A thumping victory by India over England at Vizag

 Kohli Pujara

By Kersi Meher-Homji

The three musketeers of Indian cricket – skipper Virat Kohli, stylish batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and off-spinner Ravi Ashwin – have ensured that India keep winning Test matches and retain their number one Test ranking.

Kohli is making strong claims that he is the best captain / batsman India has produced in her 84 history of Test cricket.

After the first Test at Rajkot was drawn, India won the second Test in Visakhapatnam by a huge margin of 246 runs to lead 1-0 in the five Test series. This is their second highest Test victory over England. They had won by 279 runs at Headingley, Leeds in 1986.

It was heartening to watch four England-born Muslim players in the England side; all-rounder Moeen Ali, leg-spinner Adil Rashid, 19 year-old opening batsman Haseeb Hameed and slow left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari.

India amassed 455 runs thanks to a 226 run stand for the third wicket by Pujara (119) and Kohli (167). Ashwin also chimed in with 58 and debutant Jayant Yadav 35.

Then Ashwin captured 5 for 67 and England was bowled out for 255 to trail India by 200 runs.

Now the pitch was taking spin and England’s leg-spinner Rashid and tall quickie Stuart Broad took four wickets each and India struggled to 204. Kohli was the only batsman to bat with confidence.

Needing a near impossible 405 runs to win, England defended as if their life depended on it. But once their opening batsman and captain Alastair Cook and elegant batsman Joe Root were dismissed England was all out for 158 to lose by 246 runs. Ashwin and newcomer Jayant Yadav were the destroyers taking three wickets each.

For scoring 167 and 81 runs, Kohli was adjudged Man of the Match.

Pujara has an achievement to cherish. So far he has scored centuries in three successive Tests; against New Zealand at Indore and against England at Rajkot and Visakhapatnam. Many have achieved this, Don Bradman leading with centuries in six successive Tests many decades ago. What makes Pujara’s achievement unique is that these three venues were staging their first Tests.

 

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