If England had something to cheer for in the first session, they had absolutely nothing in the second after Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara sent their bowlers on a leather hunt to help India post 210 for 2 at Tea on the first day of the second Test in Visakhapatnam on Thursday (November 17).
The signs were ominous when Kohli clipped the first ball of the session past mid-on for a boundary. Even though England slipped in a few quite overs after that, both batsmen reached their half-centuries and went on a scoring spree post that.
Moeen Ali, who was finally brought into the attack in the 40th over, wasted a review when the ball clearly appeared to strike Pujara on the pad outside the line of the off stump. England’s biggest and perhaps their only chance came soon after when Kohli mistimed a pull for the second time in the day but Adil Rashid failed to grab the low chance at fine leg. A similar delivery from Ben Stokes off the same over was treated with more authority by Kohli for a boundary before the drinks break.
India never allowed the spinners to settle down as Pujara first rocked back to pull Ansari for a six over deep midwicket, which was then followed by a four straight down the ground. On both occasions, his feet movement was exemplary, as it has been throughout the day. A streaky boundary off the next over from the skipper extended the partnership past 150, but there was nothing edgy about the two back-to-back boundaries he hit off Moeen as India amassed five fours and a six in the space of nineteen deliveries in that period.
England looked completely flat at that point as they found no answer to stop the flow of runs. Pujara raced into the nineties by slapping Rashid through the covers before stunning the opposition by cutting a short delivery through point for another boundary despite eight fielders being stationed on the offside.
In a bizarre turn of events, the umpires had to call for Tea due to a delay on the field caused by a dog. India scored 118 runs in the session and Pujara and Kohli will look to pile on the misery in the final session.
Earlier in the day, Kohli opted to bat first without any hesitation after winning the toss. Offspinner Jayant Yadav made his debut in place of legspinner Amit Mishra and KL Rahul, as widely expected, came into the side in place of veteran opener Gautam Gambhir.
Rahul though, failed to make a mark in his comeback game and was dismissed for nought by Stuart Broad. He was well set up by the pacer with a line outside the offstump. Even though he tried to remove the bat at the last minute, he was quite late and edged one to Stokes at third slip.
Murali Vijay, who looked in ominous touch with a couple of crisp drives followed Rahul soon by gloving a bouncer off Anderson. Apart from a couple of nervy moments, Pujara and Kohli, who joined forces after Vijay’s departure, looked largely untroubled.