England go past 350 as India left searching for answers at Lunch

Joe Root went past 150 on Day 2

India went wicketless in first session of Day 2 of the first Test, as the bowlers struggled against the England batsmen. Although the hosts missed a couple of tough chances, they would be hopeful of a wicket soon, with the pitch showing some variable bounce

The England batters look supremely comfortable at the crease and look set to post a big first innings total. Ben Stokes’ aggression and Joe Root’s composure saw the visitors negotiate a tough session, where they faced challenges from both the pitch as well as the Indian bowlers.

Brief scores: England 355/3 (Joe Root 156*, Ben Stokes 63*) against India (Jasprit Bumrah 2/57, Ravichandran Ashwin 1/92) after 119 overs

England started Day 2 just like Day 1, patiently settling themselves in. Joe Root picked up from where he left, while Ben Stokes showed no signs of ring rust after coming back into the side. 

India started the day with their two best bowlers. Jasprit Bumrah was right on the money and was unlucky to not get a wicket with a searing yorker, with Ben Stokes somehow digging the ball out. 

Ravichandran Ashwin started in promising fashion as well, and in encouraging signs, got some turn off the rough. But that didn’t stop Ben Stokes from taking on India’s premier spinner, pounding him for a six down the ground. Ashwin has dismissed Stokes the most times in Tests, but the English all-rounder was confident against the off-spinner all morning. 

The early pressure didn’t get India a wicket though, as the first 10 overs saw England score 20 runs. The hosts’ desperation got evident as Stokes and Root started scoring freely soon. 

India lost a couple of reviews in a matter of balls. The first one saw Ben Stokes survive a LBW appeal, with replays showing the ball hitting his glove. The home team lost another review after Shahbaz Nadeem’s delivery was adjudged to have been going over the stumps. 

India’s left-arm spinner was much better on Day 2 though. He used the rough to trouble Ben Stokes, with the all-rounder counter-attacking to nullify the bounce.

That brought a few chances, albeit tough ones, which India couldn’t hold on to. Ashwin could only get his right hand to the ball after Ben Stokes drilled one straight back to the bowler. Cheteshwar Pujara did something similar at mid-wicket, but the ball didn’t stick in his left hand. 

Stokes’ resilience paid off as he reached his 50 in 73 balls. England would now look to pick up the pace after Lunch. Stokes, in particular, looks dangerous, with the all-rounder hitting his way out of trouble when tested by the Indian spinners.

India have to find a way to break the Root-Stokes stand. With the bowlers tiring out on the placid pitch, Virat Kohli will hope the footmarks get more pronounced to help his spinners. 

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