England players during the second Test with India
Jeetan Patel said England should take the “positives” from Moeen and Leach’s performance against India

England spin bowling consultant Jeetan Patel has defended the performance of their spinners after India built up what looks certain to be match-winning lead in the second Test in Chennai.

Ravichandran Ashwin scored a century as England, who have lost three-second innings wickets, were set 482 to win.

But Moeen Ali and Jack Leach both took four wickets in India’s 286 all out in their second innings.

And Patel said they have “put in a hell of an effort”.

He added: “[They have bowled] 60 overs each and they had one session off in three days.

“They’ll be tired tonight and tired tomorrow but we should take a lot of positives from it.

“Mo has bowled 60 overs in the Test match and taken eight wickets. He probably should have taken nine or 10.”

A stand of 96 between Ashwin and captain Virat Kohli all but ensured that India will level the series before the third Test, a day-night game in Ahmedabad starting on 24 February, but Patel insisted England were looking at the positives.

“There’s positives throughout any game of cricket whether you’re on the winning side or not. I won’t say we’re going to win this game but we’re going to shake a stick at it,” he said.

Moeen has match figures of 8-226 while Leach, who took two wickets in the first innings, returned second-innings figures of 4-100.

Both bowlers found turn on a pitch offering plenty of assistance to the spinners but struggled to shackle India’s batsmen with consistent line and length.

Moeen, playing in his first Test match for 18 months, went for 4.41 runs an over in the first innings but tightened up in the second, conceding 98 runs from his 32 overs.

“Initially he showed signs of nerves and was maybe a touch anxious,” Patel added. “As the game went on he was really positive about how he was doing his job.

“They’re amazing deliveries, they shape away from the right handed batsman, they dip and they hit the wicket hard and spin big. I don’t know what more people would want.”

By comparison Ashwin, playing on his home ground, took 5-43 on the second day of the match at an economy rate of 1.80, and added the wicket of England opener Rory Burns before the close on Monday.

Ashwin, who scored his first Test century since August 2016, has now taken a five-wicket haul and scored a hundred in the same match for the third time, a record surpassed only by Ian Botham.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel also kept the scoring rate down, going for exactly two runs an over, and former England spinner Phil Tufnell felt that the English spin bowlers offered too many bad balls to the Indian batsmen.

“I don’t think we bowled as well as we could do,” he said on The Cricket Social.

“If we look back I think there were a lot of bad balls bowled which give four runs and give the momentum. We didn’t make India work hard enough for their runs.”

Tufnell added that both of England’s front-line spinners improved in the second innings.

“Moeen would have been disappointed with the way he bowled in the first innings, a few too many full tosses and release [the pressure] balls,” he said.

“But you can see the rhythm’s coming back.

“Leach has stuck to his guns marvellously well. He’s bowled a few bad balls but he’s getting more and more consistent as the overs piled up.

“They just need to iron out those bad deliveries.”