Ali stars as England take command of India Test

Shukriya Pakistan

Rajkot: Moeen Ali completed his fourth Test century as a relentless England piled on the runs on the second day of the series opener against India in Rajkot on Thursday.

Ali’s stroke-filled 117, his first ton against India, took the visitors to a strong 450 for 6 at lunch at the Saurashtra Cricket Association ground.

The stylish left-hander, on 99 overnight, hit 13 boundaries during his near five-hour stay at the crease before being bowled by Mohammed Shami (2-51).

His dismissal did little to halt the charge of England who hammered 139 runs in the morning session while losing two wickets.

Jonny Bairstow, the highest Test run-scorer this year, shared a 99-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Ben Stokes before also falling to Shami.

Stokes was unbeaten at the break on 84 while Chris Woakes was on four.

The Indian bowlers struggled to put the brakes on the free-scoring England batsmen with dropped chances adding to their misery on an easy-paced track.

Stokes was dropped twice in his sixties by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha with Umesh Yadav being the unlucky bowler on both occasions.

The Indians took the new ball in the morning after England resumed at 311 for 4 but failed to get an immediate breakthrough.

Ali reached his century off the third ball of the day from Shami who seemed to have recovered from the cramps he suffered on the opening day.

The all-rounder singled out Yadav for special punishment, taking three fours in four balls off the paceman.

Stokes chipped in before Shami broke their 62-run stand with the wicket of Ali who saw his off-stump cartwheel away in spectacular fashion after misjudging the line and not playng a shot.

Bairstow then combined with Stokes to continue the onslaught against a hapless Indian attack.

Stokes completed his half-century and Bairstow also looked in ominous form, lofting leg-spinner Amit Mishra over the long-on boundary for a six.

But he lost his wicket when he was caught by Saha off Shami, who looked the pick of the bowlers.