a couple of more wickets, you never know.

The Indian team, which has always expressed its reservations over the DRS, finally agreed to use the system on a trial basis in this series. When asked whether the team is well capable of handling the technology, Pujara said:“We are clear about that. Before DRS was implemented, we all sat together. We discussed how we want to take calls when we opt for the review, especially when on the field, as a fielding unit. When the bowlers will opt for DRS and even when we are batting, we have a clear plan, especially both batsmen will decide whether to take DRS or not. As a team, we are very clear about it.”

The Saurashtra batsman also heaped praise on Haseeb Hameed who played 144 balls for his 25 runs.Hameed’s fighting innings was finally ended when an Ashwin delivery kept very low and hit the youngster on the pad.

“Overall, he [Hameed] is a good player and he is really impressive. The way he has started off is really impressive,” Pujara said.

“But the way he got out, I don’t think it was unfortunate because sometimes in India, you expect balls to keep low and somehow you have to adjust. Especially on day four, obviously spinners will get turn and bounce and sometimes the odd-ball will stay low.”

The right-handed batsman, who scored a century in the first innings of the Test, said that adopting a defensive approach would not be a good idea on a pitch that has variable bounce.

“Here if you play defensive also, it is not very easy. I believe this wicket is such that if you play defensive, it is slightly difficult to get a batsman out but still as we saw today, there is a low bounce. One or two balls from Ashwin bounced, from the rough Jaddu [Jadeja] was able to get a lot of bounce. Even if you play defensive also it is not easy, I don’t think it will be an easy task to bat on this wicket.”

The visitors finished the day on 87 for 2, still needing 318 runs to register an improbable win.

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India Poised To Win Second Test: Pujara

Visakhapatnam, Nov 20 (IANS) Star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara on Sunday asserted that India were well poised to win the ongoing second cricket Test as England will not find it easy to chase the 405-run target on the fifth and final day.

India were all out for 204 runs in their second innings on the fourth day, setting a victory target of 405 runs for England.

The visitors lost openers Alistair Cook and Haseeb Hameed to post 87/2 by the end of the day. They are currently trailing by 318 runs.

“When you have 400 runs on the board it is not easy to chase in India. Chasing 400 runs on day four and five is always difficult. Not many teams have done that. So I don’t think England will find it easy to manage that,” Pujara told reporters after the end of the day’s play on Sunday.

“We definitely have a very good chance so we will go hard tomorrow.”

The spinners were able to extract good amount of turn on the penultimate day while the occasional ball kept low, causing a lot of problems for the batsmen.

With the pitch also developing a few cracks, Pujara felt that the England batsmen will have their task cut out for them on the final day.

“Obviously, when we are playing in India we expect the ball to keep low. Even if you bat defensively on this track, it will not be easy. Like we saw today, the ball is keeping low sometimes. So even if they try to be defensive, I don’t think it will be an easy task,” the right-hand batsman said.

“We have very clear plans. It will be a tough day for them. But things won’t come easy for us also. We know that. So we won’t take things for granted. We will definitely have to come hard at them. We are prepared for it.

“When it comes to Test cricket as a team we are prepared to be in a situation where we have to work hard for our wickets,” he added.

The 28-year-old asserted that the Indians are happy with their performance on Sunday as they have managed to implement most of their strategy and have taken the upper hand.

“We are happy with the way things went. We got two wickets. We knew that it won’t be easy to get them out. But we had our plans and we knew what we wanted to do. Ultimately we achieved what we wanted.

“We got two wickets at the end of the day. I don’t think day five will be easy to bat on. Cracks are opening up and it will be difficult. Even day three third session was difficult. So I feel it won’t be an easy wicket to bat on,” Pujara said.

The ongoing series is the first time that the Indian team have agreed to use the much-debated Decision Review System (DRS). Pujara revealed that the Indian team management have devised extensive plans on how to utilise the DS to their advantage.

“We all sat together and decided how we should take calls on the DRS. Specially when we are fielding. The bowlers will call for the DRS and even when we are batting, we have a clear plan. Specially both the batsmen will decide whether to take the review or not. So as a team we are very clear about it,” he said.

Dean Jones, India vs Australia 2019
Dean Jones (Image Credit: Getty Images)
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There Is A Bit Of Viru In Virat Kohli: Dean Jones

Former Australian batsman, Dean Jones, who shared a light moment with Virender Sehwag during the first Test match between India and England, has made a strong observation about Virat Kohli as the 55-year old cricketer turned commentator and coach, has found certain portion of Kohli similar with the explosive batsman Virender Sehwag, “There is a bit of Viru [Virender Sehwag] in him. Perhaps he has a slight weakness outside the off-stump in certain conditions but he is getting over that,” he says during a chat with the Hindu.

This is the first time when someone has made this quite observation about him. Further saying about Joe Root he says, “Root is organised, technically pleasing. It’s been a fascinating journey so far for both Kohli and Root.”

“If you look at the Fab Five of the present times, Kohli, Root, AB de Villiers, Kane Willamson and Steve Smith, they all go back and across much like what Don Bradman or Brian Lara did. So in some ways, we are returning to the old school of batting,” he added. But there is something new about this as we always talk about fab four but Jones has added AB de Villiers to this list as well. Yes, he is a talented personnel but his age is something which separates him from these players.

Further, praising Chetshwar Pujara he says “He is disciplined at the crease, builds his innings.”

He also showered praises on in-form all-rounder R. Ashwin and further said, “In these conditions, Ashwin is very, very hard to play. His record here speaks for itself. But he has gone for plenty of runs with far lesser wickets on good, true pitches. That’s an aspect of his cricket he needs to work on. He has to plan his dismissals on good tracks, set batsmen up.”

“So many decisions are given off the front foot because of DRS. Batsmen these days are scared to come to the front foot since they could be struck on the pads. So they stay within the crease. It has affected footwork.”

These words of praise from Dean Jones will be a big boost for Indin players who, despite good performance are England are unable to really suppress them the way they wanted to do so.

I Enjoyed Batting With Virat Kohli: Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara is going through a purple patch right now. After piling up runs in the Duleep Trophy and the Test series  against New Zealand, the right-handed batsman has continued his red-hot form in the ongoing England series too. However, there has been a slight change in his batting that has caught everyone’s attention and that is his conversion rate. During the New Zealand series, he got out after scoring fifties thrice before finally converting a good start into a century in the final Test. And it seemed he has learned his lessons from that series and has scored two back to back centuries in the ongoing series.

When the Saurashtra batsman was asked about whether he made some changes to his technique to capitalise on the good starts, he said:“I have not changed much as far as technique is concerned. It’s just the intent. The way I started off against New Zealand I was just missing out on 100s. I spoke to Anil bhai and he told me ‘there’s nothing wrong in the way I’m batting. Probably the area which I can improve is the ‘intent’ and that’s what I worked on.”.

Pujara was joined by his captain in the middle when the hosts were tottering at 22 for 2 but both of them added 226 runs to take India to a strong position. In the process, both of them completed their surprises. But one thing that caught everyone’s attention was Pujara’s batting. Known for playing slowly, the batsman surprisingly outpaced Kohli on various occasions and completed his century with a six over midwicket.

Speaking over that, he said:“Completing hundred with a six was special to me. As I started well in the first Test and getting a century at home was special to me. I just wanted to continue my form and wanted to capitalise.Myself and Virat wanted to build a partnership and it’s a crucial one for the team.”

Pujara hit two sixes during his knock of 119 runs while Kohli, who is unbeaten on 151, has still not hit a single maximum.

When asked about Kohli’s approach, he said:“There was one error where he did not control the pull shot well. The way he was batting and judging the bounce we felt if we could continue rotating the strike it would become easy as we both of us were in control.”

He also heaped praise on his captain by saying: “He (Virat) likes to play his shots. I always enjoy batting with him. He likes to dominate. We just wanted to capitalise on the situation. I enjoyed batting with him.”

When asked about the pitch, he said: “Day one is always good for batting in India. I don’t know how it will shape tomorrow. We are looking to put up a good total. It may turn a bit more from day two.”

Indian skipper Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring his 150 runs in the first innings of the second Test match against England.
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5 Talking Points from India Domination Of England on Day 1

India has taken the charge on the first day of the second test at Visakhapatnam against England as centuries from Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara has seen the team in a commendable position at the end of day’s play.

India finished the day at 317/4 at the end of Day 1 as they are on course to post a massive total which could be trickier for England in the coming days.

Here we look at five talking points from the game after the first day.

#1. Gautam Gambhir’s Exclusion

One of the major talking point at the start of second test is the exclusion of experiences Gautam Gambhir who has looked impressive but failed to make a huge impact in the last two tests. The southpaw had to make way to KL Rahul who has gone in the very first over which added pressure on the team.

#2. England spinners’ ineffectiveness

The English spinners have looked far more dominant than their Indian counterparts in the first test at Rajkot. However, they were put at bay by the Indian batsmen especially by Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara who has taken the charge to them throughout the day which had not helped them to settle. Little assistance from the pitch meant they remained largely ineffective throughout the day.

#3. Pujara- The New Dependable player?

Despite coming to the crease in the very first over of the game, Cheteshwar Pujara has shown the temperament that a No.3 should have as he was able to reconstruct Indian innings along with Virat Kohli as the openers were dismissed for just 26 within 6 overs.

The right-hander has scored his third century in last three tests and have made a brilliant double century stand with Virat Kohli before he was dismissed for 119.

#4. James Anderson spell

The veteran bowler has been ruled off over his effectiveness over Indian pitches with his recent dip of form. But the 34-year old has been at his best in the day’s play as he created problems for all the players on regular basis.

He has managed to pick up three wickets out of four wickets that fell in the day’s play. He was used in short spells by Cook and has been effective in his spells throughout the day.

#5. Virat Kohli’s brilliance

The Indian skipper is slowly becoming more and more reliable in the longest format as well as he has finished the day at 151* and has looked very confident in the middle. The 28-year old has formed a brilliant partnership with Pujara which has put the Indian innings back on track.

Kohli could reach his third double century this year if he manages to keep his cool head going when the day resumes tomorrow.

pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara's ton helped India recover after an early morning stutter.
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Hopefully There’ll Be More Cracks From Day 2, Says Vizag Test Centurion Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored a century on Day 1 of the Vizag Test vs England, believes the wicket will provide more assistance to the bowlers by the end of second day with the cracks likely to open up.

India, who won the toss and choose to bat first, made the best of their chance as two of their top-order batsmen Pujara and Virat Kohli notched up hundreds and put the hosts in a commanding position at stumps.

Talking about his own knock, Pujara seemed optimistic as always and showed how glad he was after adding yet another ton to his name.

“Really happy how the series has begun for me. Wanted to build on that Rajkot hundred. We wanted to build a partnership. We wanted to bat through the session. The way we started we were rotating the strike. He was timing the ball well, and I was confident after the 100”.

Pressing on the fact that the pitch won’t be the same from Day 2 onwards, Pujara mentioned that Rajkot wicket was much more faster than this one. Calling this as a comparatively slower track, Pujara said the spinners will get help the following day itself as the cracks are likely to widen.

“This one is slower than Rajkot. I see more rough on both sides of the pitch. There might be a little more help for off-spinners as the game progresses. Hopefully there will be more cracks on it by the end of the second day. We would like to put up a big score, and hopefully we don’t need to bat again,” Pujara concluded.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring his 150 runs in the first innings of the second Test match against England.
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IND vs ENG 2016: Virat Kohli Scores 151* As India Dominates Day 1 Of Vizag Test

Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 151 and Cheteshwar Pujara’s 119 helped India grab honors on Day 1 of the Vizag Test vs England.

Skipper Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first on a dusty wicket which looks promising to deliver a result.

India did not get off to a great start as they lost Lokesh Rahul – who was included in place of opener Gautam Gambhir – for just naught and Murali Vijay in quick succession. Within first five overs, the host were reduced to 22/2. Stuart Broad and the comeback man James Anderson were among the wicket-takers for the visitors.

Came into bat next was India’s in-form batsman Chesteshwar Pujara and Kohli himself. It wasn’t much long before misunderstanding between the pair raised few concerns in the Indian dressing room. Fortunately, due to some sloppy attempts, the visitors denied themselves a chance to get an important break-through. At lunch, India stood tall at 92/2.

Post first session, the pair then went on for an onslaught, slamming poor deliveries for boundaries and dodging the good ones, making sure they don’t lose a wicket. In no time, both of them reached their fifties and were then eyeing the triple-digit. Soon, Virat Kohli was gifted a chance after a shot ball from Ben Stokes, that was pulled poorly, went straight up in the air but couldn’t find the safe hands of Adil Rashid. The hosts went into tea at 210/2.

Minutes after the third session, Pujara brought up his 10th hundred and that too in style, smacking Adil Rashid over mid-wicket for a maximum. Moments later, Kohli too held his head high as he completed his 14th century, 7th as a captain and second vs England.

Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara raise his bat after scoring a hundred against England in the second Test.
Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara raise his bat after scoring a hundred against England in the second Test.

Anderson, England’s highest wicket-taker in white jersey, got a breakthrough as he dismissed Pujara for 119, breaking the massive 226-run partnership. Kohli then joined hands with Ajinkya Rahane to proceed the innings. The duo played really well as the odd boundary was coming in without much trouble. Rahane, after scoring 23, nicked one off Anderson, granting him his third wicket of the innings. Before the end of the day’s play, captain Kohli brought up his 150, and along with Ravichandran Ashwin stayed not out till stumps.

India ended day one on 317/4; Virat Kohli 151*(241), Cheteshwar Pujara 119(204), James Anderson 3/44.

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IND vs ENG 2016, 2nd Test: Twitter Reacts As Virat Kohli-Led India Put Visitors On Back Foot

Riding on Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara’s brilliant centuries, India finished the Day 1 of the Vizag Test on 317/4.

Earlier, skipper Kohli won the toss and opted to bat on a pitch that’s been tipped to provide turn right from the second day of the match. However, the Indian openers did not justify their captain’s call and were dismissed cheaply. KL Rahul, who returned after recovering from a hamstring injury, had a forgettable comeback as he was dismissed for a duck by Stuart Broad. Few overs later, the hosts suffered a bigger setback when in-form batsman Murali Vijay returned to pavilion. But that was probably the last time the English players were seen smiling as Kohli and Pujara sent them on a leather hunt. The duo added 226 runs to steady the ship and set the platform for a big score. In process, both players completed their tons. The partnership was finally broken when Pujara (119) edged a James Anderson delivery to the wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow. However, the dismissal did not affect Kohli and he continued to dominate England bowlers and well supported by Ajinkya Rahane. With a breakthrough desperately needed, English captain Alastair Cook took the new ball after the 88th over and it worked instantly as Rahane was dismissed by Anderson in the penultimate over of the day. Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin then saw off the remaining overs.

Kohli finished the day on 151 while his Ashwin remained unbeaten on one.

Here is how Twitter reacted to the day’s play:

https://twitter.com/cricketworms/status/799171540407357441?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

https://twitter.com/ghaintbanda/status/799183228498128896?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

 

 

 

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IND vs ENG, 2016 2nd Test: Twitterati Reacts To Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara’s Brilliant Tons

India were reeling at 22 for 2 in the second Test against England when skipper Virat Kohli joined forces with Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle. The two batsmen have now taken India to a strong position in the match by scoring centuries.

KL Rahul, who was recalled to the playing eleven in place of Gautam Gambhir, had a terrible comeback as he was dismissed even without opening his account. After failing to impress in the first Test at Rajkot, it was the worst possible start for the hosts. Few overs later, they suffered a bigger setback when first match centurion Murali Vijay was dismissed by James Anderson with only 22 on the scoreboard. Another wicket would have deteriorated the conditions for Kohli’s men but then two of India’s batting mainstays joined hands to start the rescue work. Kohli along with Pujara steadied the ship with a brilliant partnership. Last heard, India were for 231 for 2 with the duo adding 209 runs for the third wicket. Both players mixed caution with aggression and matched each other stroke by stroke. In fact, Pujara outpaced his partner on several occasions much to the surprise of everyone.

Last heard, Kohli, who is playing his 50th Test today, was batting on 101 while first match centurion Pujara was batting on 109.

Here is how Twitter reacted to their brilliant batting:

https://twitter.com/cool_nikkki/status/799180475856289792

https://twitter.com/Dead_Comedian/status/799182474978869248

https://twitter.com/ghaintbanda/status/799183228498128896

 

India's Virat Kohli plays a shot during the first day of the second Test cricket match between India and England at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Vishakhapatnam on November 17, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH / ----IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE----- / GETTYOUT
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India vs England: Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara Lead India Recovery at Vizag

Really it’s a matter of surprise that everyone is busy talking about the opening partner of Alastair Cook since the year 2012, but none of them has noticed about the poor and horrific form of Indian opening pair since the year 2013.

It was in the year 2015 against Bangladesh when Indian openers shared 100 runs for the first wicket. Before this, it came in the year 2013 when Murali Vijay and Chetshwar Pujara shared 100 runs against Australia. Indian opening failures have been the case from past many years abut have been unheard and unnoticed due to unknown reasons.

Today, in hope of turning the things in favour of the Indian team, Captain Virat Kohli called in KL Rahul in place of Gautam Gambhir but the results were the same, a non-sense shot to bring an end to the innings at the score of 0. Known for is the aggressive style of play, KL Rahul poked to an outside off delivery, looking to open his account with  a drive but that took an edge of his bat before resting safely in hands of Ben Stokes at slips. KL Rahul was dumbstruck, he would not have asked for this on his return but that was the reality which will now force him to bat carefully in the next innings which he plays.

Soon after eclipsing the milestone of the 3000-run mark in Test cricket, Murali Vijay followed KL Rahul after James Anderson took him by surprise by a bouncer, which made a contact with Vijay’s bat, before, again resting at in safe pair of hands of Ben Stokes. The opening pair of the Indian team was back in the pavilion of with the completion of 5 overs with bowlers getting no or little assistance from the pitch. It was a normal delivery from Stuart Broad on which KL Rahul gifted his wicket and it was an extraordinary ball from Anderson which provided England with a wicket. The pitch had no role to play in both the cases.

The responsibility to carry the team to safety was again on the wall-in-construction Chetehwar Pujara and Skipper Virat Kohli to give some positive vibes to the Indian team, which erstwhile have been pushed into a pit by England bowlers. They started off well taking singles giving no chance to England bowlers. Slowly, they opened their arms and were hitting occasional boundaries, especially Virat Kohli.

Just like Indian skipper did in the last game, Alastair Cook invited his spinner to roll his arm in 11th over of the day but this time, a responsible Pujara and a vigilant Virat Kohli decided not to experiment anything new giving no chance to the bowler.

Though in between, there was a small mix-up between Virat Kohli and Chetshwar Pujara which could have resulted in the wicket of Pujara as he ran half way down the crease without getting any signal from Virat Kohli. On his race back to the crease, he even lost his bat but soon dived to full to cover the distance, followed by a deep breath to realise that things are normal now. But Virat Kohli was not at all amused with this and was upset by his partner.

Still, it can be said that Indian team made a timely and lively recovery and shared the session with England team by scoring 92 runs in the first session at the loss of two wickets. Both the batsmen will have a responsibility to bat as long as they can to keep the team on a safe track to post a huge total on the board.

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