England are eyeing yet another big win after taking a 237-run first innings lead over India in the fifth and final Test, and middle-oder batsman Gary Ballance said Joe Root and Jos Butler had put the team in a strong position after the hosts witnessed a mini collapse.
Leading 2-1 in the five-match series, England are sniffing an innings victory again after the hosts finished day two at 385 for seven in reply to India's paltry first innings score of 148 runs.
But it was not before off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin triggered a mini collapse, picking up two wickets in the post-lunch session yesterday as England slumped from 191 for one to 204 for four. It appeared as if India were making a comeback in the game before Root stopped them with 92 unbeaten runs.
"After lunch, Varun Aaron changed ends and bowled well to us. He changed the angles and came around the wicket as well as over the wicket. R Ashwin bowled well and got a couple wickets as well. But the way Root and Buttler counter-attacked was brilliant and that really put us in a strong position towards the end of the day," Ballance said after the second day's play yesterday.
"There was a bit of collapse and it was not ideal. But things could have been worse, it could have been 8-9 wickets but only four wickets went down," he said.
After adding 80 runs with Buttler for the sixth wicket, Root added another 67 unbeaten runs with Chris Jordan towards the end of the day's play, taking England's lead past 200 runs and putting them in a commanding position.
"The Indian bowlers might be a little disappointed. They ran in all day on a pitch that is getting flatter. The way they ran in all day was a credit to them especially their seamers. They hit good areas but the way Root played and counter-attacked, he could play freely as they got tired," Ballance said.
Ballance was of the view that Indian bowlers bowled well throughout the day yesterday without much success.
"Varun Aaron ran in all day long and he was bowling in the late 80s. Bhuvneshwar Kumar also touched the 80s plus, he can move the ball both ways. Ashwin is a different bowler from Ravindra Jadeja and they are both very difficult to score off. Overall, I think Indian bowling has done well,"