India made a roaring comeback into the four-match Test series against England as they wrapped up the second Test at Chennai by 317 runs on the fourth day to level the series 1-1. The victory is a huge shot in the arm for Virat Kohli's team, who were decimated in the opening Test by the visitors on the same venue. The triumph was made possible by the all-round genius of local lad Ravichandran Ashwin, who scored a century and picked up 8 wickets in the match, and a belligerent ton from the blade of Rohit Sharma in the first innings. The victory was India's biggest (by runs) against England and the fifth biggest overall.
India's victory on the fourth day was a matter of time with England already three wickets down in their second innings at stumps on day 3. Skipper Joe Root and Dan Lawrence, the overnight batsmen, had the onerous task of keeping Ravichandran Ashwin at bay on a track that was taking vicious turn from day 1 and they didn't succeed for too long.
Ashwin sent back Lawrence for 26, the England number three stumped after trying to negate the turn by stepping out. Ben Stokes joined skipper Root and tried his best to stop the inevitable, but succeeded only for 51 deliveries, after which he too was sent packing by Ashwin, an inside edge caught by the close in fielder.
Ollie Pope's attempted sweep was caught in the deep by Ishant Sharma off the bowling of Axar Patel as India tightened the noose around England. Kuldeep Yadav was unfortunate to not pick up the wicket of Root, whose miscued reverse sweep was dropped by Siraj.
But the chinaman bowler wasn't to be denied for long. Ben Foakes' half baked sweep was caught by Axar as the visitors went into lunch at 116/7.
Root didn't last long after the lunch break as he became Axar Patel's fourth victim of the second innings. Patel got one to turn and bounce sharply off the rough patches and Root's attempted forward defense led to him glove one to the first slip where Rahane pouched it safely.
Axar completed his maiden 5-for in Test cricket on debut as he sent back Olly Stone for a duck, trapping him leg before wicket. He became the 9th Indian to pick a 5-wicket haul on Test debut.
With the match all but over, Moeen Ali decided to have some fun as he hit Axar Patel for three sixes in an over. The England all-rounder continued the onslaught and looked set for the fastest Test fifty, before being stumped off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav for 43.
India's victory was set up on day 1 by the brilliance of Rohit Sharma, who dominated England's attack to vindicate Kohli's decision to bat first after winning the toss even as wickets fell around him. Rohit's power packed 161 was complimented by a studied 67 from the blade of Ajinkya Rahane. Rishabh Pant scored an attacking 58 and stayed unbeaten as India were bowled out for 329 on the second morning.
Ishant Sharma sent back Rory Burns early to start the carnage as Axar Patel and R Ashwin ran through England's top order on a pitch that was turning big. Ben Foakes' unbeaten 42 was the only bit of fight from the visiting pack as Root's men were bowled out for 134 with Ashwin picking up a 5-for, the 29th of his career.
India had a 195-run lead within 2 days and the opening duo of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill gave the team a good start in the second essay. A middle order collapse saw India being reduced to 106/6 but captain Virat Kohli stood firm and stitched an important partnership with Ashwin.
Kohli departed for 62 but Ashwin showed great application to bat on with the tailenders and went on to complete his fifth Test century as India set a huge target of 482 runs for England to chase.
The next two matches will be played in Ahmedabad with the third Test being a day-night affair, to be contested from February 24.
India's win in the second Test ended England's winning run on foreign soil, having won their last six, including the first Test against India in Chennai.