Welcome to day two of our live report of the third India-England Test from Ahmedabad. Join us for updates, analysis and colour. You can find our traditional ball-by-ball commentary here
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7:55pm: India 145 (Rohit 66, Root 5-8) and 49 for 0 (Rohit 25*, Gill 15*) beat England 112 (Crawley 53, Patel 6-38) and 81 (Patel 5-32) by 10 wickets
Well, who would have thought? The result looked likely last night but the time frame? India run away with victory by 10 wickets late on the second day of this third Test to take a 2-1 series lead and a step closer to a berth in the WTC final, in the process ruining any chance of England featuring in that showcase against New Zealand at Lord's. On a day when 17 wickets fell, India resumed on 99 for 3 but were bowled out for 145, a first-innings lead of just 33. But then England managed just 81 in their second innings, even worse than their paltry 112 from the first as Axar Patel claimed another five-for and 11 for the match and R Aswhin passed 400 Test wickets with his seventh for the match. That left the hosts needing just 49 runs in their second innings and they got there with ease, Rohit bringing up the winning runs with a six off Root.
7.30pm: Poor pitch would not cost India WTC points, say ICC
Nagraj Gollapudi is on the case for the race...
In case the Ahmedabad pitch is rated poor by the ICC, it will not hurt India's standing in the World Test Championship.
Currently India are in the race for the second finalist spot in the WTC final, along with England and Australia. In 2019 the ICC had cautioned member boards from doctoring pitches to the home team's advantage in the WTC, saying points could be at stake.
However ESPNcricinfo has confirmed that India would not be docked any points even in the case of the Ahmedabad pitch were to be rated poor.
The WTC playing conditions states: "If a match is abandoned and the pitch and/or outfield is ultimately rated as 'Unfit' under the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, points for that match shall be distributed on the basis that the visiting team won the match and the home team lost the match. Any abandoned match will be classified as a drawn match for statistical purposes."
6.53pm: A costly first foray for England, India need 38
A tricky two-over spell at the top of India's innings before the dinner break, but they'll be happy enough with their start. England hand the new ball to Jack Leach and Joe Root, unsurprisingly, but it's James Anderson who makes the main mark by misfielding at point to gift Rohit two runs to get off the mark. Root then turns one down the leg side, and not even Foakes can intercept that. Eleven precious runs squandered in the blink of an eye.
6.35pm: Pitch battle in prospect as India are set 49 to win
Whatever happens from here, this Test is destined to be done and dusted in two days. And Nagraj Gollapudi isn't entirely impressed, with the batting as much as the conditions.
Three days before the pink ball Test Rohit Sharma said it was time to move away from the pitch debate that followed the first two matches of the England series, played in Chennai. However, another dry turner in Ahmedabad is now threatening to get over in two days. Two days, yes. And just two wickets have been taken so far by the fast bowlers of the 30 to fall overall.
So, whether Rohit and India like it or not, the pitch debate is not going away. The ball has been turning from ball one, literally, with both of India's primary spinners - R Ashwin and Axar Patel - taking a wicket off the first ball of England's innings this Test. The first time in over 100 years such a feat has been achieved.
On social media and elsewhere, especially outside India, the chatter is about whether the pitch in Ahmedabad is a poor one. The jury is not out yet. Primarily because the bounce at Motera has remained true on the red-soil pitch where cloud bursts of dust have been captured vividly on the TV. Stark images, yes, but the other key question that cricketing pundits have been discussing is the manner in which batsmen of both teams have poorly handled spin bowling.
The backbone of playing spin has always been good defence which involves reading the length of the spinner, moving close to it to smother it or drive it, and committing to moving your feet so that you can play on the front as well as back. Barring Rohit to an extent, none of the other batsmen did that with any command so far this match.
But the question will be asked: is the Ahmedabad pitch poor? It definitely is average to say the least, how can it not be if a five-day Test is done in two? For the second time this series, ICC match referee Javagal Srinath has to make that difficult call as he is the adjudicator. It is not an easy job, clearly. Whatever call Srinath will take is not going to be universally liked.
The question of home match officials during the pandemic has been a difficult call for the ICC, but the global body might want to rethink appointing neutral match referees for such marquee series to remove any perception of bias.
6.30pm: Drop everything, right this minute
Stuart Broad is batting pic.twitter.com/qf5neZTZUo— Is Stuart Broad Batting? (@IsBroad) February 25, 2021
6.05pm: 400 for Ashwin! England are down and mostly out
Another flurry from India's master spinner. Pope plays round a straight one for the second time in the match, poking down the wrong line from round the wicket once again, then Archer unfurls the sweep to a ball that's far too full for the shot. Nailed on the shin, and sent on his way. It's down to Stuart Broad's long handle and Ben Foakes' understated nous to salvage this scenario ... or should I say Jack Leach, who has just pounded only the second six of the match, clean over long-on. The other six was hit by ... Ishant Sharma!
You know what, I'd rather have runs on the board here...— Ian Bell (@Ian_Bell) February 25, 2021
5.47pm: Root and Stokes are gone, are England sunk?
Another flurry of massive moments in this match - how many more can we accommodate today? First, Joe Root survives a huge appeal for lbw on 16, as Axar thumps his pad with another slider, on the line of off stump. He's pushing forward, bat and pad together, but seems to indicate to Stokes that he hasn't hit it before reluctantly opting to review. Just as well he did, because the third umpire reckons there's a small spike on Snicko, and a slight deviation of the ball into the pad before it strikes. It's the sort of marginal call that tends to stay on-field, but who knows, perhaps Root's grumping to the match referee last night has done the trick. Shamsudeen certainly assesses all the angles.
Minutes later, however, Stokes has no such recourse. He had just begun to up the ante, unfurling his range of sweeps, slogs and reverses to give England some precious momentum. But then, on 25, he's done in by that man Ashwin again, pressing forward, trying to smother the spin, but stuffed as the ball skids on yet again. It's his 11th dismissal to Ashwin, no-one's been done in more. And a similar mode of dismissal pins Root to the crease too, on 19, as Axar's slider finds his knee-roll to seal the first ten-wicket haul by an Indian spinner for five years. Ben Foakes and Ollie Pope have the challenge of piecing together a defendable lead. Their current advantage of 23 isn't going to cut it.
5.15pm: This is the game, right here, right now
England have clawed their way to parity, but they've lost a third wicket in getting there. Dom Sibley had played within himself while the mayhem was taking place at the other end - assuming that's not a tautology. But then, suddenly and without warning, he too planted that front dog for a massive wipe across the line at Ashwin. The shot was arguably the correct one - the ball was outside the line of off so lbw wasn't on. Unfortunately, this was not one that skidded, it bit violently for Pant to cling onto a blinder behind the stumps. Sibley thought he hadn't hit it, but there was a lot of grumbling on Snicko as the ball passed bat, and he has to walk. Which brings Ben Stokes out to join Joe Root. England's two best batsmen, united in a bid to post something, anything, defendable. Don't blink!
4.30pm: Just stop right now, this is nonsense!
Axar Patel with the hard, shiny new ball. Tight line, tight length, unplayable mind-games for England's recently pumped-up cricketers. First ball, to Zak Crawley. Skitters through a back-foot block, smashing the top of middle as he pokes hopelessly along any old line, not knowing whether to cover the one that turns or the one that skids. And manages neither. One ball later, Jonny Bairstow, on a pair, plants the front dog for a monstrous slog sweep and misses everything. The finger is straight up, Axar has a Test hat-trick after his final wicket in the first innings! But no! Bairstow reviews, and somehow the ball is shown to be skimming over the bails. No matter... cos one ball later, Bairstow pokes feebly onto the front foot, this time covering the spin and losing his leg stump as the ball skids once more! Just for good measure, Joe Root is beaten by a ripper in the same over. This is unconscionable japes. Who has any idea where this one goes next...
Sampath, meanwhile, has snuffled out a splendid factoid about poor old Bairstow.
Most ducks for England vs India in Tests:
5 - Jonny Bairstow
4 - Stuart Broad, Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Flintoff
Bairstow's last 7 Test innings against India: 0, 0, 18, 0, 0, 6, 0
3.30pm: I can't make sense of this, so I've called in the brains trust
Wild goings-on in the first session today, as India collapse from 98 for 2 last night to 145 all out, with Joe Root taking the first five-for by an England captain since Bob Willis in 1983. Here are our resident prognosticators, George and Karthik, to read the runes of a remarkable collapse.
Andrew Miller: So gentlemen. What on earth are we witnessing, and what does it mean for all our first-day projections?
George Dobell: A weekend off.
Karthik Krishnaswamy Joe Root is doing a Michael Clarke at Mumbai here
AM: Indeed. When wickets offer excessive movement, seam or spin alike, they tend to reduce the gap between the best exponents and the rest. But can we ever have imagined this scenario after England's first-day traumas?
GD: Look, I don't know what a match-defining first-innings lead would have been. 100 would have been. Maybe as few as 50. But 30-35? No way. The game - the series - is still alive.
AM: Karthik, you mentioned the ball that didn't turn as being the secret of Axar's success, which it has been for Leach this morning. But Root, he's served up two snorters. What's going on?
KK: Root bowled a few of these in Chennai too. I thought he underbowled himself in the second innings. I'm still trying to process everything, but it feels like the skiddiness of the surface (or, as Axar Patel suggested yesterday, the pink ball) is taking out a lot of shots, so scoring runs is as hard as staying in. It's become a bit of a lottery as to whether the ball is going to turn or skid. It's very much alive, especially with India batting last.
GD: Batting last will, no doubt, be difficult. So India won't want to be chasing even 150. Zak Crawley's comments last night seem spot on. India struggling to get 200 was possible. But this is pretty extreme...
KK: The range of what is a good length is wider on this pitch than in Chennai, where there was more bounce and consequently less risk of lbw/bowled.
AM: Is that why we've seen fewer sweeps in this Test than the first two? It does seem batsmen are getting bogged down more (Crawley and Rohit aside)
KK: Yeah, you can't sweep from the line of the stumps here, as Rohit Sharma found out. Crawley and Rohit scored most of their runs against the quicker bowlers too.
AM: So, what does a surface like this look in the fourth innings? What does this much-vaunted red soil do once it's been pounded for a few days?
KK: From what sketchy knowledge I have, red soil tends to crumble rather than crack.
AM: Does that take the edge off the turn? Sounds like cracks would lend more to uneven bounce?
KK: Depends on how evenly it crumbles, if that makes any sense. But at this ground, the deteriorating red soil has often tended to slow the pitch down.
AM: So, all bets are off as to what happens from here. Sounds about right for a pink-ball Test!
GD: It could be one innings defines things from here. And that one innings could be someone chancing their arm for an hour. It's tough out there, for sure, but as tough as the scorecard shows? I'm not sure.
KK: I think Ashwin using his feet a couple of times briefly unsettled the bowlers. Batsman can't afford to keep getting stuck in their crease.
And against Axar, I think Ben Foakes showed there's a way to play by playing inside the line and assuming the ball will go on straight, and hope that if it turns, it beats you by a distance and misses the stumps too. Easier said than done, but it's broadly what they'll have to try to do.
AM: Ben Stokes hasn't used his feet for a few weeks. Maybe it will goad him into a response...
GD: England have to bat better in their second innings. Can they do that?
3.16pm: Did I say England were flat...?
Autocorrect was clearly kicking in ... because Joe Root has just bowled Washington Sundar for a duck with another utter snorter. Round the wicket, oodles of undercut from his round-arm action, pitching off, kicking and straightening, flicking the top of the stump. England are ecstatic, and suddenly India's innings is taking on very similar proportions to England's ... 74 for 2 to 112 all out; 98 for 2 to 125 for 7 ... MAKE THAT EIGHT! Because Axar Patel has just mashed his first delivery straight at short cover! Root has three without conceding a run. There's pink-ball magic happening right here, right now!
3.11pm: Rootin' tootin'! This has turned on a dime!
Extraordinary scenes in Ahmedabad. One comes Joe Root for his first bowl of the match, and he serves up an absolute snorter to the left-handed Rishabh Pant - a huge ripper out of the rough, that flicks the edge and nestles in Ben Foakes' ninja-quick gloves. England have three wickets in the blink of an eye, and this lead isn't looking quite so insurmountable now ... what can Ashwin and Washington Sundar marshall from the rest of the innings? Even a 50-run lead could prove to be priceless.
3.04pm: Leach at the double and now it's game on!
Well now things have got interesting... Rohit Sharma yawns into a sweep-shot, but is deceived once again by the ball that doesn't bite. The ball skids under his bat, thumping him almost on the hip as he gets low into his stroke, and up goes the finger once more. He reviews, but to no avail... that's smashing off stump, and though Ashwin scored a century in his last Test outing, England know they have a sniff now.
2.53pm: Leach skids one through, Rahane goes!
There's the moment that England so desperately needed. The persevering Jack Leach bags his third of the innings, and it's a familiar mode of dismissal for the match so far - the one that doesn't turn does the trick, as Rahane shapes to cut and is slammed on the knee-roll in front of off stump. Rishabh Pant arrives - never one to stand on ceremony, especially when Leach is in his sights. Buckle up!
2.45pm: India take the lead without alarm
Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane are into their day's work, with the morning's first objective chalked up without fuss. They've rumbled into the lead, with a brace of fours through the covers off James Anderson lifting Rohit into the sixties, while Rahane picked off Jack Leach with a sweep behind square - the sort of shot that England were unable to produce against Axar Patel's more brisk offerings. It's a hot afternoon, and England look pretty flat already. Ominous signs.
1.50pm: Can England claw their way back from here?
Morning/afternoon all. Welcome back to Ahmedabad where Zak Crawley, for one, insists England are still fighting for this title. But they've got to go to Motera and get something, which is going to be easier said than done after the debacle of a first day that they endured on Wednesday. India have all but over-run their first-innings total of 112, with seven wickets in hand and with Rohit Sharma looking ominously poised once more. Can they pull off a mini-blinder and keep the deficit to within 150 runs? Their hopes of making history may rest on it. Sit tight!
One observer who isn't anticipating any miracles, however, is our very own prophet of doom, George Dobell, who believes England have reaped what they have sown in their feckless display against spin bowling. As for winning the toss and getting rumbled inside 50 overs after batting first, that's a rare achievement - although not so rare in England's recent experience, as S Rajesh notes.