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3 Opportunists Offer Lessons In Cricket On Day 3 At The Chepauk



As criticism of the second Test pitch at the Chepauk reduced to a whimper, three opportunists stood out with extraordinary individual performances for their team's cause.

Ben Foakes, who turned 28 on Monday, continued his marvelous wicket-keeping display barring a couple of glaring errors as England toiled hard to stay buoyant in this Test. 

The other two opportunists on the day, India skipper Virat Kohli and all rounder Ravichandran Ashwin showed critics there are no gremlins in the pitch if you bat well. 

Together, the pair ensured they take the match so away from England that the visiting team dare not even dream of getting close to the target of 482 that India have set for them to win in two full days to achieve it. 

Among those who have continued moaning over the quality of the pitch are former England bowler turned BBC broadcaster, Jonathan Agnew.

"Yes, you expect it to turn in India, but not like this; it was taking huge holes out of the pitch in the first hour of the first day. You may as well go and play on a beach," Agnew wrote in his column.

However the brilliant batting displayed by Kohli and Ashwin drew praise even from the England camp.

Here are how the three opportunists fared and received accolades that aspiring cricketers would love to imbibe:

1. Foakes, no jokes is the best: Playing his 6th Test, it was the speed with which Ben Foakes stumped three India's batsmen that amazed the pundits watching the match. 

The fact that his feat matched Alan Knott's three stumpings in 1968 was secondary.

Foakes did goof up twice, once spilling a catch and on the other a missed stumping, both when Ashwin was batting.

That didn't stop former Australian captain and wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist from showering his admiration. "Geez, how brilliant is Ben Foakes," Gilchrist tweeted from @gilly381. 

His cricket board too acknowledged the younger keeper's exploits.

His renewed agility behind the stumps and dour unbeaten knock of 42 in England's first innings have once again triggered the debate whether he's better than Jos Butler.

For the moment, Foakes will have another shot at showing his batting skills on a viciously turning pitch when England resume their second innings at 53 for 3. 

He may be promoted up the order ahead of Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope after the smart way he tackled Ashwin and Axar Patel.

Former India wicketkeeper, now commentator Deep Dasgupta devoted a considerable time on air analyzing Foakes's keeping. 

He was of the view that young wicketkeepers learning the art should watch Foakes and gain valuable tips on how a wicketkeeper's stance and reflexes should be to stand out. 

2. Kohli, quiet surely: The third day of a Test match is called the moving day, a term borrowed from golf. 

It suggests that this day would offer a perspective on which team is closer to victory.

The sublime 62 that Virat Kohli scored on the third day effectively blunted any noise over the poor quality of the Chennai pitch.

Kohli brushed off any cobwebs he might have allowed that restricted his batting in the first innings with assured footwork and solid defence in his second essay. 

 "@imVkohli showing his absolute class. You can score runs on this wicket for just need to be very very good," exclaimed a tweet from former England player Matt Prior.

The India skipper had more praise in store as Former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted:

Kevin Pietersen, Kohli's teammate at Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, too tweeted with a lament from @KP24: "He's the greatest batter in the game of cricket playing right now - @imVkohli! England didn’t pick their best team so can’t complain. Missing Jimmy, BIG TIME!"

3. Ashwin, win-win: The Ravichandran Ashwin you are seeing after the heroic match saving effort in Sydney recently is a more ambitious, hungry all rounder.

Since that bruising Sydney effort in the company of Hanuma Vihari, Ashwin is out to prove to his critics that he can be relied upon as a Test allrounder.

He has been fighting a competitive battle for an allrounder's position in India's Test team with Ravindra Jadeja.

His glorious century on Monday and the five wicket haul the previous day has now placed him only behind England's legendary allrounder Ian Botham as the only players to have taken five wickets and scored 100 runs in a Test match on three and five occasions, respectively. 

Former Test hero VVS Laxman was quick to remark: "What a innings @ashwinravi99. Good to see you regaining your confidence in batting since the 2nd innings of the Sydney Test. Your contribution with the bat is as important as with the ball especially on this surface. Keep it up."

Ashwin and Kohli showed tremendous patience, grit, determination and technique in negotiating the turning pitch and England bowlers.
It would be tough for England's batsmen to match them and create a miracle on Day 4.

There are two batsmen, Joe Root and Foakes to watch out for who could put up a semblance of a fight.

There were a few amusing moments on Day 3, including Ben Stokes's headstand:


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