IND vs ENG 2nd Test: How India tripped Bazball as it sprinted to the finish line

A rollercoaster ride in Visakhapatnam as India emerges triumphant against England

In a nail-biting contest at Visakhapatnam, India showcased resilience and determination to clinch a thrilling victory against England in the 2nd Test. Despite a challenging first session on Day 4, India turned the tables, with standout performances and strategic maneuvers that kept fans on the edge of their seats.

The 106-run victory may not tell the whole story of the test match. During the initial hours of Day 4, India found themselves with their backs against the wall, while England seemed firmly in control of the steering wheel.

In a captivating battle reminiscent of a boxing match, England delivered some powerful blows, causing India to reel under pressure. The 332-run target was shrinking rapidly, and the mind games played out alongside the bat-ball contest added an extra layer of excitement for cricket enthusiasts.

Jasprit Bumrah faced tough resistance, Axar Patel encountered challenges, and with India hesitating to turn to Kuldeep Yadav, the responsibility fell on R Ashwin, who had faced a setback in the first Test. The tension was palpable at Vizag, with deep-set fields, a concerned Rohit Sharma, and a focused Rahul Dravid contributing to the intensity of the moment.

However, Ashwin rose to the occasion, breaking through with a delivery that drifted away and bounced, catching Ollie Pope off guard. The reflex catch by Rohit Sharma added a touch of brilliance to the play, shifting the momentum in India’s favor.

As England regrouped, captain Joe Root took charge, displaying aggressive strokes and connecting with almost everything. Ashwin, however, changed tactics, slowing down the pace and introducing variations that led to Root’s downfall. A spectacular across-the-line heave resulted in a catch, leaving England at 154 for 5.

Although the Bazball plan to counter the leading spinner had fallen short, England’s resilience shone through. Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow steadied the ship, but Kuldeep Yadav’s late entry into the fray proved decisive. A well-executed skidding delivery dismissed Crawley, leaving Bairstow and Ben Stokes to navigate through a challenging phase.

Bumrah, in a display of sheer brilliance, removed Bairstow with a sensational catch, leaving England at 196 for 6 at tea break. The final session witnessed the relentless determination of Ben Stokes, who, despite his efforts, fell short of the crease in a run-out orchestrated by Shreyas Iyer.

The lower order fought back, with Tom Hartley and Ben Foakes adding crucial runs. Bumrah’s intervention, with a slower delivery to dismiss Foakes, set the stage for the Ashwin watch. In the end, it was Bumrah who sealed the victory by knocking out Hartley’s off-stump.

The 106-run victory may not reveal the full picture, but India has successfully weathered a storm in Visakhapatnam. With the series now at 2-0 in their favor, India remains upbeat, recognizing the challenges that lie ahead. As the teams regather in Rajkot after a brief break, the battle between India and England promises to be a captivating spectacle in Test cricket.

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