India v England: Defeat leaves England facing uphill battle

India's Mohammed Shami, left, celebrates the dismissal of England's Adil Rashid
India's Mohammed Shami, left, celebrates the dismissal of England's Adil Rashid
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England’s second Test fightback faded fast on the final day in Vizag as they descended to a 246-run defeat to go 1-0 down in the five-match series against India.

England began with eight wickets left to last three sessions but could get only as far as early afternoon before they were done in the dust, all out for 158 as Ravi Ashwin (3-52) finished with eight wickets in the match.

Five fell before lunch, in an England collapse which eventually amounted to all 10 for 83 once Ashwin broke Alastair Cook and Haseeb Hameed’s admirable opening stand on Sunday evening.

England’s determination and skill over the past two days therefore came to nought, and they must contemplate how to restate their case and try to level the scores again in the third Test in Mohali at the end of this week.

Sadly for them, the damage was done here after their discipline with the ball in the first innings fell short of the very high standards they set in the previous week’s drawn Test in Rajkot. They then lurched to 80-5 on the second evening in reply to 455.

They did well from there to concede ‘only’ a 200-run deficit, but it was still a debilitating one.

England therefore arrived on a mission improbable to salvage a stalemate on the last morning and it was not long before the odds lengthened still further.

India’s spinners zipped through 20 overs in the first hour and it was apparent England would have to negotiate significantly more than the scheduled minimum 90 if they were to frustrate their hosts.

By lunch, however, that factor was already largely irrelevant.

Joe Root was unbeaten overnight and England’s best hope to keep India at bay.

He soon had two early scares against Ashwin, either side of Ben Duckett’s departure for nought.

On nine, Root guided an off-break just past the right hand of Virat Kohli at leg slip - a poor percentage shot, fortunately not terminal.

Duckett’s luck was out, however, when he aimed a sweep at Ashwin and managed only a glove on to his thigh which looped up for a simple caught behind.

Then on 11, Root was given out caught behind too but had a review up his sleeve which proved there was no edge on a ball which went on with the arm.

England’s hundred came up in the 70th over but soon afterwards they were minus Moeen Ali to a thick inside-edge pushing forward, as Ravindra Jadeja found extra bounce for an easy catch at leg gully.

England were facing a national record target of 405 to win, but that statistic had long become academic.

Soon, all realistic hope of a successful rearguard was gone too.

Ben Stokes’ dismissal swiftly followed, bowled by Jayant Yadav’s perfectly-pitched off-break drifting in from round the wicket and turning sharply enough to beat the backward defence and take the off bail.

Mohammad Shami then struck twice before lunch too.

He ended Root’s vigil on 25 from 107 balls, pinning him in front with an in-swinger, and had Adil Rashid flailing an edge behind off a short ball.

Ashwin bowled Zafar Ansari with a flat off-break which kept low in the second over of the afternoon, and the end was nigh when Jayant (three for 30) had Stuart Broad lbw sweeping.

Appropriately, England’s ninth lbw departure of the match completed the process as James Anderson fell for a king pair to Jayant to leave Jonnny Bairstow stranded on 34 not out.