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.

England need nine wickets on the final day to take a Test series lead and India will require another famous run chase to go 1-0 up in Chennai after 15 wickets tumbled on Monday.

The tourists bowled India out for 337 at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium after Washington Sundar held them up with an excellent unbeaten 85.

Ashwin made 31 before taking 6-61 as England were bowled out for 178 after the in-form Joe Root - who top scored with 40 - opted against enforcing the follow-on.

India pulled off a big run chase to secure a series win in Australia last month and they will have to repeat those final-day heroics after being set 420 to win on a day which saw Ishant Sharma take his 300th wicket in the longest format.

Jack Leach bowled Rohit Sharma with a peach of a delivery to leave India 39-1 at stumps - 381 runs from their huge target.

England had to be patient for a breakthrough after India resumed on 257-6, Leach ending a seventh-wicket stand of 80 by getting Ashwin for 31 with the new ball - Jos Buttler taking an athletic catch.

Root chose to bat again after a combination of Leach (2-105) and James Anderson (2-46) finished off India's first innings - Ben Stokes taking a sensational slip catch for England's highest Test wicket-taker.

Ashwin generated turn and bounce to get Rory Burns caught by Ajinkya Rahane off the first ball of England's second innings before lunch, and he also saw the back of Dom Sibley (16) following the break.

Ishant snared Dan Lawrence leg before to join the 300 club before Ashwin removed Stokes - caught behind for only seven.

Root, who made a double century in the first innings of his 100th Test, added 40 as England took the lead over 400, with Ollie Pope (28), Buttler (24) and Dom Bess (25) also chipping in.

Ashwin continued to get sharp turn on a deteriorating track as Root kept India in the field in the heat rather than declaring, picking up a 28th five-wicket haul by bowling Jofra Archer and ending the innings when Anderson was caught and bowled.

Leach produced a great delivery to strike Rohit's off stump, but Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara prevented further damage from being done.

 

Ashwin delivers, Ishant reaches landmark

Spinner Ashwin bowled 55.1 overs as India were made to toil by a Root-inspired England in the first innings but did not appear to be fatigued as he bowled superbly second time around.

He took advantage of a pitch offering an increasing amount of spin, which should have had Leach and Bess rubbing their hands together. Ishant became the sixth Indian bowler to take 300 Test scalps when Lawrence was his only second-innings victim. 

Leach sets England on their way

Leach was given the new ball with Archer as Anderson was overlooked and the left-armer conjured up a perfect delivery to dismiss Rohit, getting one to drift and turn away.

That was the tourists' only breakthrough in 13 overs, but they will be expected to come out firing on the last day.

Fair or foul? Gamesmanship or unsportsmanlike conduct? Steve Smith found himself in the spotlight after his actions on the final day of the third Test between Australia and India in Sydney.

Smith was at his best with the bat in the match, making scores of 131 and 81 as he returned to form in style after a recent lean spell.

However, it may well be his footwork during Monday's final day will overshadow what he achieved during the rest of the Test.

With India battling to save the game, stump camera footage seen on social media showed Smith standing at the crease during a break in proceedings, the Australian shaping up as if he was batting, including marking a guard.

His actions at the crease forced India's Rishabh Pant to retake his own guard before play resumed, with the moment becoming a hot topic on Twitter.

"Tried all tricks including Steve Smith trying to remove Pant's batting guard marks from the crease," former India batsman Virender Sehwag wrote to accompany the footage that was seen on the international feed of the broadcast.

Retweeting Sehwag's post, ex-England captain Michael Vaughan added: "This is very very poor from Steve Smith!!". Meanwhile, David Lloyd, who played and coached England before becoming a television commentator, wrote: "How childish".

Pant did not seem too perturbed by what happened, however, going on to make 97 as India impressively secured a draw.

Smith was sacked as Australia captain following the ball-tampering scandal during the tour of South Africa in 2018. Along with team-mate David Warner, he was banned for 12 months from international and domestic cricket for his involvement in the incident.

Cameron Bancroft, who was the player caught by television cameras appearing to use sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during the third Test against the Proteas at Newlands, was handed a nine-month suspension.

Tim Paine, who took over as skipper of the Test side, was also trending on social media after a verbal exchange with India's Ravichandran Ashwin during the final session of play at the SCG.

Ashwin pulled away before a delivery as he and Paine shared words, their conversation picked up by the stump microphone.

England paceman Stuart Broad pointed out on Twitter that such situations are "part of the game" during a Test match, though did suggest Paine's use of an expletive could land him in trouble.

The wicketkeeper was indeed fined after the game, though lost 15 per cent of his match fee as punishment for dissent after questioning an umpiring decision during day three of the match.

Ashwin ended up unbeaten on 39 to help India survive and remain level at 1-1 in the series ahead of the final game in Brisbane.

Tim Paine acknowledged he needed to "set a better example" for those watching on after the Australia captain was fined for showing dissent at an umpiring decision in the third Test against India.

India managed to lose just three wickets as they secured a draw on a dramatic final day in Sydney, leaving the series delicately poised at 1-1 with the one game to play.

Australia missed chances in the field and wicketkeeper Paine, who dropped three catches behind the stumps, became involved in a verbal exchange with India's Ravichandran Ashwin that was caught on the stump microphone.

However, he was punished by the International Cricket Council for an incident that happened on the third day, having questioned a decision to umpire Paul Wilson.

Paine - who was fined 15 per cent of his match fee, as well as having one demerit point added to his disciplinary record - admitted the offence, making clear in his post-match press conference that he did not mean to be disrespectful to Wilson.

"We all know that the stump microphones are part of the broadcast. It's great to bring the viewers that close, [for them] to be able to hear it," he told the media.

"I probably set a pretty poor example with my use of language. I'm certainly disappointed with myself after I heard that.

"We know we've got to be careful. I've known and had Paul umpiring me for some time, I certainly didn't mean to be disrespectful to him. It was just a heat-of-the-moment audible obscenity, I think that's what I've been done for. 

"I need to be better than that. I know that the stump mics are on and I know it's part of the game. 

"There are lots of kids watching the Australia Test team  - I need to set a better example than that."

Paine's frustration came after a not out decision by on-field umpire Wilson following appeals for a catch at short leg, with the call not being overturned following the use of the DRS.

Addressing the incident again later in his media duties, he said: "I think we do want to take the game as close to the fans and spectators as we can. At times, when the stump mics are on, that's going to happen. 

"We try our best but we are not perfect. If the worst thing we have done is let the odd f-bomb go, then I think we're doing okay."

Australia and India now move on to Brisbane for the series decider, with the fourth Test going ahead after the Board of Control for Cricket in India received assurances over quarantine restrictions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

India held firm to deny Australia and secure an incredible draw in the third Test in Sydney on Monday.

Australia looked in position to take a 2-1 series lead, needing eight wickets on the final day at the SCG, but were left frustrated by a stubborn India batting line-up and costly dropped catches.

Rishabh Pant (97), Cheteshwar Pujara (77), Hanuma Vihari (23 off 161 balls) and Ravichandran Ashwin (39 off 128 balls) helped ensure India were level heading into the final Test in Brisbane starting on Friday.

The SCG pitch played few tricks on day five, and Pant even had India dreaming of an amazing win, the tourists eventually finishing at 334-5, 73 runs adrift of a victory they stopped chasing after Vihari hurt his hamstring.

Josh Hazlewood (2-39) and Nathan Lyon (2-114) made breakthroughs, but Australia were unable to do enough in a Test they looked destined to win as Tim Paine dropped three catches.

Australia landed an early blow as Lyon had Ajinkya Rahane (4) caught at short leg by Matthew Wade.

But Pant – who suffered an elbow injury on Saturday – was put down twice by Paine, on three and 56, off Lyon, and he counter-attacked superbly to put the pressure on the off-spinner.

Pujara brought up 6,000 Test runs, the 11th Indian to achieve the feat as he continued to frustrate Australia.

Pant looked capable of leading India to a shock victory before falling just short of a third Test century, caught by Pat Cummins at gully after trying to attack Lyon again.

The second new ball brought a key wicket for Australia as Hazlewood produced a wonderful delivery to bowl Pujara.

 

A pair of reviews were unable to get Ashwin, who was dropped on 15, a diving Sean Abbott – on for the injured Will Pucovski (shoulder) – unable to hold onto a tough chance.

Vihari and Ashwin, showing no intent to score, remained stoic and defended well against an increasingly desperate Australia.

Paine dropped another chance after Vihari edged a Mitchell Starc (0-66) delivery and it proved to be the final opportunity as India held on for a draw.

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