England began day two of the second Test against India hoping to quickly capture the last remaining wicket of the Indian first innings before they reached the 300 mark.
Ben Stokes was the man to do this for England as he dismissed Mohammed Shami (19) as the Indians were only able to add 5 runs to their overnight score. However, reaching 295 after losing the toss was still a good score and gave their bowlers something to bowl at on day two.
England's openers, captain Alastair Cook and Sam Robson, knew that batting would not be easy and the Indian bowlers proved that as Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed both openers to leave England on 31-2.
England were in need of a partnership to rebuild their innings but first Gary Ballance and Ian Bell had to negotiate a tricky spell before lunch, which they did successfully, as they reached 51-2 at the end of the morning session.
The afternoon session was going to be a crucial period for both sides. England were looking for one of their top batsmen to go on and score an innings of note, just like Rahane did for India.
However, England's Bell (16) and Joe Root (13) perished as yet more England batsmen got themselves in but could not go on. The afternoon session was at times slow going but England battled hard and reached tea on 125-4. With Ballance still at the crease England had a good chance of getting close to India's first innings total.
Ballance was joined at the crease by Moeen Ali and in the final session of the day they tried to build a partnership of significance. Moeen tried to play positive and Ballance continued to play watchful whilst hitting the bad ball to the boundary. The pair put together a crucial partnership of 98 for the fifth wicket which gave England a very good chance of equalling, if not surpassing, India's total.
When Moeen was dismissed by Murali Vijay with the score on 211-5 England decided to send in nightwatchman Liam Plunkett in what was a crucial period before the close of play with the new ball due. India took the new ball and almost immediately Kumar dismissed Gary Ballance for an excellent 110 to leave England on 214-6 and with the game in the balance once again.
However, Plunkett and the under pressure Matt Prior negotiated the final overs without any further loss to leave England on 219-6 at the close, 76 runs behind.
Kumar was the standout bowler for India once again, finishing the day with figures of 4-46, continuing his excellent series.
Both sides will be looking to gain a significant advantage on day three in what is proving to be a great battle between bat and ball. Those final wickets for India gave them a slight edge in the game, but only just. Day three looks set to be another fantastic day's cricket with the first session crucial for both teams.
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