Spin duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been named in India's side for the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl.

The Black Caps did not face a frontline spinner in a 1-0 Test series victory over England, but they will have to contend with two in Southampton.

Ashwin and Jadeja were named in a five-match bowling attack along with Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah on the eve of an inaugural final that is due to start on Friday, but poor weather could result in an opening-day washout.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling are expected to be fit to return after missing the decisive second Test win over England at Edgbaston.

Watling will be playing in the final match of his professional career if he gets the nod to replace Tom Blundell.

Wednesday has been set aside as a reserve day in case a full five days cannot be completed and that may be required with rain and storms forecast.

New Zealand are top of the rankings and come into the game on a high after securing their first Test series win in England since 1999, hammering Joe Root's side by eight wickets early on day four.

They demonstrated their strength in depth by making six changes, with Matt Henry claiming the man of the match award after he was among the players to come into the side.

Skipper Williamson, who has been troubled by an elbow injury, is delighted with the strides his side have made and says there is more to come.

"There's been a lot of growth over a period of time so many challenges along the way every day but the team has bought into it and tried to move past those with a good attitude," the prolific batsman said.

"There is lot of hard work done over a long period of time to find ourselves here in the first final.

"It's exciting but for us it's just focusing on continuing that growth and trying to keep committing to the parts of our game that give us the best chance and that's where I know the guys will be focusing on. We are trying to look at the long game and try and improve all the time."

 

INDIA IN A QUEST FOR EXCELLENCE - KOHLI

Captain Virat Kohli says India will remain in a quest for excellence regardless of the outcome in the final.

He said: "For us as a team we have been on a quest for excellence for a while now. And we are going to continue to be on that path regardless of what happens in this game. We have no doubts whatsoever in our abilities and what we can do as a side.

"As an individual player, look, we won the 2011 World Cup which was a great moment for all of us. But cricket goes on. Just the way life goes on. And you have to treat failure and success the same way, and you have to treat the so-called outstandingly big moments pretty similar to the other moments as well.

"So, yes, it is an occasion that has to be enjoyed from our point of view, but it is not different for us or no more important for us than the first Test match that we played together as a young group of players back in the day when we were trying to come up the ranks. So, yes, the mindset remains the same."
 

BLACK CAPS SPOILT FOR CHOICE

New Zealand's bowlers tore through England in the second innings at Edgbaston, skittling them out for only 122 in another demonstration that the selectors are spoilt for choice.

Henry, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and India-born spinner Ajaz Patel did the damage as Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson were among the players given a chance to put their feet up.

Pacemen Southee and Jamieson starred when New Zealand whitewashed India 2-0 last year.

Southee was named man of the match with match figures of 9-110 in the first Test at Basin Reserve and Jamieson picked up the award in the second match, taking 5-45 in the first innings. 

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- The previous seven Tests matches between the two nations have seen each team pick up three wins (D1).
- India have lost each of their previous two matches at the venue against England, while this will be the Black Caps' first Test at the ground.
- Kohli's side have lost just one of their past seven Tests (W5, D1), the loss coming at home to England in February.
- No spinner has dismissed Williamson more times in Test cricket than Ashwin (five, also Pragyan Ojha). His false shot percentage of 21.9 per cent against Ashwin is his highest against any bowler he has faced a minimum of 150 balls.

Australia internationals Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa are returning home from the Indian Premier League, while Ravichandran Ashwin has announced he is taking a break from the tournament.

Fast bowler Richardson played once in the 2021 edition, taking 1-29 from three overs in Bangalore's 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on April 22.

Leg-spinner Zampa, however, did not feature for the Royal Challengers, who confirmed the departure of the duo for personal reasons.

"Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson are returning to Australia for personal reasons and will be unavailable for the remainder of #IPL2021. Royal Challengers Bangalore management respects their decision and offers them complete support," a statement on Twitter read.

Andrew Tye had become the first Australian to depart the IPL bubble on Sunday, a decision made by the Rajasthan Royals fast bowler over concerns about flights home amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in India.

The country has been setting global records for daily figures, with over 17million confirmed cases in total during the pandemic.

"I just thought I should try and get on the front foot and get home before I got locked out of the country," Tye told radio station SEN while in Doha awaiting to complete his journey to Australia.

"There's definitely concerns. A lot of guys have been in touch once they've realised I was leaving. Some of the guys are very interested in what route I took home and how I approached it."

A three-day snap lockdown was placed on the Perth and Peel areas of Western Australia last week amid concerns over coronavirus spreading within communities.

Ashwin, meanwhile, is leaving the Delhi Capitals squad to focus on helping his family during the coronavirus crisis.

"I would be taking a break from this year's IPL from tomorrow," he tweeted on Sunday. "My family and extended family are putting up a fight against COVID-19 and I want to support them during these tough times. I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you."

Ashwin has taken one wicket and posted an economy rate of 7.73 runs per over in his five outings for the Capitals, who defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday to make it four wins in five outings.

Virat Kohli has ruled out Ravichandran Ashwin making a Twenty20 return for India anytime soon ahead of the five-match series against England.

Ashwin was named man of the series in a 3-1 Test series victory over England that sealed India's place in the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

The off-spinning all-rounder took 32 wickets and averaged 31.50 with the bat, scoring a magnificent century on his home ground in Chennai.

Ashwin has not played for his country in the shortest format since July 2017 and it appears that is not about to change with a Twenty20 World Cup to come on home soil this year, as India have full faith in Washington Sundar.

India captain Kohli said ahead of the first T20 on Friday: "Washington has been doing really well for us, so you can't have two players of the same discipline playing in one squad.

"Unless Washi has a drastically horrible season and things go south for him. The question has to be asked with some kind of logic as well.

"You suggest where you would add Ash and play him in the team when someone like Washington already does that job for the team. So, it's easy to ask the question but you should have a logical explanation to it yourself."

Kohli vowed his side would take a positive approach from the start when they face a top-ranked England team, with all matches in the series being played at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The skipper said: "The kind of players we have added into the squad is precisely to give our batting line-up more depth and not play in a similar kind of pattern that we have played with in the past.

"We want to be a side that plays free cricket, not have any baggage of lack of depth and one guy having to bat long enough to make sure we get to a big total.

"We have explosive batsmen in the team now, who can change the game at any stage even if you are two or three wickets down. That's exactly what we've tried to address in picking this squad.

"So this time around, you will see guys a bit more expressive in terms of approaching the innings, and playing more freely.

"I'm not worried about whether we have enough batsmen to take care of things if we lose a couple of wickets early, which was the case before to be honest. We didn't have enough depth in the batting to be able to play freely throughout the first 10 or 12 overs. But I see us being much more positive and free from this period onwards."

Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon mocked England's team selection for their third Test hammering by India – declaring the spectacle on a sharply turning pitch in Ahmedabad to be "absolutely brilliant".

The tourists recalled James Anderson and Jofra Archer to feature alongside Stuart Broad and all-rounder Ben Stokes, in anticipation of conditions in the day/night Test being favourable to seamers.

However, a volatile surface offered assistance to spinners from the very start, with England bundled out for 112 and 81 as they lost by 10 wickets.

India only managed 145 in their first innings and England skipper Joe Root claimed career-best figures of 5-8 with his part time off-spin.

Despite being a far more respected practitioner of that particular craft, Lyon insisted he had no qualms over a surface that drew criticism from former England captains Michael Vaughan, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook.

"The best thing about this Test match that just passed is that England went in with four seamers," Lyon said, as quoted by cricket.com.au.

"That will do me. I don't need to say any more.

"I was up all night watching it. It was absolutely brilliant. I'm thinking about bringing that curator out to the SCG."

Lyon made a pointed reference to Australia's humiliating dismissals for 47 and 60 against South Africa and England in 2012 and 2015 respectively, when conditions favoured seam bowling.

"We play on seaming wickets around the world and get bowled out for 47, 60. Nobody ever says a thing [about the pitch]," he said.

"But as soon as it starts spinning, everyone in the world seems to start crying about it. I don't get it. I'm all for it, it was entertaining."

Despite Lyon's enjoyment of the latest match in the four-Test series, the result harmed Australia's prospects of reaching this year's World Test Championship final.

Only an England win in the final game can edge Tim Paine's side into the inaugural one-off showpiece against New Zealand at India's expense.

That would leave Australia out of action in the longest format until the start of their domestic season at the end of this year – an unhelpfully long time for speculation over ructions between coach Justin Langer and members of his team to fester.

"Me personally, if I had a problem with JL I'd go straight to him," Lyon added, casting doubt upon the rumours that emerged in the aftermath of Australia's humbling 2-1 home loss to an injury-ravaged India.

"But I don't have a problem with him. I don't understand where it's all coming from.

"I'd like to think anyone in that changing room or anyone at Cricket Australia or outside - if anyone has a problem with anyone, we're about being honest with each other."

It was another special day for Ravichandran Ashwin as the India all-rounder claimed his 400th Test wicket at the stunning Narendra Modi Stadium. 

Ashwin dismissed Jofra Archer during a short-lived day-night match against England in Ahmedabad, in the process becoming only the fourth India bowler to reach the landmark. 

The spinner joins compatriots Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh in the 400 club, while he is the 16th player to achieve the feat in the longest format. 

Ashwin brought up the milestone in only his 77th match; there will surely be plenty more to come for the 34-year-old, too. 

His standout numbers with the ball in the Test arena since making his debut versus West Indies in November 2011 make for impressive reading.


A five-star performer

Ashwin has taken 29 five-wicket Test hauls, a tally only six players have bettered: Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Richard Hadlee, Kumble, Rangana Herath and James Anderson. 

The in-form Ashwin is just one shy of England seamer Anderson's total of 30, having taken 6-61 in the second innings of the first Test and 5-43 in the first innings of a second match India won emphatically to level the series. 

While not quite able to add to the collection in Ahmedabad, he still finished the game with impressive match figures of 7-74. 

Ashwin has taken six five-wicket hauls in as many Tests against New Zealand - more than any other side.  He has claimed 10 scalps in a Test on seven occasions and seven in an innings five times.


A thorn in Australia's side

Ashwin has racked up 89 of his wickets against Australia, more than any other side.

They were taken in 18 matches at an average of 31.5, while he has also thrived against England over the years - taking 73 wickets at 32.2 apiece.

Ashwin has 39 Test wickets in Australia, more than any nation other than his homeland.

His best performance came in October 2016 against New Zealand in Indore, helping himself to match figures of 13-140 - including 7-59 in the second innings of a crushing 321-run win.


A liking for left-handers

Ashwin has had great success bowling at left-handers over the years. 

He has dismissed a left-hander on 205 occasions, with his average against them at 19.5 compared to 31.2 against right-handers before play began in the third Test.

Ben Stokes is among the batsmen who has suffered at the hands of Ashwin the most; he has dismissed the England all-rounder 11 times in total.

Only Muralitharan managed to make it to 400 in fewer Tests and while Kumble's final total of 619 may be an ambitious target, it seems certain that by the time Ashwin decides to retire, India's newest member of the prestigious club will occupy at least second place on their all-time list for wickets.

Virat Kohli saluted "modern-day legend" Ravichandran Ashwin for passing 400 career wickets in India's outlandish victory over England in the third Test.

India clinched a 10-wicket win on Thursday when they knocked off the required 49 runs with little trouble, having skittled England for the second time in the match.

The tourists made just 112 and 81 as they flopped in the pink-ball day-night match, and that meant India's own first-innings batting collapse did not prove costly.

Ashwin brought up his wickets landmark in just his 77th Test, the off-spinner finishing with match figures of 7-74, while left-armer Axar Patel took 11-70 in the rout to earn man-of-the-match honours.

"We all need to stand up and take notice of what Ashwin has contributed to Indian cricket. We should all be very proud of it," captain Kohli said.

"I told him: 'From now on, I'm going to call you Ledge.'

"Four hundred is an outstanding achievement and still so many games, so many years to go for India, and in Test match cricket he's surely a modern-day legend.

"We're lucky to have him in our team. As a captain I'm so pleased that he plays for us."

Kohli said Axar "bowled amazingly well" in what was just his second Test.

"It's impossible to sweep him and impossible to defend him all day, and if the wicket gives him anything he's just a very lethal bowler," Kohli said. "For Axar to come in and bowl like this is outstanding."

But Kohli had no such praise for India as a batting side, or England for that matter.

"The result went our way, but I don't think the quality of batting was at all up to standard from both teams to be very honest," Kohli said. "I know they got bundled out early but even with our innings we were 100-3 hoping to make many more than we ended up with."

India slumped to 145 all out, yet England's second-innings effort meant the hosts were not punished.

Kohli spoke in the post-match presentation of a "lack of application on both sides" and said there was nothing amiss with the pitch early on.

"It was bizarre that out of the 30 wickets, 21 were from straight balls, and I feel that's just a lapse of concentration or indecision, or too many things going on in your head as a batter where you're playing for the turn but getting beaten on the inside," the India captain added.

"I honestly feel batsmen need to trust their defence more than they are presenting at the moment. Test cricket is all about that.

"You're not going to get a result in two days all the time, and this was a classic example of batsmen not applying themselves enough and that's why it was such a quick game.

"A lot of guys didn't get into the game and it's just a bizarre game.

"I don't think I've ever been part of such a Test match where things have happened so quickly. I've never experienced this."

Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel once again bamboozled England as India secured a 10-wicket victory in the third Test inside two days.

Thursday's action in the day-night contest was eventful to say the least, 17 wickets falling before Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill saw the hosts to their target of 49 runs in the final session under the floodlights. 

India had also started proceedings at the crease, losing their final seven wickets for 41 as they slipped from 99-3 to 145 all out, Joe Root's maiden five-wicket haul seemingly putting the game back in the balance. 

However, the metronomic Axar struck early and often as India seized control through their spinners. The left-armer dismissed both Zak Crawley and Johnny Bairstow for ducks in his first over of the innings as he picked up 5-32, giving him stunning match figures of 11-70.  

Not to be outdone, Ashwin worked his magic once more to end with 4-48. In the process he surpassed 400 Test wickets, a feat only achieved by three other bowlers for India. 

The efforts of the duo – fellow spinner Washington Sundar also claimed the final wicket of the innings – saw England skittled for 81 in 30.4 overs, their lowest total against India in the format. 

Root – who had done so much to give his team hope in the opening session with 5-8 – battled hard to make 19 and, briefly, his partnership with Ben Stokes (25) suggested India may have more work to do in the final innings on a difficult surface. 

Yet Ashwin crucially ended Stokes' counter-attacking knock and, having also bowled Ollie Pope (12), he reached his personal landmark when Jofra Archer was out lbw for a two-ball duck. In truth, England's tail had little hope of increasing their lead to give their own spinners any hope.

Rohit and Gill rushed the home team over the finishing line, the openers ending unbeaten on 25 and 15 respectively as India moved 2-1 ahead in the series with one Test to play.


Ashwin latest to join 400 club 

Ashwin is just the 16th bowler to claim 400 Test wickets, doing so in his 77th appearance. His compatriots Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble – who sits in top spot on India's all-time list on 619 – and Harbhajan Singh have previously made it to the milestone.

Only Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan made to that number in fewer games than Ashwin, who now has 24 wickets in the series at an average of 15.70.

Tourists left in a spin

Thanks to a double century from skipper Root, England scored 578 in their first innings in the series. It was a mammoth total that set them up to secure an impressive victory in Chennai. 

Since then, though, the visitors have amassed 669 runs in five innings combined, their best score in that period being 164. Facing a trial by spin, they have been condemned to a pair of heavy defeats that ends their hope of competing in the World Test Championship final on home soil.

Ravichandran Ashwin became only the fourth India player to take 400 Test wickets, reaching the landmark on a dramatic second day of the third match in the series against England.

The all-rounder trapped Jofra Archer lbw in England's second innings as he achieved the career feat in a low-scoring day-night match at the spectacular Narendra Modi Stadium.

Ashwin joins Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh on the distinguished list of those to claim 400 scalps in the longest format for India.

The 34-year-old is the 16th player to the milestone overall, getting there in only his 77th match. He is the second fastest to 400 too, behind only Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan in terms of games played.

Ashwin moved six wickets shy of the milestone by taking match figures of 8-95 in an emphatic defeat of Joe Root's side at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium last time out, having claimed 9-207 in the first Test.

He also struck a sublime century - the fifth of his career - in a magnificent man-of-the-match performance at his home ground in Chennai, where India levelled the series at 1-1.

After claiming 3-26 as the tourists were bowled out for 112 on day one of the game in Ahmedabad, Ashwin removed Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope before Archer became his 400th Test victim, given out for a two-ball duck after attempting a sweep shot.

Sachin Tendulkar - Test cricket's all-time leading runscorer - was quick to congratulate his compatriot on Twitter.

"Terrific consistency!" Tendulkar wrote. "Well done, keep it up. Joy to watch you bowl."

India ended the opening day of the third Test against England firmly on top despite losing Virat Kohli in the final over, closing on 99-3 having bowled out their opponents for 112.

The day-night contest at the newly named Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad was viewed in the build-up as a chance for the seam bowlers to take centre stage, with the four-match series between the teams delicately poised at 1-1.

However, it was India's spinners who once again dominated proceedings, Axar Patel claiming career-best figures of 6-38 to continue his outstanding start in Test cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin - one of the star performers for India as they won the second Test in Chennai - offered superb support, taking 3-26. 

Johnny Bairstow was the first of several players to be undone by deliveries that failed to turn at all, though, as his return to the team saw him trapped lbw for a duck, leaving the tourists at 27-2 after opting to bat first. 

Zak Crawley (53) countered impressively, playing some glorious shots off the front foot in particular as he and Joe Root added 47, only for England to then suffer a stunning collapse, their final eight wickets going down for just 38 runs.

Ashwin had Root lbw for 17 – despite the England captain attempting to get a reprieve through a review – before Crawley's fluent half-century came to an end when he fell in similar fashion to Axar. 

Ollie Pope (1) and Ben Stokes (6) both perished with the score stuck on 81, England's batsmen left bamboozled once more on a turning surface to leave a long tail exposed. 

Axar claimed three of the final four wickets to go down, wrapping up the innings when Ben Foakes was bowled for 12. England had lasted just 48.2 overs, posting their lowest first-innings score in India. 

Following a superb century in the previous match, the in-form Rohit Sharma led India's reply with an unbeaten 57 that included nine fours.

Fellow opener Shubman Gill found it tougher going as he made only 11, while Cheteshwar Pujara departed for a four-ball duck to Jack Leach. The left-arm spinner also struck late to give his team renewed hope, Kohli chopping on for 27, but the hosts undoubtedly were the happier team at stumps.

Super start continues for Axar 

Axar is the first Indian spinner to take a five-wicket haul in a day-night Test, while only the sixth slow bowler to do so in such fixtures with the pink ball. 

Having missed the series opener through injury - a game England won convincingly - he has now taken 13 wickets in the series at an average of 10.61, stunning numbers for a player who has had to wait patiently for his chance in the format. 

Zak back, but England topple quickly 

With Crawley and Root together, England appeared to have overcome two early setbacks to reach 74-2 just prior to the first break in proceedings on Wednesday. The former justified the decision to pick him over Rory Burns, hitting 10 fours to at times silence the 40,000-strong crowd present. 

Yet the right-hander was not alone in falling into the trap of playing for spin that was simply not there, hit on the front pad by a delivery from Axar that instead of turning went straight on.

 

A gripping series is perfectly poised ahead of a mouthwatering day-night Test between India and England at the spectacular Motera Stadium. 

Although the capacity will be halved due to coronavirus restrictions amid the pandemic, there will still be up to 55,000 allowed into the biggest cricket venue in the world for the third Test in Ahmedabad.  

Ravichandran Ashwin was the star of the show on his home ground in Chennai as India levelled the series at 1-1, the all-rounder taking match figures of 8-96 and scoring a sublime second-innings century on a pitch that turned sharply from day one. 

The seamers will be hoping playing under floodlights with a pink ball will give them more of a chance to make an impact when the third Test starts on Wednesday, though spin will still be expected to play a major part in proceedings. 

India paceman Ishant Sharma is poised to make his 100th appearance in the longest format, while Ashwin is closing in on 400 Test scalps. 

James Anderson and Jofra Archer are set to return to the England side, with Chris Woakes pushing for a place along with Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood - the latter two are back in the squad after being given a break following the tour of Sri Lanka. 

England all-rounder Moeen Ali will not feature after heading home and India have brought fast bowler Umesh Yadav into the squad, releasing Shardul Thakur. 

Captain Joe Root gave nothing away when asked about selection on the eve of the match. 

He said: "We are going to take our time with the limited information we have on this ground, on pink-ball cricket. We are going to make sure we give ourselves as much information as possible before we make that decision."

 

Century up for Ishant, Ashwin closing in on 400

Ishant is set to become only the 11th player for India to reach 100 Tests, having already marked this series with a milestone after taking his 300th wicket in the longest format. 

The pace bowler has taken 76 Test scalps at an average of just 19.3 since 2018 and could thrive in the conditions. 

Ashwin, the hero of the second Test, is just six wickets short of the 400 landmark - a feat only Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh have achieved for India. 

The off-spinner has taken 17 wickets in the series at 17.82 apiece with a strike rate of 40.4. Jack Leach is the second-highest wicket-taker with 12.

 

Anderson ready to shine under the lights

After playing a big hand in England's victory in the first Test in Chennai, Anderson was understandably frustrated to be omitted for the second match at the same venue.

The seamer said he understands the tourists' rotation policy in such a demanding year, though, and is raring to go with the pink ball.

England's leading Test wicket-taker has claimed 14 scalps at an average of 17.85 in three day-night Tests and should pose a massive threat to the India batsmen.

He said: "All the seam bowlers want really is a bit of carry, which we haven't really had throughout the series. We're keeping our fingers crossed there's a bit more in it for the seamers."

Key match facts

- India were bowled out for only 36 in their last day-night Test against Australia in Adelaide in December. England also endured a pink-ball nightmare when they were skittled out for just 58 by New Zealand in March 2018. 

- India have managed one win and a defeat in their two day-night Tests. England have been beaten in two of the three day-night contests they have played in the longest format.  

- This will be the third Test encounter between India and England at Motera Stadium. India have won once there, with Cheteshwar Pujara making a Test-best 206 not out in November 2012. The other meeting ended in a draw. 

- Only Niroshan Dickwella (seven in 19 games) has claimed more Test stumpings than Ben Foakes since November 2018 (five). The England wicketkeeper has only played six Tests in that time. 

- Rory Burns has been dismissed by Ashwin in three of his four innings in the series, scoring just 33 runs. 

Jeetan Patel says England must learn from how Ravichandran Ashwin and Virat Kohli mastered such tough conditions as the tourists prepare to "shake a stick" at pulling off an unlikely win in Chennai.

India are well on course to levelling the four-match series at 1-1 after dominating the third day at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Monday.

Ashwin was the star of the show on his home ground, making a brilliant 106 after taking 5-43 on day two, and captain Kohli struck 62 as India recovered from 106-6 to post 286 all out in their second innings.

England were in deep trouble on 53-3 at stumps, needing a mammoth 429 more runs to go 2-0 up, with Kohli's side looking destined to seal a crushing victory.

Axar Patel dismissed Dom Sibley and nightwatchman Jack Leach either side of the magnificent Ashwin getting rid of Rory Burns as India tightened their grip on a pitch that has turned sharply from day one.

Dan Lawrence and Joe Root made it through to stumps and England spin bowling consultant Patel expects the tourists to show fight when they resume on day four.

The former New Zealand spinner said: "I think Ashwin and Kohli were fantastic.

"Kohli, right from the first innings where maybe his footwork was I suppose a touch lazy compared to the second innings – where he was fantastic with the way he got down to the ball and across his stumps.

"The way he forced us to bowl in areas he wanted to, we need to take heed from that. Especially with the way Ashwin came out and swept early, got the field he wanted and then could manipulate the lengths from there.

"They are in a really strong position, there is no doubt about that, but we are going to have work really hard to grab some of that back."

He added: "There's still lots to do, but there's match-winners in this group, we've seen that before.

"I'm not about to say that we are 100 per cent going to win this game, but what I am going to say is we will shake a stick at it."

Patel says it is vital England take a positive approach as they try to dig themselves out of a huge hole.

"I think it's just to keep staying positive, we've got stroke-makers in the group and we want them to keep expressing themselves," he said. 

"The thing that has been the strengths so far in the three matches we have played in the subcontinent is to still try to score. 

"If we sit there and try to defend for two days, we're going to have much success and we're not going to go anywhere in the game. We can certainly look to learn a lot about ourselves while looking to score.

"I think Dan Lawrence was fantastic, the way he played this evening was exactly how he wants to play cricket and how he can contribute to this team."

Ravichandran Ashwin scored a magnifcent century on his home ground as India made England toil on day three of the second Test in Chennai.

India need seven wickets to level the four-match series after all-rounder Ashwin made a sublime 106 on a sharply turning pitch at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Monday.

Ashwin played with great application and skill to craft a fifth hundred in the longest format, having also taken 5-43 as England were bowled out for only 134 on the second day.

Captain Virat Kohli made 62 but it was all about Ashwin, roared on by a vociferous crowd, once again as India were bowled out for 286 – setting the tourists a mammoth 482 to win.

The excellent Axar Patel dismissed Dom Sibley and nightwatchman Jack Leach, while Ashwin got rid of Rory Burns to leave England 53-3 at stumps and facing a huge defeat.

Moeen Ali (4-98) and Jack Leach (4-100) thrived on a track that has offered significant turn from day one as India lost five wickets in the morning session.

Ashwin and Kohli mastered the conditions impressively to strengthen India's grip on the match, though, putting on 96 for the seventh wicket.

Moeen saw the back of Kohli, who spent five hours at the crease and struck seven boundaries, but went from strength to strength in an imperious knock, hitting a six and 14 fours.

England were finally put out of their misery when Olly Stone cleaned up Ashwin after Mohammed Siraj added insult to injury with a couple of lusty blows over the rope.

Axar (2-15) then got Sibley lbw for only three and Ashwin had Burns (25) caught by Kohli, before Leach fended the first ball he faced from his fellow left-armer to Rohit Sharma at leg slip.

India were convinced Joe Root should have been adjudged lbw when he was struck in front by Axar, but the third umpire ruled he was hit outside the line of off stump in the final over of a great day for India.

 

False dawn for England

The tourists started the third day on the ropes, with India leading by 249 runs on 54-1 after 15 wickets tumbled on a dramatic day two.

Cheteshwar Pujara fell in the first over, comically run out when he lost his grip on his bat after jamming it in the pitch and was out of his ground following fine work from Ollie Pope at short leg.

India were 106-6 with Rohit, Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane and Axar back in the pavilion, as Ben Foakes produced two excellent stumpings for Leach and Moeen.

Ashwin and Kohli rub England's noses in it

The magnificent Ashwin put England in a spin on Sunday and showed his class with the bat in front of his adoring crowd in what is turning out to be a dream Test for the all-rounder.

Ashwin and the classy Kohli made England suffer on a hot day, with Root's tiring side becoming increasingly sloppy in the field with a combination of dropped catches and a missed stumping.

Kohli looked untroubled until he was pinned in front by Moeen, but Ashwin continued to take a positive approach after bringing up a 64-ball half-century.

He smashed Moeen for a huge six to move three shy of three figures and there was a huge roar when he struck a streaky boundary to complete a brilliant hundred. Only Ian Botham (five) has scored a century and taken a five-wicket haul in the same Test more times than Ashwin's three.

Ravichandran Ashwin said he never envisaged bowling for his country when he was a teenager let alone taking more Test wickets in India than Harbhajan Singh after tormenting England on Sunday.

Ashwin took 5-43 on a dramatic day two in Chennai, where the tourists were bowled out for only 134 in reply to India's 329 all out.

Virat Kohli's side were 54-1 at stumps – leading by 249 runs – and well on course to level the four-match series.

Ashwin generated huge turn and bounce, with the spinner's drift also causing the England batsmen all sorts of trouble.

Only the great Anil Kumble (350) has more Test scalps than Ashwin in India after the 34-year-old moved past Harbhajan's total of 265.

Ashwin vividly recalls watching Harbhajan take 15 wickets in Chennai to secure a series win over Australia 20 years ago, and expressed his pride after bettering the Indian great's tally of scalps on home soil.

"When I watched the 2000-01 series, when Bhajju Pa [Harbhajan] played, I didn't even imagine I would go on to become an off-spinner for my country," Ashwin said.

"I was still a batsman for my state. Trying to accelerate towards batting and playing for my country. I wasn't even sure I would go on to become a player for the Indian team.

"Lots of my team-mates from that age, from that generation, used to make fun of me because in my action I used to try to bowl like Bhajju Pa.

"From there on to come on and go past him has to be incredibly special. I didn't know of it. Now that I know of it, I am incredibly happy. Sorry, Bhajju Pa."

Ashwin put England under huge pressure in such tough conditions as he took his 29th five-wicket Test haul – putting him level with Glenn McGrath in seventh on the all-time list.

The wily Ashwin has now claimed the wickets of 200 left-handers in the longest format, a landmark he reached by bowling Stuart Broad.

Ravichandran Ashwin claimed his second successive five-wicket haul as India skittled England out cheaply on day two to put themselves in total command of the second Test.

Fifteen wickets tumbled on what look more like a final-day pitch at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday, with Moeen Ali (4-128) and Olly Stone both striking twice to bowl India out for 329.

The tourists, leading the four-match series 1-0, were dismissed for only 134 in reply, giving India a first-innings lead of 195 runs in Chennai.

Jack Leach got rid of Shubman Gill but first-innings centurion Rohit Sharma was unbeaten on 25 at stumps, with in complete control on 54-1 - leading by 249 runs.

Ashwin followed up his six-wicket haul in the second innings of the first Test by taking 5-43 in a brilliant exhibition of spin bowling in dream conditions for the spinner, who generated sharp turn and bounce.

Ishant Sharma (2-22) trapped Rory Burns leg before without scoring and Dom Sibley fell for 16 after India added only 29 runs to their overnight total of 300-6.

Debutant Axar Patel (2-40) claimed the huge scalp of in-form England captain Joe Root, caught by Ashwin at short fine leg for only six to become the spinner's first Test victim.

England were reeling on 39-4 after Ashwin got big turn and bounce to see the back of Dan Lawrence and there were more roars from a crowd of 10,000 when the wily tweaker bowled Ben Stokes (18) early in the afternoon session.

Ollie Pope made 22 before falling to Mohammed Siraj and although Ben Foakes (42 not out) played superbly against the spinners, England were all out from 59.5 overs when Stuart Broad was cleaned up by Ashwin.

Leach snared Gill lbw and Rohit successfully reviewed after he was given out in the same fashion but got an inside edge, while also possibly getting away with it when he padded up not offering a shot, but India are well on course to level the series.

Bowling coach Jon Lewis defended England's approach after they did little to move forward their victory bid during the final session of day four in the first Test against India in Chennai.

England set an improbable victory target of 420, one that will set a new record in Tests if India are somehow able to knock off the runs from a position of 39-1 at stumps.

It is a match situation that underlines the tourists' unexpected domination of the contest, although they were criticised in some quarters for letting the game drift after tea on Monday.

Ollie Pope was the sixth man out with the score 130 in their second innings, from which point there was a wait for a declaration that never came as all of England's tailenders emerged and they took a further 18 overs to reach 178 all out.

Jack Leach then bowled Rohit Sharma with a beauty, but there were no further breakthroughs before the close.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Lewis insisted England were comfortable with their tactics, pointing towards the potential importance of the second new ball during the last session of the match.

James Anderson and Jofra Archer will also be fresh for a second chance to make inroads with a ball only 13 overs old on the final morning.

"The guys were positive in the way they played and I don't think it's a straightforward pitch to just go and be reckless when trying to score runs," Lewis said of England's dwindling scoring rate following Pope's departure for 28.

"We were very comfortable with the amount of overs we wanted to bowl tonight. That obviously gives us a bit of a bite with the second new ball tomorrow, if required - 20 overs or so.

"In terms of the position of the game, we're really comfortable with where we're at.

"It's the first game of the series. While you want to get off to a really strong start, you don't really want to give India a chance to win.

"Saying that, they've got some fine players. You also want to be able to have attacking fielders the whole day, especially to our spin bowlers, around the bat.

"To get as many runs as we can and keep the rate high for them feels like our best chance to win the game."

Joe Root had the option to enforce the follow-on after England wrapped up India's first-innings for 337 - a deficit of 241.

However, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who scored 31 with the bat before claiming 6-61, suggested Root's desire to give his attack recovery time was understandable.

"They had two options in front of them. They could have asked us to follow-on," he said.

"The only reasoning I could see is they wanted to give a bit of a rest to their bowlers, which is a part of the game that is sometimes not very well understood on the outside

"Sometimes fresh bowlers can do the trick more than tiring bowlers."

Whether or not England's refreshed bowlers are able to do the trick on day five will ultimately determine how their Monday approach comes to be viewed.

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