The IND vs ENG second Test at Chennai ended with an overwhelming victory for the hosts as they won by a huge margin of 317 runs. This Test also marked the return of the passionate Indian fans to the stadiums as the Chennai crowd was filled to its allowed capacity of 15,000 on all four days. Post this, England’s tour of India couldn’t have been set up better for the Pink ball Test at the new Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad.
It’s been a peculiar sort of a Test series so far as in both the Tests one team has been dominant from ball one of the match and has gone on to win almost all sessions of the game. The story of the IND vs ENG second Test was pretty much the same as the first Test but the surface on which the match was played was the pole opposite. This pitch turned sharply from the word go and led to many debates on various platforms. To England’s credit, they didn’t make the pitch the centre of discussion in their post-match thoughts and accepted that India outclassed them in all three departments, the same way England outplayed them in the first Test.
There were many subplots in this game which were worth exploring. We’ve narrowed them down to the top five that headlined the IND vs ENG second Test at the Chepauk.
LOCAL BOY STANDS UP BIG TIME
Ravichandran Ashwin, the Tamil superstar or ‘Ash Anna’ as he is fondly called in his hometown of Chennai, was quite extraordinary with both bat and ball. There were so many milestones Ashwin achieved in this match that we’ve actually lost count of them. He is soon approaching 400 wickets in Test cricket and is at the peak of his abilities with the ball. It is time that we acknowledge that we’re witnessing a modern great of our game and enjoy his cricket to the fullest. For his eight wickets in the match and a remarkable Test century which he will savour for a long time, R Ashwin was rightly awarded the Man of the Match in the second Test.
HITMAN PLAYS CRUCIAL KNOCK
Rohit Sharma was a bit under pressure coming into this match as the tour of Australia didn’t go exactly as planned for him personally and he struggled to make an impact in the first Test against England. But the class of Hitman came out flying on day one of the second Test. It seemed like he was batting on an entirely different surface than the other batsmen with the ease with which he was able to execute his strokeplay. His innings of 161 was so good that people thought the wicket was easy to bat on but the reality was far from it. This was one of the best knocks in his Test career and if Ashwin hadn’t done the heroics he achieved in this game, then Rohit Sharma would have easily been the game changer of this match.
RAHANE AND KOHLI OOZE CLASS
Sometimes 60s look so good that cricketers value them more than some of the hundreds they have scored in their careers. The same happened with both Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli in this game. The senior members of the squad have to put their hands up in situations when the team is in trouble, and both these batsmen did exactly that. Rahane’s technique against spin is always dissected by the experts in home conditions and some have given a verdict that it isn’t good enough. It was only fair of Rahane to come out on this rank turner and show these experts what his real character is all about, and his innings of 67 showed exactly that in the first innings.
Virat Kohli got out for a duck in the first innings when he was trying to play an extravagant cover drive off Moeen Ali’s bowling and the ball went through the gate to rattle his stumps. Virat, being the genius he is, came out in the second innings with a slight tweak to his technique to counter that and it resulted in a well-controlled 62 in conditions which seemed impossible to bat on.
5-FER ON DEBUT FOR AXAR PATEL
Axar Patel missed out on making his debut in the first Test against England due to a knee injury he picked up in training just before the match but the wait was worth it for the all-rounder as he flourished in the IND vs ENG second Test. He had a dream start with the ball as his first scalp was the in-form Joe Root who misjudged a sweep shot for a change. He did his part in the partnership with Ashwin with the ball in the first innings but in the second innings, he became lethal. The pitch was tailor-made for someone of his bowling abilities as a spinner. The pace at which he bowls was difficult to counter on that surface and the England batsmen struggled big-time against him. His five-wicket haul in the second innings will be remembered for a long time by the Indian fans.
TOO MUCH ROTATION A PROBLEM FOR ENGLAND?
After winning the first Test of the series, many expected England to carry the momentum in the second Test as well but they failed to deliver in the game. A lot of that has to do with the number of changes the team management made before the match. The England backroom staff has been very vocal about the workload management of their players, with so many marquee series coming up in this calendar year and the struggles of being in a bubble constantly. We can expect them to continue with this rotation policy as the mental side of the game for a long time has been ignored. However, many pundits believe that the visitors had lost the game even before a ball was bowled as they didn’t field their best XI for the second Test.
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