All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja on Monday hailed India's lower order contribution in Test matches, saying it's always a "bonus" for the team whenever the lower order performs with the bat.
India's lower order contribution is the highest among all the teams this year in Test matches.
In the ongoing Test also being played at the Punjab Cricket Stadium (PCA) in Mohali against England, the Indian lower order contributed more than 200 runs and eventually helped the hosts to tighten the grip on the game.
Speaking to reporters after the third day's play, Jadeja said, "It's a good sign that the lower order is performing and contributing its best towards the team. It's a good sign that apart from the top order, the lower order is also performing. We are focusing more during the nets on our batting. Ravichandran Ashwin has scored more than 500 runs in 2016. I also try to contribute whatever I can. As I said whatever batsmen from No. 7 to 11 contribute, it's a bonus."
At 148/2 on Day 2, India were in the box-seat, two balls after tea, Cheteshwar Pujara pulled Abdul Rashid and was well held at deep mid-wicket, by Chris Woakes. The out-of-form Ajinkya Rahane (0) failed to read Rashid's googly and was pinned in front, debutant Karun Nair was unlucky to get run-out at the individual score of 4 and all of a sudden, 148/2 had turned to 156/5.
Virat Kohli (62) shared a 48-run stand with Ashwin before the skipper got out of Ben Stokes.
That situation once again left the Indian lower order exposed and the challenge was once again put before them to prove their mettle and they didn't disappoint.
However, the Indian lower order didn't disappoint. First Ashwin and Jadeja shared a 97-stand before the former got out at the individual score of 72. However, Jadeja found an able partner in Jayant (55) and the duo added 80 runs to consolidate India's lead. Jadeja got out 10 short of his maiden Test hundred in trying to score quickly.
Speaking about the challenge, Jadeja said, "Whenever you play any important inning for India, it feels good. We were at 150-5 and thus it was a challenge task for us to put team in a commanding position. Me, Ashwin and Jayant talked with each other and stitched partnerships to further consolidate India's lead. It was a tough task."
The 27-year-old Saurashtra all-rounder also insisted that the hosts hold the upper hand in the game and are all set to take a 2-0 lead in the five match series.
At stumps on Day Four, the visitors were left in tatters at 78-4, and are still trailing by 56 runs.
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