England's 'hard day' as India stretch lead to 255 after Rohit, Gill tons - GulfToday

England's 'hard day' as India stretch lead to 255 after Rohit, Gill tons


Shubman Gill (R) celebrates his hundred runs on the second day of the final Test match against England in Dharamshala, India, on Friday. AP

Centuries from skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill helped India entrench their control of the final Test against England with a 255-run lead on Friday.

The hosts finished day two on 473-8 with Kuldeep Yadav (27) and Jasprit Bumrah (19) batting at the picturesque Dharamsala stadium, in the lap of the snowcapped Himalayas.

India saw a middle-order stutter after tea with spinners Shoaib Bashir (4-170) and Tom Hartley getting quick wickets but Yadav and Bumrah put on a stubborn partnership of 45. "It was a hard day, a grafting day," England assistant coach Jeetan Patel told reporters.

"We've got to congratulate the boys for the way they stuck at it. You do the hard stuff time and time again, you eventually get your rewards."

England had their moments when skipper Ben Stokes struck on his first ball since his knee surgery last year and fellow quick James Anderson moving to 699 career Test wickets. But India kept up their dominance after Rohit (103) and Gill (110) hammered home the advantage following India's overnight start at 135-1.

Sarfaraz Khan made 56 and debutant Devdutt Padikkal hit 65 but Bashir got the two out with his off-spin as India lost regular wickets.

Former New Zealand spinner Patel said Bashir was "fantastic." "Don't get me wrong, he's 20 and he's got some overs to bowl yet, he's going to have to keep learning," he said. "But what he's done in his three Tests here has certainly shown that: the willingness to learn, the willingness to do the hard graft."

Sarfaraz, who reached his fifty in 55 balls, was caught at slip on the first delivery after tea, ending a 97-run stand.

Impressive debut

Left-hander Padikkal, who was a last-minute inclusion in the team after injury to Rajat Patidar, impressed with his cover drives as he hit 10 fours and one six before being bowled by Bashir.

"Every boundary is enjoyable but the first boundary, off the edge, was most enjoyable because those were my first runs in Test cricket," Padikkal told reporters. He said his debut was "very special" for his family.

"They have put in so much hard work for me. They have sacrificed so much so that I could play. It is something you can never repay."

Three wickets fell in the space of nine balls with left-arm spinner Hartley getting two in one over to expose the tail, which kept wagging.

England's highlight for the day came when Stokes dispatched his Indian counterpart Rohit with a delivery that seamed off the pitch to rattle the batsman's off stump in the second over after lunch.

It ended a charging 171-run second-wicket stand with fellow centurion Gill. Stokes' stunning bowling return after eight months and a knee surgery last November lifted England's spirits with the right-arm seamer on target right away.

He bowled five overs for 17 runs including a maiden before retreating to field for the rest of the day. Anderson got one to nip back in and bowled Gill.

The 41-year-old is one shy of becoming the third bowler to take 700 Test wickets, after Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and the late Australian great Shane Warne (708).

Rohit, who survived a dropped catch by Zak Crawley on 68, raised his second ton of the series with a single off Hartley to a standing ovation from the crowd.

Gill got to his hundred two balls later in the next over with a boundary off Bashir as he took a bow and doffed his cap to all corners.

England are looking for a consolation win after India took an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the fourth Test of the five-match series.

Agence France-Presse

Related articles