Ben Stokes departed before tea for 128 off Umesh Yadav    AFP
Ben Stokes departed before tea for 128 off Umesh Yadav AFP

Day Two of the first Test between India and England seem to be heading towards the visitors’ end as they have piled on 537 all-out, going into tea break. If it was Joe Root and Moeen Ali who laid the platform for England with fine centuries, Ben Stokes took on the mantle and scored another century in the innings to consolidate England’s position in the series opener before departing for 128 off Umesh Yadav. India will have a humoungous task to match the Englishmen with the bat as they have been sloppy throughout the field by dropping half a dozen catches and bowling with minimal discipline. Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir will have to bat out of their skin against a quality bowling line-up. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 1st Test at Rajkot.

Indian bowlers struggled ever since they took on the field on Day One after losing toss and dropping early catches. With England reeling at 311 for 4 at stumps on opening day, skipper Kohli took the new ball right from the beginning of the second day and opened the attack with Mohammed Shami and Yadav. England s overnight batsmen Moeen and Stokes took guard against the new ball with the former being unbeaten on 99. Moeen got to his fourth Test ton on the third ball of the morning. He must have had a few anxious moments from the last evening, as he patiently waited for close to 15 hours to get the monkey off his back.

The effects were visible straightaway, as Moeen smashed Umesh for three boundaries in the next over. Moeen was finally dismissed for 117. His dismissal had got more to do with his own lapse of concentration and faulty judgement, as he decide to leave alone an in-swinging good length delivery from Shami.

India needed this opening on Day Two badly and they did get one soon. However, that was the only moment of joy for them in the first session. From there on, Stokes and Jonny Bairstow did not give any chance whatsoever to the Indians. Both punished the Indian bowlers, especially leg-spinner Amit Mishra, everytime they erred with their line and length. Kohli persisted with pace for the major part, and the duo accepted it gleefully, hitting boundaries on every odd delivery. ALSO READ: India vs England, 1st Test: Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow extend visitors’ advantage

Bairstow and Stokes both were given reprieve as Indian fielders continued to act as ‘good hosts’ to England and they continued to pounce on every opportunity presented to them. The duo were also aggressive against spin and scored a few maximums.

With the spinners not getting the results, Kohli turned back to pace. Umesh did produce a couple of chances, but he was unlucky as India went back to their old ways of turning up with butterfingers. Stokes earned a reprieve on 60 when wicketkeeper-batsman, Wriddhiman Saha, most trusted of the lot, put him down. A couple of overs later, Saha dropped Stokes again when he was on 61. These dropped chances hurt India and Kohli s face expressed it all.

Bairstow was finally dismissed by Shami one short of the 100-run partnership with Stokes as Saha would have felt at ease, dropping sitters earlier. The wicket-keeper batsman scored 46 off 57 balls.

Chris Woakes came out in the middle after lunch but was removed quickly by Ravindra Jadeja as he got his second wicket. Adil Rashid held his end for a while but departed for 5 as India looked on closing onto England’s innings before 500. Stokes gave a few chances by throwing a few mistimed strokes but was lucky as everything fell in no-man’s land.

Zafar Ansari came into bat at No. 10 and stitched another long and frustrating partnership of 52 runs with Stokes by sticking onto his end while the latter played a few shots. They continued to get easy singles, rotated the strike with ease and got a few boundaries with a clear plan to drop the already tired Indian shoulders by keeping them on the field for as long as possible.

Ansari was sure of what he was doing in the middle and lent good support to Stokes before the centurion got out for 128, trying to flick a leg side ball off Yadav. Since then, England piled on few runs before Ansari finally fell for 32 off Mishra as England folded at 537. India will have a huge task whenever they come out to bat as they have already given England the edge in the first Test and their batsmen will have to inject a fight on the pitch which is pretty good to bat. They will have to step up and come close to England’s total. If they concede a big lead, India will feel the heat as bouncing back will be tough in the fourth innings with the pitch expected to show cracks and turn by then.

Brief Scores:

England 537 (Joe Root 124, Moeen Ali 117, Ben Stokes 128; Ravindra Jadeja 3 for 86, Mohammed Shami 2 for 65) vs India.