The second test of the four test series being played between India and England at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, drew to a close on its fourth day, with India beating England by 317 runs to level the fight for the Anthony de Mello Trophy. The win came as a huge relief for India, especially after it lost the first test to England by 227 runs.
The cricket fans of India are following this test series closely because it is the first one that is being played at home since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. The series has been among the global initiatives to resume sports during the pandemic, and the rivalry between the two teams has made it a delight to watch it now. This match has been a delight to the Indian fans for a lot of reasons, which we shall look at now.
This was the second consecutive test that was played at Chennai on a pitch that was known for favouring the spinners. India won the toss and decided to bat. The hosts put up 329 on the board, riding on Rohit Sharma’s fine century and Rahane, and Pant’s half-centuries. Moeen Ali picked up four wickets and Olly Stone took three wickets. This was the seventh test century for Sharma. The English batsmen however could not survive for a long time on the pitch.
The highest score of their batsmen in the first innings was 42, and Ravichandran Ashwin picked up five wickets to limit their innings to 134. Ashwin scored a fine century in the third innings and Virat Kohli scored a half century in the same innings to propel the score to 286. England was faced with a target of 482 runs in the fourth innings with two days to spare on a tricky pitch. The team had strode into the match confident about winning after having won a series in Sri Lanka and the first test match against India. But the fourth innings saw yet another batting order collapse for England.
The visitors could only put up 164 on the board. None of the English players could score a half-century in the match. Moeen scored the highest in the fourth innings with a swashbuckling 43 out of 27 balls. The English captain, who has been in fine form as of late could not score much in either of the two innings. Debutant left-arm spinner Axar Patel’s five-for in the last innings and Ashwin’s three wickets kept England to 134.
Multiple Indian players have played an important part in the match. Ravichandran Ashwin has been capped as the man of the match because of his brilliant display with both the bat and the ball. This was the third time he scored a century and picked up a five-for in the same match. His fans however might be disappointed a bit because he finished with eight wickets, just two wickets away from the record of having picked up ten wickets and scoring a century in the same match.
Axar Patel has also had a very good match, having picked up five wickets on debut. The match also saw a brilliant display of wicket-keeping by Rishabh Pant. This was only the sixth match in the history of test cricket that featured five or more stumpings, and Pant also scored a valuable half-century in the first innings. On England’s side, both Moeen Ali and Jack Leach had good matches. Ali picked up eight wickets in the match while Leach had six dismissals to his name.
World Test Championship
This series is playing a major role in deciding which team shall qualify for the final of the inaugural version of the ICC World Test Championship that is supposed to be held at Lord’s in June this year. India has moved the rankings again, and need to win the series 2-1 or 3-1 to qualify for the test championship final. England has slid down the rankings, and needs to win the remaining two tests to qualify for the finals of the test championship.
Both the teams have been playing good cricket throughout the series. The fans of cricket have been liking the matches, and the resumption of test matches has been auguring well for the game. Given how the series has been going, one can hope that the rest of the two matches shall also promise equally exciting cricket to all fans.