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India make cautious start after England post a mammoth 537

 Agencies |  2016-11-11 00:13:46.0  |  Rajkot, Gujarat

India make cautious start after  England post a mammoth 537

Indian spinners were taken to the cleaners by the English batsmen as the visitors posted a mammoth 537 on the second day of the opening cricket Test here on Thursday.

India made a cautious start reaching 63 for no loss with openers Murali Vijay (25 not out) and Gautam Gambhir (28 not out) at the crease.

England's first innings total was their third-highest ever in this country, showing their batsmen were in total control against Indian spinners especially Ravichandran Ashwin, who conceded 167 runs in 46 overs taking only two wickets.

Amit Mishra fared no better, having being hit for 98 runs in 23.3 overs.

India still need 275 more runs to avoid a follow-on, on a track showing increasing signs of wear and tear after its easy-paced nature on day one on Wednesday.

The hosts also trailed the visitors by a massive 474 runs with all ten wickets in hand going into day three on Friday.

Both the batsmen faced testing spells of fast bowling and probing spin bowling to remain unbeaten for carrying on the daunting task faced by the home team.

Vijay had faced 70 balls, striking four fours — three of which came in one over off Stuart Broad.

Gambhir, playing his second Test on the trot after his recall from hibernation, struck four fours in his 68-ball knock as they batted out the shortened last session of play.

Earlier, New Zealand-born England all rounder Ben Stokes became the third century maker in the visitors first innings after Joe Root on Wednesday and Moeen Ali on Thursday morning.

The tourists, in particular Stokes who made an attacking 128 which was the innings highest score, batted right down the order to post the massive total before being all out to end the extended session two.

England's total revolved mainly around Root's classical, foundation-laying 124 on day one, Ali's attractive knock of 117 and the enterprising hundred by Stokes against a listless Indian bowling attack that was plundered for a whopping 139 runs in 30 overs in the pre-lunch period.

Only the 652 made in 1984-85 in Chennai and 559 for 8 declared at Kanpur made way back in 1963-64 topped the total raised by England in this city, hosting its first-ever Test. This was also the first instance after 2009 by Sri Lanka in Motera that three visiting team's players triple digit scores.

Stokes, who struck 2 sixes and 13 fours in his 235-ball knock, departed just before the scheduled tea interval and England lost their last wicket, that of Zafar Ansari for 32 during the extended second session to be all out after posting their third-best innings total in India.

Amit Mishra trapped Ansari leg before on the sweep shot to bring the innings to a close after England had batted for nearly ten and a half hours. 

Dropped chances set the tone: Moeen Ali

If England have reached a commanding position in the first Test, the dropped catches have contributed immensely, said England all-rounder Moeen Ali, who himself struck a century. 

Indian fielders dropped three chances in the first hour of the match on Wednesday and on Thursday also Ben Stokes was dropped twice (on 60 and 61) by Wriddhiman Saha. Stokes went on to get highest score for England with his 128-run knock. 

Ali said it was nothing new in the game but surely it helped them. "It can happen in cricket but it set the tone for the rest of the day. It could have been lot different if those catches were taken. The left-handed batsman said the bounce on the SCA track will get lower and batting will be more difficult now.

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