IND vs ENG, 1st Test: Bazball struggles against spin on India debut, Jaiswal makes merry

India finished the day on 119/1 with Yashasvi Jaiswal unbeaten on 76 after England was bowled out for 246 in 64.3 overs with R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja sharing six wickets among themselves.

Published : Jan 25, 2024 17:41 IST , HYDERABAD - 5 MINS READ

The first show on the first day of the opening Test was all about how Bazball would open its box office in India. Ben Stokes was the lone hit as the rest capitulated on a pitch that aided spin and England was bowled out for 246 in 64.3 overs, with R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja sharing six wickets among themselves.

In reply, Indian openers Rohit Sharma (24 off 27 balls) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (76 not out off 70 balls) blazed away, with the southpaw smashing a brilliant unbeaten half-century as India finished the day on 119/1 in 23 overs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.

Rohit, Jaiswal steal the show

The raucous home crowd was on its feet all day, with Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar Patel exploiting the conditions and laying a spin trap. While Ashwin and Jadeja continued their impressive show, Axar and Jasprit Bumrah accounted for two wickets each. After the bowling show, it was the openers who provided the final kick with a brilliant 80-run stand in 74 balls.

Rohit and Jaiswal were off the blocks in a flash, with both openers using their feet well to negotiate the spinners while using the depth of the crease to deal with the pace of Mark Wood. Jaiswal was off the mark with a boundary—a clip over backward square leg—and then welcomed Tom Hartley into the attack with a six over deep mid-wicket before slog-sweeping the debutant for the second six over deep square leg. There was no respite for Hartley as Jaiswal, with a pull over the backward square leg region and a drive through the extra cover region, got India off to a rollicking start.

READ | IND vs ENG, 1st Test: Security breach as fan enters ground, touches Rohit’s feet

Rohit warmed up with a nonchalant flick through the mid-wicket, taking India past 50 in just 39 deliveries. With the bowlers erring in line and length, Jaiswal kept dealing in boundaries, reaching his half-century in just 47 balls. India was poised to end the day with both batter carrying their bats through. However, Rohit perished while trying to unsettle Leach but India took the opening day honours.

The Bazball show

Before the start of the series, a lot of talk revolved around England’s exhilarating Bazball approach. Away from home, Bazball travelled to three locations—South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia—and reaped success on wickets where there was little help to spinners. In Asian outings before the tour of India, England blanked Pakistan 3-0, but those wins came on flat wickets.

The new question bank in their kitbags was how to play on Indian pitches. Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum had to change strategy to keep their hit track on the record shelf in India. However, so far, only Stokes could unlock the key to scoring runs on Indian surfaces with an 88-ball 70. 

Stokes reached his fifty with a six off Jadeja, and during his 122-minute stay at the crease, the England captain hit six boundaries and three sixes. The England captain took on the Indian attack after he was dropped by KS Bharat off Ashwin while batting on 43. Stokes cashed in on the opportunity and went on to score the first half-century of the series, but was castled by Bumrah.  

Duckett, Crawley rise only to fall

England’s opening exchanges showed promising signs of weathering the Indian attack, as Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley forged a fifty-run opening stand and showed no signs of nerves. Duckett and Crawley attacked the Indian pacers and dealt in boundaries.

However, the meltdown started when spin was introduced as Ashwin trapped Duckett. The batter reviewed the call but the on-field decision was upheld.

READ | IND vs ENG, 1st Test: Ashwin-Jadeja becomes most successful Test bowling pair for India, surpasses Kumble-Harbhajan

The introduction of Jadeja saw India pounce on the opposition as the left-arm spinner ended Ollie Pope’s jittery innings with the batter pushing at a classical left-arm spinner’s delivery where the ball came with an angle and straightened after pitching. Pope played for the turn but ended up getting a nick and Rohit took a good catch at first slip.

When England was aiming for a revival, mayhem struck as it lost three wickets for just five runs in 21 balls as Ashwin removed Crawley to hand India control. 

Root, Bairstow stumble

Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow joined hands after the fall of Pope and forged a 61-run stand for the fourth wicket to stabilise the innings. There was turn but not vicious one, as Jadeja kept it stump to stump, Axar drew his length back a bit and relied more on flight, and Ashwin stuck to his strength and bowled his orthodox off-spin, not trying too many variations.

India attacked with spin and Axar, with a peach of a delivery, castled Bairstow as the batter played the wrong line after the ball pitched on middle and turned to crash onto the top of the off stump.

What would haunt England was the manner in which Root walked out after falling to a top-edge. The former skipper employed the sweep shot right from the start, a shot he practiced in the nets but was unproductive as he was castled by a 17-year left-arm net bowler. In a similar fashion, this time Jadeja had the last laugh as the sweep shot resulted in England losing its best batter, caught at short fine leg by Bumrah.

Foakes returned to the side with a lot of expectations but couldn’t live up to it as Axar removed the wicketkeeper-batter. Stokes, however, was defiant as he stitched valuable partnerships with Tom Hartley (38 off 39) and then a 41-run stand with Mark Wood to save England the blushes.   

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