Chennai, Feb 15: Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin showed how to bat on a rank turner as their 96-run stand for the seventh wicket helped India extend their lead to a massive 416 on day three of the second Test against England here on Monday.
While Kohli (62 off 149) gave a masterclass on a dustbowl before falling to Moeen Ali for the second time in the game, Ashwin (68 batting off 103) too displayed remarkable skills on a challenging surface to take India to 221 for eight at tea.
Kohli and Ashwin continued from where they had left off at lunch and gathered runs at a decent rate. While Kohli was more watchful and capitalised on the bad deliveries, Ashwin used the sweep shot to good effect to score runs.
Ashwin had two lives with Ben Stokes and Ben Foakes, who dropped a catch each off the unlucky Stuart Broad. He rode his luck to score a fifty after having come up with a five-wicket haul in the England innings on Sunday.
India were at 156 for six at lunch with Kohli and Ashwin steadying the ship after the team had lost a flurry of wickets in the first hour of play. India added 102 valuable runs in the session with the loss of five wickets after resuming the day at 54 for one.
Ashwin, who joined the captain at the fall of Axar Patel (7), looked positive and kept the scoreboard moving. Kohli looked assured during his knock and played some glorious drives on a deteriorating surface. The visiting team had hit back earlier in the session by picking five wickets including those of Rohit Sharma (26) and Cheteshwar Pujara (7) and made run-scoring difficult with some tight bowling.
India started on the wrong note, losing Pujara off the last ball of the day's first over. He was runout attempting to regain his crease after he stepped out to flick a Leach delivery and his bat got stuck into the pitch and couldn't get his foot back in time.
Rohit, who had looked at ease during his stay in the middle, was stumped by Foakes, who continued his good work to give Leach his first scalp of the day. Rishabh Pant (8), pushed up the order with an eye on countering Leach, was victim of another sharp stumping by Foakes as he stepped and tried a big shot only to beaten by a ball that spun sharply.
Ajinkya Rahane (10) hit two good shots before falling to Moeen Ali. He danced down the wicket and defended a delivery that spun back resulting in an inside edge on to his pad which was snaffled by an alert Ollie Pope at short-leg.