England 246/5 at tea on day 2

England 246/5 at tea on day 2
England were 246 for five at tea on day two in reply to India's 148 all out in the fifth and final cricket Test here today.
 
England captain Alastair Cook fought his way to another gritty half-century as home team reached a comfortable 148 for one against India at lunch, on the second of the fifth and final cricket Test, here today.

At the break, Cook was unbeaten on 56 with in-form Gary Ballance undefeated on 40 in an unbroken 82-run stand for the second wicket after Varun Aaron had removed opener Sam Robson (37) early in the day.

While Cook had six fours in 140 balls, fellow left-hander Ballance was more attacking having eight hits to the fence in 66 balls.

The Indian bowlers toiled hard but the conditions had changed quite a bit from the first day.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0-37), Varun Aaron (1-49), Ishant Sharma (0-23) and Stuart Binny (0-22) were all deployed to make use of a semi-new ball but only the one wicket was all that came through in the session. Ravichandran Ashwin (0-9) also bowled four overs.

The day started with England at 62/0 overnight, trailing only by 86 runs. India needed early breakthroughs to force the hosts onto the backfoot with Kumar starting proceedings.

And they did get a bright spark when in the second over of the day – 21st of the innings – Aaron bowled Sam Robson with quick straight delivery that beat the batsman.

The under-fire opening batsman scored 37 runs off 70 balls, including 6 boundaries, and added 66 runs for the first wicket with Cook.

It brought Ballance to the crease but he was quick to get off the mark and got a nice start first up to dash any hopes the Indians had of triggering a sudden collapse.

The pitch had eased out a little bit and while the ball was still moving about, there wasn't the exaggerated movement that had been available the previous evening. The visitors paid the price for not making any breakthroughs in the last session yesterday.

Cook and Ballance then settled down, with runs starting to flow easily. The 100-run mark came up in the 31st over even as Indian skipper MS Dhoni looked to juggle around his medium pacers. But the batting duo was fully on top of proceedings, bringing up their 50-run stand in the 35th over.

They had batted without much fuss and Dhoni then had a last roll of the dice before lunch as England neared the Indian first-innings total.

He brought on Ashwin to see if spin might make an impact. But the pair remained solid, with Cook playing the off-spinner intelligently and reaching his half-century in the 41st over.

There are still nine wickets remaining in this English innings and with these two batsmen set and the conditions easing out, it doesn't bode well for Indian fortunes in this match going ahead.

Brief Scores:

India: 148 all out
England: 246 for 5 in 73 overs (Alastair Cook 79, Gary Ballance 64; R Ashwin 2/44, Varun Aaron 2/84).
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