Some magnificent batting from Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar has helped India build an 89-run lead on day 2 of the fourth Test after England had fought back some control in the first two sessions.
Pant brought out some outrageous shots in his third Test century, while Sundar played second fiddle during their partnership but pressed on once the wicket-keeper batsman had been dismissed.
Joe Root’s side started the day needing to take early wickets and they did just that. Jack Leach removed Cheteshwar Pujara for the fourth time in the series by trapping him in front – meaning he could equal the record held by Pat Cummins in the fourth innings.
Most dismissals of Cheteshwar Pujara in a Test series:
5 – Pat Cummins, 2020/21 in Australia
4 – Jack Leach, 2021 in India#INDvENG
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) March 5, 2021
It was another short spell at the crease for Virat Kohli as Ben Stokes got one to fly up off the pitch and the India skipper nicked it through to Ben Foakes – that will no doubt have pleased the all-rounder after the pair’s debate yesterday.
Jimmy Anderson was the next man to strike as Ajinkya Rahane nicked to Stokes at slip to cap off a fantastic morning session for England, who had taken three wickets for 56 runs to leave their hosts 80/4.
Rohit Sharma and Pant’s partnership had just started to look a little ominous after lunch before Stokesy – who put in yet another herculean effort in the searing heat in Ahmedabad – got one to hoop in dramatically and had the former LBW.
Ex-India player Gautam Gambhir was full of praise for the Durham man, labelling him the best all-rounder in the world. No arguments here!
🗣️'I genuinely believe that Ben Stokes is the best all rounder in the world'
— Channel 4 Sport (@C4Sport) March 5, 2021
Ravi Ashwin was unable to repeat his heroics with the bat from earlier in the series as he was caught by Ollie Pope off the bowling of Leach.
Dom Bess could well have had Pant just before tea as he got one to grip and strike him on the back leg. It was given not out, a decision that was millimetres away from being overturned via a review.
That would prove pivotal because India’s explosive wicket-keeper batsman played a remarkable innings with his barrage after England had taken the second new ball particularly impressive. Rarely, if ever, have we seen someone reverse-ramping Jimmy with the new ball!
— simon hughes (@theanalyst) March 5, 2021
He reached his third Test century before Jimmy got his man with a jubilant and relieved Root taking the catch.
The determination, effort, and fight that England showed in the heat in Ahmedabad today cannot be underestimated and the impact of it was there to see late on in the day, with Sundar and Axar Patel taking India to 294/7 by stumps.
The lead stays at just 89, though, and with India having to bat last on this pitch the game is by no means out of reach for Root’s side.
The momentum has swung so many times in this Test and this series, so if they can wrap things up quickly tomorrow and bat well then there’s no doubt they can pull themselves back into the game.
You certainly wouldn’t bet against them doing just that.