Dogged India duo frustrate England

The dog that stopped play dodges a flying boot
The dog that stopped play dodges a flying boot
Have your say

A pitch-invading dog provided a moment of levity on a painful day for England as centuries from Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara put India in control on day one of the second Test in Vizag.

When groundstaff were unable to catch the trespassing canine on the outfield just before tea the umpires called an early interval mid-over with both Indian batsmen in the 90s.

The twin hundreds were merely delayed however with Kohli (151 not out) and Pujara (119) helping India to 317 for four at stumps. It was a chastening state of play for Alastair Cook’s team, who had arrived for this venue’s maiden Test in the hope they could sustain the high standards they set in last week’s drawn series opener in Rajkot.

England took the late wicket of Ajinkya Rahane to the admirable James Anderson (three for 44) but failed to build on the promise of two early breakthroughs which left the hosts rocking on 22 for two.

Kohli and Pujara put on 226 in just under 62 overs before the latter edged an attempted cut at Anderson and Jonny Bairstow dived to take a low catch.

It was Pujara who had brought up the century and then double-century stand, his own 50 and hundred each at the same time, with one of his 12 boundaries and then his second six - a merciless pull off an Adil Rashid long hop.

But Kohli made it his business to further damage an attack hampered by Stuart Broad’s cut right wrist, as he stayed until the close and with the threat of more power to add on day two.

Pujara’s third successive Test century was followed by Kohli registering the 14th of his career in his 50th match from 154 balls.

There was unexpected early life in the pitch, allowing the tourists’ two frontline seamers to surprise openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay.

But throughout England’s bowlers often fell short of the wonderful discipline they demonstrated in the first Test and Kohli and Pujara took over as the tourists failed to stifle the run-rate as they had, even when the wickets were not coming, last week.

There was good carry for Broad when he had Rahul poking an edge at a length ball to be well caught by Ben Stokes at third slip.

But that minor assistance from the pitch was nothing compared to the steepling bounce Anderson extracted on his return from three months out with a shoulder injury to account for Vijay.

A centurion in Rajkot, Vijay began with a flurry of boundaries but was not ready for the Anderson bouncer and gloved an unmissable catch to Stokes again.

Kohli was therefore called into action sooner than he must have hoped, yet he duly delivered alongside Pujara.

The nearest England came to a breakthrough before tea was Stokes’ attempt to bounce out the third-wicket pair, Kohli blinking in the battle on 56 with a mis-hook to fine leg where Rashid failed to hold the chance tumbling forward.

Pujara had rightly survived an lbw appeal, and review, on 54 when he was hit outside the line by Moeen Ali. The off-spinner nonetheless proved that sharp turn was already available, as was universally predicted here.

Moeen, held back until the 40th over, proved the most expensive of England’s spinners yet conversely often appeared most likely to take a wicket.

None was forthcoming for anyone until Pujara made his misjudgement in the middle of a fine old-ball spell from Anderson.

Any hopes that his dismissal might give England a belated foothold in the match proved unfounded however, as Rahane joined Kohli.

The latter benefited from a marginal ‘umpire’s call’ to survive a Moeen lbw appeal on 139, but there was a late reward for Anderson as he summoned the energy in his one over with the second new ball to have Rahane caught behind.