India v England Day 1: Crowds return & umpire controversy - Barmy Army Menu
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India v England Day 1: Crowds return & umpire controversy

India are 300/6 at the end of an engaging and action-packed first day of the second Test in Chennai and representatives of the Barmy Army were inside the stadium to take in the action!

Our Sri Lanka correspondent Randy Caddick did a fantastic job representing us from the Galle Fort last month but with half-capacity crowds allowed inside stadiums for the second Test, Barmy Army members were at the ground – a banner in hand – to roar on Joe Root’s men.

England made three changes from the first Test with Olly Stone, Stuart Broad, and Moeen Ali coming in for Jofra Archer, Jimmy Anderson, and Dom Bess.

Unfortunately, this time around Rooty lost the toss, and on a pitch that is already playing as if it is day 4 that has made things difficult for the tourists.

The day started with a rendition of Jerusalem, with Joe Phelan and co. delivering it from the stands, and they were quickly rewarded as Stone removed Shubman Gill inside the second over of the day.

When Jack Leach had Cheteshwar Pujara caught by Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali brilliantly bowled Virat Kohli just before Lunch, it looked like a strong morning session for Root’s side.

The Indian captain was left in a state of shock by his dismissal and didn’t seem to want to leave the crease.

But Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane fought back in the afternoon session, with the former making 161 before he was eventually caught by Mo off the bowling of Leach. One brought two for England as Mo struck for a second time, this time rearranging Rahane’s stumps.

Both Sharma and Rahane should have been back in the pavilion earlier than they were, however, as two frustrating decisions by the third umpire gave them both lifelines.

Some quick glovework by Ben Foakes appeared to have Sharma stumped on 159 but it was given not out (though as Simon Hughes illustrates below there didn’t look to be anything behind the line), and then Rahane gloved one but the third umpire didn’t properly check for contact after the ball had missed the inside edge – despite England protesting on the field.

Those incidents only increased the intensity of a game that was clearly benefitting from the return of the Indian crowd and a few members of the Barmy Army.

Root struck himself just before the close as Ravi Ashwin – who will no doubt be licking his lips after seeing the way the ball turned and bounced today – offered a catch up to Ollie Pope at short leg.

Rishabh Pant and debutant Axar Patel pushed India’s score to 300 by the close with six wickets down, England will know just how important it is that they take the final four wickets cheaply and don’t let the game get away from them.

The morning session is going to be absolutely huge, there’s no doubt about that. See you bright and early, then!