The pitch had been called a mine-field. And R Ashwin had walked into bat with India on 106-6 in their second innings against England at Chennai during the second Test. They weren’t in any real spot of bother and were already 301 runs ahead.
However, there was a statement to be made about the pitch not being poor. And Ashwin took it upon himself to prove that. He not only added 96-runs for the seventh wicket, but also went ahead to hit his fifth Test ton.
The ton came in 135-balls. The celebration was on expected lines, helmet off, fist pumped and bat raised. But what came a surprise to many was the manner in which his batting partner, Mohammad Siraj celebrated.
Siraj too pumped the air, not once but twice. The signature smile was an indicator of the joy that Siraj went through as his teammate enjoyed the fruits of his hard work. Siraj is known to wear his emotions his sleaves. He was seen in tears as the National Anthem played during his T20 debut vs New Zealand at Rajkot in 2017.
Siraj’s eyes were wet again on his Test debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in December last year. Siraj had said that he remembered his father who had passed away a few days earlier and couldn’t control his emotions.
Ashwin was the last man out after scoring 106. Siraj scored an entertaining 21-ball 16 that included two sixes. India set England a target of 482 runs. Kohli struck seven boundaries during his stay in the middle while Ashwin found the fence 14 times and cleared it once.
For the visitors, senior spinner Moeen Ali registered impressive figures of 4/98, while Jake Leach picked up 4/100.
England lead the four game series 1-0.