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Ali halts India's march with three quick wickets (Lead Lunch Report)

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Visakhapatnam, Nov 18 (IANS) Off-spinner Moeen Ali's three quick wickets put the brakes on India as the hosts went to lunch at 415/7 on day two of the second Test against England at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here on Friday.

Resuming at 317/4, skipper Virat Kohli (167) and all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin (47 not out) started well, taking India over the 350-run mark before Ali removed Kohli and then dismissed stumper Wriddhiman Saha (3) and Ravindra Jadeja (0).

Kohli, who was unbeaten on 151 on Thursday, could add only 16 runs to his individual score when Ali packed him back with a full delivery outside the off-stump. Kohli, in his attempt to drive got an edge which landed safely in Ben Stokes' hands.

Stokes, who dropped Ashwin a ball earlier, quickly made amends by picking Kohli, who by now had added 35 for the fifth wicket with the Chennai tweaker. The Delhi batsman's 267-ball knock was laced with 18 hits to the fence.

Kohli's wicket triggered a mini collapse of sorts with Ali dismissing stumper Saha and Jadeja in a span of just three balls.

Saha's brief resistance was halted when the third umpire found the Bengal right-hander right in front of a ball which was well outside the off-stump.

Two balls later, Jadeja also departed when he tried defending a ball, which pitched on off and went on with the angle despite TV replays showing that the ball would have missed the southpaw's leg-stump.

The quick dismissals brought in debutant off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who looked at ease facing the England bowlers.

Together with his senior partner, Ashwin, the rookie batted confidently to put on 50 runs for the eighth wicket when the umpires called for lunch.

Earlier on Thursday, Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara (119) bailed India out of trouble with a mammoth 226-run stand for the third wicket before the Saurashtra right-hander departed.

Pujara, who brought up his 10th Test ton with a brilliant six fell prey to comeback man James Anderson.

His dismissal brought in Ajinkya Rahane (23), who along with Kohli forged a 68-run stand for the fifth wicket before being separated by Anderson.

Ashwin then joined Kohli in the middle and the duo took India safely to 317/4 at stumps on the opening day.

Brief Scores: India 415/7 (Virat Kohli 167, Cheteshwar Pujara 119, Ravichandran 47 not out, James Anderson 3-62, Moeen Ali 3-77)

--IANS

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