Kohli drives home the advantage: Talking points as India take control of Nagpur Test

Ashish Peter 25/11/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
A quick-fire fifty from Kohli helped India drive home the advantage.

After having bowled out Sri Lanka for 25 runs in their first innings, India took complete control of the second Test between the two sides on day two at Nagpur.

Centuries from Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara broke the visitors’ resistance as only one wicket fell on Saturday after 11 were dismissed on the opening day.

The hosts were strongly placed at 312-2 by the time stumps were called at the Vidharbha Cricket Association stadium.

We look at the key talking points of an energy sapping day in the field for the islanders.

Vijay and Pujara put on fourth consecutive 100-run stand

The Vijay and Pujara combination for the second wicket has been a fruitful one for India in the past year and more. The two had put together eight century stands together before coming into the Nagpur Test along with three in succession.

Their mammoth 209-run stand on Saturday was their fourth 100-run plus partnership on the trot. Only four other batting pairs have achieved this feat before in Test cricket, catapulting Pujara and Vijay into a select club.

The duo have now added 2,548 runs between them for the second wicket in Test cricket for India, behind only Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag who have 2,610 runs to their name.

Pujara and Vijay now average 89.09 runs per completed partnership between themselves at home for India with three double-century stands to boot.

Pujara and Vijay have now put up nine century stands between themselves.

Pujara and Vijay have now put up nine century stands between themselves.

Marathon man Pujara set to bat in all eight days of the series so far

When stumps were called on Saturday, Pujara’s unbeaten ton meant that he had batted in all the seven days of the series so far. The 29-year-old had become the third Indian batsman to bat in all five days of a Test match during the first match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Such have been the circumstances in the series so far that the right-handed batsman will take the crease once again on Sunday, making it eight out of eight days that Pujara has batted in the series so far.

He had come in to bat at the end of day one after the fall of KL Rahul’s wicket and remained unbeaten on Saturday with a 121-run knock. It seems highly improbable that Pujara will be able to repeat his Kolkata feat but a Sri Lankan collapse in the second innings could yet open the door for that.

The right-hander became the third batsman to hit a 1000 runs in the calendar year on the back of his 14th Test century.

Virat Kohli drives home the advantage with quick-fire fifty

Vijay and Pujara wore out the Sri Lankan bowlers all day on the Nagpur track. After starting cautiously in the morning, the pair accelerated the rate of scoring in the afternoon session.

The visitors were sent on a leather hunt for the most part on the day as they found no reward for their persistence. The breakthrough finally came in the final session of the day when Vijay fell to veteran spinner Rangana Herath.

If Dinesh Chandimal’s men thought that the wicket would bring some respite they were grossly mistaken as Kohli put the tiring bowlers to the sword.

The right-hander was busy at the crease and his unbeaten 54 off just 70 balls meant India had almost accumulated a 100-run lead over Sri Lanka’s efforts in the second-day itself.

If Kohli continues in the same vein on Sunday, things could get ugly for the visitors.

Most popular

Related Tags

Australia v England - What we learned from thrilling day three of first Ashes Test

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Australia hold the edge over England after some late wickets.

England suddenly had to battle to stay in the match on day three of the Ashes after Steve Smith’s outstanding hundred helped to pile the pressure back on them at the Gabba.

Joe Root’s men did their utmost to frustrate Smith by drying up his run-scoring options, but he refused to be distracted for more than eight and a-half hours in his unbeaten 141 as Australia scrambled to 328 all out and a lead of 26.

England then made a miserable start to their second innings against Josh Hazlewood on the way to 33 for two, with the early loss of Alastair Cook for his second single-figure score in three days and then James Vince – unable to follow up his maiden Ashes half-century here.

Here, we look at the key talking points.

SHOT OF THE DAY

No doubt about this category, despite Smith’s outstanding innings. Mitchell Starc’s only scoring shot came from just his third delivery, and Stuart Broad’s second of a new spell with the second new ball. Marginally over-pitched, it disappeared over long-off to stun England’s attacking field.

Two balls later, though, Starc was gone caught-and-bowled to Broad for six off five.

STAT OF THE DAY

21.6 – Smith’s strike rate in the first hour as England strangled his progress with the old ball. It did not stop him in the long run, though.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 25: Steve Smith of Australia bats during day three of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at The Gabba on November 25, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Smith was in imperious form.

IS ANDERSON FIT?

If we take England at their word, and of course we should, then yes. Television cameras spotted a moment or two of pain, picked up too by their pundits – but the odd grimace is surely hardly surprising at some point during 29 his overs on an unresponsive pitch, including many to Smith.

Whatever his ailment, if any, England will be hoping he and others do not have too strenuous a workload left here – so that they can head to the result environment of the inaugural Ashes day-nighter in Adelaide next week with a full complement of seamers.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 25: James Anderson of England shows his frustration during day three of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at The Gabba on November 25, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Is Anderson carrying a knock?

TWEET OF THE DAY

“As good as it gets @stevesmith49 …. Unbelievable 100 … #Ashes,” – England’s former Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) is happy to give credit where it is due.

CUMMINS IS AN ALL-ROUNDER

Australia’s current number nine is one of the quickest bowlers in the world, and a fearsome prospect against England if he stays fit through this series. His career-best 42 was an invaluable contribution as the hosts scrambled towards their first-innings lead. More than that too, it was the innings of a batsman with a sound defence and shots. Cummins’ maiden half-century may well not be long delayed.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 25: Pat Cummins of Australia bats during day three of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at The Gabba on November 25, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Cummins provided handy runs down the order.

WHAT NEXT?

Spot of rain, apparently – which will be such a shame if it stops this fascinating match from reaching a fitting conclusion over the next two days.

Most popular

Related Tags

Unbeaten Smith century and late Hazlewood burst puts Australia in control

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Skipper Smith hit a masterful 141 not out.

England suddenly had to battle to stay in the match on day three of the Ashes after Steve Smith’s outstanding hundred helped to pile the pressure back on them at the Gabba.

Joe Root’s men did their utmost to frustrate Smith by drying up his run-scoring options, but he refused to be distracted for more than eight and a half hours in his unbeaten 141 as Australia scrambled to 328 all out and a lead of 26.

England then made a miserable start to their second innings against Josh Hazlewood on the way to 33 for two, with the early loss of Alastair Cook for his second single-figure score in three days and then James Vince – unable to follow up his maiden Ashes half-century here.

That was 17 for two, and only a run later still scoreless Root had his helmet rearranged by a brute of a bouncer into the side of the grille from Mitchell Starc.

A torrid time continued for the England captain and opener Mark Stoneman, as Pat Cummins also bowled a rapid and menacing spell up to stumps – but they stood firm.

Smith’s was a tour-de-force performance, entirely fitting of a home captain out to put his stamp on this Ashes series from the outset.

His opposite number, and England’s attack bowling to order, made him scrap for every run as they put a block on his options with a stalemate leg-side field and no leeway to hit through the off.
Smith was therefore restricted to just 17 runs before lunch and did not register his 50th of the day until the first ball after tea.

Australia's batsman Steve Smith celebrates his 100-runs on the third day of the first cricket Ashes Test between England and Australia in Brisbane on November 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Cruise control: Smith.

He refused to panic, though, and received very significant support.

It came first from Shaun Marsh (51), Australia’s returning number six who did the bulk of his work the previous evening but was a more than equal partner in a fifth-wicket partnership of 99 and completed his deserved half-century before a curious mis-drive at Stuart Broad (three for 49) to hole out at mid-off.

The second new ball then accounted for Tim Paine and Starc inside two overs.

Paine was very well-caught behind by Jonny Bairstow off James Anderson, and Starc followed a memorable six off Broad over long-off to get off the mark third ball by falling to his fifth when he poked a return chance back to the same bowler.

It was Cummins who did most to help Smith ensure the first innings lead, batting well above the pay grade of a number nine with organised defence and attacking flair to match until Chris Woakes broke his duck for the series when he had him edging to a tumbling Cook at second slip.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 25: Josh Hazlewood of Australia celebrates after taking the wicket of Alastair Cook of England during day three of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at The Gabba on November 25, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Josh Hazlewood made early inroads into England’s top order.

Smith still managed to engineer another 53 for the last two wickets and, after barely a false shot to any of his 326 balls, he was still in situ when Nathan Lyon was neatly caught at leg-slip by Cook off Root.

England had rarely looked like getting him out at any point on this untypically slow Brisbane surface.

Yet as soon as it was the tourists’ turn to face the new ball again, everything seemed to be happening too quickly for them.

Cook’s mode of dismissal, to a mishook to long-leg, was especially concerning – and then Vince came and went quickly, caught at second slip in the fashion many had predicted he might during this series.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 25: Josh Hazlewood of Australia celebrates taking the wicket of Alastair Cook of England during day three of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at The Gabba on November 25, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Cook again fell early.

Most popular

Related Tags