India level Test series after England battle valiantly in Visakhapatnam

Jasprit Bumrah finishes with nine wickets in match to complete 106-run win in second Test

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England promised to go all-out in their pursuit of the 399-run target they were set in the second Test in Visakhapatnam. They stuck to their word on Monday, but it was India who emerged victorious by 106 runs.

All England batsman, right until number nine, came in and attacked from the first ball irrespective of the bowler or match situation, giving the Indians many moments of serious self doubt.

But a target of nearly 400 on a day four Indian pitch was always going to be beyond reach.

England were bowled out for 292, with fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah once again the main threat, picking up 3-46 to finish with nine wickets in the match. Had it not been for Bumrah's six wickets in the first innings, England could well have been chasing a smaller target.

Yashasvi Jaiswal's double century in the first innings, however, was the decider as it was his effort that saw India post nearly 400 in a match where 250 proved difficult to score.

The enormity of the challenge did not deter England, who promised to finish the match in 70 overs on Monday. Which is ultimately what happened albeit with a different result.

Opener Zak Crawley mixed caution with aggression superbly, scoring 73 from 132 balls. Crawley looked in total control against spin and seam, playing each ball on its merit before he was trapped lbw by Kuldeep Yadav on a review.

On the opposite end of the aggression spectrum were Ollie Pope and Joe Root. Pope went after left-arm spinner Axar Patel with vengeance, almost hitting him out of the attack before he was caught expertly by Rohit Sharma off Ravichandran Ashwin at slip for 23 off 21 balls.

Root, nursing a finger injury, went after almost every ball, getting out to an ugly hoick off Ashwin for 16 as England's aggression began to fray at the edges.

Forty runs later, Yadav had Crawley trapped lbw and England had lost half their side for 194, with victory drifting further away.

Jonny Bairstow (26) too looked in control before he was adjudged lbw off Bumrah on umpire's call, which could have gone either way.

The big moment, however, came when captain Ben Stokes went for an ill-advised quick single and was found short of the crease following a direct hit from Shreyas Iyer.

Thereafter, reverse swing made its appearance and Bumrah and Mukesh Kumar combined to snare the last three scalps for a commanding win.

Tom Hartley (36) was the last batsman out, losing his off stump to a searing delivery from Bumrah. The young spinner showed incredible application with ball and bat, outperforming every other slow bowler and most batsmen in the series.

India will be relieved they won a game they were far from convincing in. Jaiswal's double ton in the first innings and Shubman Gill's century in the second outing went a long way in covering the cracks in India's batting, which failed to make the most of an inexperienced bowling attack on a fairly flat deck.

Still, they had too much class and experience to not find a way to victory. Bumrah picked up the slack, along with Ashwin, in the bowling department as seamer Kumar and spinner Patel proved largely ineffective.

The hosts won the match despite missing four frontline players – Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, KL Rahul and Mohammad Shami. The return of at least one of the first three should plug many gaps.

England, on the other hand, know they had India worried for most of the game, right until the penultimate session of the Test. However, containing runs with the ball is more important than scoring them at a fast rate, and Stokes will do well to focus on that aspect of the game as well.

Updated: February 05, 2024, 10:38 AM