India vs England, 2nd Test: Ashwin's 22nd five-for, flying wicket video, run machines and other day 3 talking points
Five talking points from day 2 of second Test between India and England, being played at Vizag.
New Delhi: The Vizag Test continued to produce incredible feats on the third day as well. The usual suspects Ravichandran Ashwin and Virat Kohli helped India take a commanding lead of 298 runs with two full days' play left in the match.
The day also belonged to English players, who have fought back to save the match after two days of grind. Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow were exceptional for the visiting side. Third day's play will also be remembered for umpiring issues, and other captivating sights, like flying stumps.
Here are some of the talking points from the third day's play from Visakhapatnam.
Ashwin is great: Ravichandran Ashwin is simply the greatest match winner, ever, for India. On Saturday at Vizag, he once again proved why he is considered a modern day great, matching records, breaking records.
India were on the cusp of losing the grip on the match with Stokes (70) and Bairstow (53) producing a 110-run stand for the sixth wicket. Once Umesh Yadav broke that stand with an unplayable reverse swing, Ashwin ran through the England batting line-up, taking the wickets of Stokes, Stuart Broad and James Anderson in quick succession. He finished with another five-wicket haul.
It was his 22nd fifer in 41 Tests, thus leveling Waqar Younis, Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh – some of the game's most revered bowlers. In Indian perspective, the 30-year-old from Chennai is in fourth in the list, behind Anil Kumble (35 in 132), Harbhajan Singh (25 in 103) and Kapil Dev (23 in 131).
By the end of the match, Ashwin will, in all probability, become 2016's leading Test wicket taker. He now has 52 Test wickets, two less than Rangana Herath's 54.
Jonny can bat: England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow has scored three Test centuries, all in 2016. 150 vs South Africa at Cape Town in January, 140 vs Sri Lanka at Leeds in May and a career-best 167 vs Sri Lanka at Lord's during the same series – enough to surmise that the year has been a great one for the 27-year-old.
The Yorkshire player could have easily increased that count, had he converted six other fifty-plus scores. But for all the efforts a record came his way — that of most fifty-plus scored by a wicketkeeper-batsman in a calendar year. He now shares the record with AB de Villiers. The South African legend hit nine fifties in 2013.
Bairstow's fifties in 2016: 58 vs Pakistan at Manchester in May, 83 vs Pakistan at Birmingham in August, 55 and 81 vs Pakistan at The Oval in August, 52 vs Bangladesh at Chittagong in October and 53 vs India at Vizag.
It's not surprising that Bairstow is now the leading scorer in Test with 1217 runs, at an average of 64.05, ahead of team-mates Joe Root (1167) and Alastair Cook (1054), and the Indian captain Virat Kohli (872).
Run machines: The series is only one match and three days old, but it has already seen 2265 runs scored in seven innings. The majority of these numbers have, no doubt, came from top batsmen like Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Alastair Cook.
Interestingly Root and Kohli are the leading run scorer in international cricket, in all three formats. They will continue to fight for that right till the end of the tour. But as things stand now, after the close of third day's play, Root leads Kohli by mere eight runs.
When play resumes tomorrow, Kohli is likely to take a sizable lead over his English rival. Then, in the fourth innings, Root will have a go at Kohli's number.
Root's numbers: 1167 in Tests, 796 in ODIs, 297 in T20Is
Kohli's numbers: 872 in Tests, 739 in ODIs, 641 in T20Is
Australian pair of David Warner (1829) and Steve smith (1713) are third and fourth, with prodigious South African Quinton de Kock completing the top five with 1646 runs.
Castle in the air: Yesterday, Mohammed Shami sent the Internet into a dizzy with videos of him breaking a stump with a ferocious delivery, and his feat was almost replicated by his India new ball partner Umesh Yadav today. The Vidarbha bowler failed to break the wicket, but managed to help the wood take wings.
Bairstow, batting with confidence and poise, was undone by an unplayable Yadav delivery in the 91st over with an old ball. Yes, there was a hint of reverse swing, but the sheer pace with which the ball traveled was enough to uproot the wicket, and send it flying.
Besides the visual gratification, the dismissal also helped India broke a dangerous looking sixth-wicket stand between Bairstow and Stokes. It allowed Indian spinners to run through the England lower-order, and the innings was subsequently folded, giving India a lead of 200 runs.
A rare sight, indeed! Luckily for the Indian fans, they got to see two brilliant dismissals by their pacers. On the second day of the match, a Shami-delivery broke Cook's wicket in the middle.
DRS, indeed stands for DhaRmaSena: Once respected as one of world's best umpires, Kumar Dharmasena has become a poor self of his glorious past. The situation has reached such a level that his decisions have 'automatically' been demanded for reviews by the players.
But the one decision which the former Sri Lankan spinner is likely to rue is the one that send back Stuart Broad. With England desperately fighting for every single run, and defending every wicket, Broad arrived in the centre to give Adil Rashid company. Then, the lanky batsman found himself ruled out LBW off a delivery which was, to be on the safer side, clearly missing the wickets.
It was only one of the many controversial decisions. Broad immediately called for the review, but the two batsmen before him have exhausted the 'legal' recourse, and he walked back dejectedly.
Interestingly, during England's Bangladesh tour, at least 16 of Dharamsena's decisions were challenged in the first Test at Chittagong. In fact, Moeen Ali managed to beat the umpire with the help of DRS three times on a single day in that Test.