IND vs ENG: Anderson, Leach bowl England to victory in Chennai

England crushed India by 227 runs in the opening Test to go 1-0 up in the four-Test series at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.

James Anderson felled India captain Virat Kohli to power England to a convincing win in the first Test.   -  BCCI

James Anderson is 38 but runs in with the intensity and hunger of someone who is 22. And he is a sorcerer with the ball.

On a sluggish pitch, he sent the off-stump cartwheeling on two occasions, operating with exceptional craft.

Anderson’s twin strikes in an over bamboozling the smooth-stroking Shubman Gill - he drove with timing and grace for his 50 - and a newly arrived Ajinkya Rahane sent India hurtling towards a rare home defeat at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.

Anderson’s a wizard with the ball. After he reverse swung two deliveries with extreme precision to fire the ball between the bat and pad of Gill and Rahane, he sent down an off-cutter to find the leading edge of the in-form Rishabh Pant.

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His three-wicket burst in the morning settled the issue as England outplayed India, dismissed for 192, by 227 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the four-Test series. Skipper Virat Kohli’s high class 72 went in vain.

Even as Anderson tormented India, the admirable Jack Leach’s left-arm spin gave the host little respite. He was getting the ball to spin away sharply from the right-hander and the deliveries were laced with bounce.

Like his spin partner Dom Bess, Leach is technically sound. He pivots well, possesses an ideal hip-drive, imparts revs on the ball and has an easy, natural release.

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Leach spun one away from Cheteshwar Pujara in the morning to have the tenacious batsman picked up at slip. It was a major strike.

On a wearing fifth-day pitch, Leach was always a threat even if the inconsistent Bess had an off-day. But then, Bess got Washington Sundar to nick a delivery that spun past the southpaw.

Washington erred in not stretching fully forward to make use of his height and kill the spin. Bess’ appeal was negated and even as the third umpire took his time to come up with a verdict, Washington `walked.’

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As wickets fell around him, Kohli batted with skill and application. His bat appeared as broad as his heart as he struck Bess for three successive fours, between long-on and deep mid-wicket.

A straight drive off Archer was a top shot. So was a scorching cover-drive off Stokes, Kohli’s weight was beautifully distributed as he executed the stroke. And Leach was timed between the bowler and the non-striker.

He is such an organised batsman, with ideal footwork, both in offence and defence. Before he was consumed by a Stokes delivery that kept low on this uneven pitch, Kohli had made a statement.

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Leach got one to bounce extra to snare Ashwin on the cut, and after Kohli’s dismissal, it was only a matter of time. 

Incredibly, this is England’s sixth straight away Test victory. India now needs to win at least two of the remaining Tests and draw one to make the World Test Championship final.


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