India goes 1-0 up with a 246-run win

Chasing an unlikely 405 for victory on the fifth day, England was bowled out 20 minutes after lunch for 158. Off-spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Jayant Yadav picked up three wickets each in the second innings.

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Jayant Yadav (second from right) picked up the last two wickets in two balls to give India a 1-0 lead in the series.   -  Reuters

The cracks on the surface opened up, the ball spun and bounced, and India romped home here on Monday.

Under immense pressure as close catchers surrounded the bat and deliveries hissed off the track, the English batting fizzled out in the second Test at the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Stadium.

India skittled out England for 158 shortly after lunch on day five to emerge winner by a whopping 246 runs and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

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Skipper Virat Kohli – adjudged Man of the Match – was proactive on the field and the bowlers created stress with their discipline. (READ: Kohli: >'Will continue playing five bowlers')

Perhaps England made a tactical mistake by going overly defensive when the pitch started to increasingly favour the spinners.

The English batsmen could have attacked judiciously, like Jonny Bairstow showed when all was lost for the visitor, and tried to knock the Indian bowlers off their length. Instead the Indian spinners were allowed to settle down.

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The morning session was always going to be crucial. When Kohli put down Joe Root early at backward short-leg – Ravichandran Ashwin had spun one sharply into the right-hander - there was anguish in the Indian camp. Close catching is an area the Indians need to improve on.

India struck quickly though when Ashwin dismissed his bunny Ben Duckett. The off-spinner went round the wicket to the left-hander who opted for an ill-advised sweep and was done in by the extra bounce.

Ashwin explored the angles, bowling from close to the stumps and wide, operating from over the wicket and then going round, never really allowing the batsmen to settle down.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja was steady. He sent back Moeen Ali by pitching the ball in the rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump. The vicious delivery took off, hit Moeen’s inside edge was held at backward short-leg.

England was struggling to build partnerships. The visitor needed the Root-Ben Stokes association – a right-left combination – to build. Young off-spinner Jayant Yadav had other ideas.

Jayant bowled with skill and nous; the off-spinner does simple things right. There was plenty of emphasis on control and he did shift the line admirably to the right and left-handers. He also mixed his straighter one with the off-spinner without any obvious change in his release.

The debutant was in the frame after Kohli opted for the second new ball at the completion of 80 overs; India would now also have a refill of two reviews.

And Jayant got Stokes with a beauty that pitched on the southpaw’s middle stump and spun to hit off from a good length. The Englishman was clueless.

England was 115 for five and India went in for the kill. Root, his defence tight and mind calm, played the spinners with footwork and determination. He was the last hurdle for the host.

Kohli brought back Shami – the spinners had begun with the second new ball – and the pace-spin combination worked.

Shami’s release is so good these days that he invariably gets the ball to do that little extra.

When Shami operated to Root, Kohli had a short mid-on and a short mid-wicket. On a two-paced wicket, there was always a possibility of an attempted drive being miscued.

But then, Shami got his man with a more direct method. The paceman sent down a screaming inswinger to win a leg-before decision against Root (25, 107b, 3x4). The Englishman reviewed but replays showed the ball hitting leg-stump.

Shami’s late movement at speeds close to 145 kmph makes him a torrid bowler to face. He is using the short-pitched delivery effectively, and batsmen are taking knocks on the gloves and body.

The match was virtually decided at this point. Shami scalped one more when he snared Adil Rashid with a short-pitched ball. Bairstow (34 not out, 40b, 7x4) essayed a few defiant strokes but England was sinking fast.

Jayant and Ashwin cleaned up the tail to close out the match for the host. India was clinical on the final day.