Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara put up 266-run stand for third wicket against England    AFP
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara put up 266-run stand for third wicket against England AFP

India are on the driver’s seat with an excellent comeback from the draw in first Test against visitors England. India ended their day’s play of the second Test at 317 for 4 at Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Thursday. Although, India were shaken with early wickets, hosts regained the momentum with their consistent captain Virat Kohli and batsman Cheteshwar Pujara’s centuries. With this being Kohli’s 50th Test, he sailed India in the right direction with special celebrations. England also had their moments in the middle with comeback man James Anderson bagging three wickets since his last Test against Pakistan at The Oval. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs England 2nd Test at Visakhapatnam

Kohli was pretty happy with the pitch in comparison to the one witnessed at Rajkot. Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first including newbie Jayant Yadav in the squad, in place of Amit Mishra, who received his Test cap from former cricketer Ravi Shastri. KL Rahul was the first choice opener as declared by captain Kohli in his press conference on Wednesday. With no presence of Virender Sehwag with his one-liners in the commentary box, the void was filled with presence of Sunil Gavaskar. There were also some special spectators cheering for Kohli and Pujara’s centuries. Let’s look at some of highlights that grabbed the eyeballs at Visakhapatnam:

Early rise for England: Kohli and co. were sure that their 1st choice opener Rahul can make his chance count after his stint in the domestic circuit with score of 76 and 106 in Ranji Trophy 2016-17, Round 6 against Rajasthan. However, the youngster fell prey to the England s pacer Stuart Broad and was caught by Ben Stokes at the third slip for nought. Murali Vijay gave a heads up for India in the first over. But Rahul failed to build on the platter provided by his partner.

50th Test special: Very rarely you find two batsmen from different teams achieving the same milestone on the same match. India and England s run-machine Kohli, Joe Root are such individuals who can make this occasion memorable with the calibre they possess to play against pacers as well as spinners in any conditions. Root made his debut in 2012 against India thumped his entry with his maiden Test fifty while Kohli made his entry in the Test arena against West Indies in 2011. While Root ranks No. 2 as the Test batsman, Kohli is placed at No. 14.

It became special for Kohli as he score century on his 50th Test off 184 deliveries that included 11 fours. Root will also make this count and ensure it turns to be remembering one.

Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara s milestones: Another rare moment that India witnessed was their top-order batsmen Vijay and Pujara reaching 3,000 Test runs. While Vijay required just 20 runs Pujara was just three runs away from this milestone. Both secured these in quick succession with Vijay scoring exact 20 runs and dismissed off by Anderson while Pujara continued his gritty knock of 119 and ended with yet another century to his name. Vijay made his Test debut eight years ago in India against Australia while Pujara also made his debut in India against Australia and was impressive instantly with his maiden half-century.

James Anderson s sweet comeback: When Alastair Cook mentioned the entry of Anderson in the playing XI in place of Chris Woakes, it did turn out to be surprising for many. While there was rife of Anderson making comeback for the third Test, Cook tried to play psychological games with India and there entered England s priced possession Anderson. It was sweeter for the bowler when he got hold of India s opening batsman Vijay for 20 with his typical pumped-fist celebrations and screaming with delight.

Anderson had his moment once again in the second session as he broke the long 226-run stand between Kohli and Pujara with Bairstow grabbing a crucial wicket by diving to his right. Pujara was gone for 119 after scoring his 10th Test century. Anderson’s icing on the cake moment arrived in the last session with Ajinkya Rahane being his third victim, sending him back for 23. Anderson was last seen playing against Pakistan at The Oval and missed out the Bangladesh tour along with the first Test at Rajkot.

Who let the Dogs out? Amidst an intense game comes a surprising visitor to entertain the Visakhapatnam crowd to cheer the drained out England team with Pujara and Kohli s unbreakable partnership. Security was called in to shoo away the stray dog but looks like it was all set to cheer the Indian batsmen who were racing towards their centuries. Broad was bowling the last over of the before heading for Tea and with this intrusion, both teams were forced to head for early Tea. So, who let the Dogs out?

Sunil Gavaskar s commentary gimmicks: So, if one closely hears the Hindi commentary, Sehwag is usually known for his witty one-liners. But in his absence, Gavaskar filled his shoes. Well not perfectly but he was somewhere there to match the level of The Sehwag . Some of the gimmicks were:

A deep thought: “Body language ko hindi mein badan ki bhasha bolte hai.”

If you feel the need to laugh (fake laugh, maybe): “Kadmo ka istemaal jaise disco mein dancing chal rahi hai.”

When even Shakespeare failed: “Arre uth, Joe Root.”

Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara s gritty knock: When the chips are down, there are India s consistent batsmen Pujara and Kohli, who stand tall. This moment became even more special for the Indian captain as this was his 50th Test. He reached his 13th fifty off 87 deliveries and his 14th century off 184 deliveries that included 11 fours. Kohli, who made his debut in 2011 against West Indies, is enjoying his run as a captain and now has reached half-century of Test appearances. He remained unbeaten on 151 at the end of the day s play.

Pujara, meanwhile, was just three runs away from his 3,000 Test runs before entering the second Test. He not only eased through his milestone but also got to his 11th fifty first and then moving to his 10th century off 11 fours and 2 sixes. His consistency made him secure three centuries from three matches. He had scored a century in first Test as well against England. Together these batsmen built 226-run stand which remains to be first such double-century partnership for third wicket against England since 1996.

(Shruti Hariharan is a Content Writer with CricketCountry. You can follow her on Twitter at @Shruti_2890)