The fightback didn't last long after the initial resistance in the morning session as England were bowled out for 255 in first innings of the second Test against India at Visakhapatnam on Saturday (November 19). Ravichandran Ashwin was the chief architect with the ball as he picked up his 22nd five-wicket haul, his first against the visitors.
Despite fetching a 200-run lead, India decided not to enforce the follow on as the openers played out a tricky new ball spell from James Anderson and Stuart Broad to end up with 8 for 0 in six overs. The batsmen found it tough to judge the bounce on the surface as certain deliveries kept low.
Ben Stokes began the session in fine fashion with a neat clip towards midwicket off Mohammed Shami as India took just eight balls to take the new ball after not finding reverse swing with the older one. But the move initially favoured England as a flurry of boundaries followed. Adil Rashid hit three glorious boundaries off Umesh Yadav and the seamer conceded two more in the next over before getting removed from the attack.
Things changed dramatically though once Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja started bowling in tandem with the new ball as they found more bounce with the harder cherry. Rashid was close to getting dismissed as he shouldered arms to an arm ball from Jadeja that missed the off stump by inches. Stokes became the first victim of the session as he was adjudged leg-before-wicket off Ashwin. He reviewed the decision and even though it appeared the ball had taken the inside edge, the third umpire wasn't convinced enough to overturn it. Incidentally, Cheteshwar Pujara had taken the catch at silly point, so the left-hander would have been out either way.
Jadeja then trapped Zafar Ansari which evoked another review from the visitors. Unfortunately for the batsman, the impact was on off stump with the tracker predicting the ball to crash into the middle. The decision to review it came back to hurt England as Broad appeared to have been adjudged lbw wrongly, a decision that he couldn't challenge. Ashwin finished off proceedings off the very next delivery by trapping Anderson plumb in front.
Earlier in the day, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow frustrated the Indians by scoring half-centuries in the morning session to drag England out of a sticky situation. Stokes survived a stumping chance as Wriddhiman Saha fluffed a chance off Ashwin's bowling but post that incident, he was poised against the spin trio and took calculated risks. His ability to read the length and adjust accordingly stood out as he reached his half-century off 108 deliveries.
Bairstow at the other end stepped up as well, like he has done throughout the year for England and reached his landmark off 137 deliveries as the duo brought up their century stand. As the heads started to drop down, Umesh gave his side the much-needed breakthrough as a full-length delivery breached Bairstow's defence after clipping his pad. The batsman couldn't connect the ball after his bat had struck his toe. Rashid survived a few deliveries before the break and added some runs post it, but he ran out of partners in the end.
Brief scores: India 455 & 8/0 lead England 255 (Ben Stokes 70, Jonny Bairstow 53; Ravichandran Ashwin 5-67) by 208 runs.