Rapid reply from India after England dismissed for 246 in Hyderabad
SUMMARY: England 246 all out from 64.3 overs (Ben Stokes 70, Jonny Bairstow 37, Ben Duckett 35, Joe Root 29; Ravichandran Ashwin 3-68, Ravindra Jadeja 3-88, Jasprit Bumrah 2-28, Axar Patel 2-33) vs India 119-1 from 23 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 76*, Rohit Sharma 24; Jack Leach 1-24)
India raced to 119-1 to give some context to England’s 246 all out on an action-packed first day of the first Test in Hyderabad.
After winning a crucial toss on a pitch already offering so much to the spinners, the tourists found themselves 60-3 and 137-6.
But captain Ben Stokes, playing for the first time since having knee surgery in November, made a superb 70 to marshal the tail.
Stokes, who lofted three sixes, shared 38 with debutant Tom Hartley and 41 with Mark Wood as England added 109 for their last four wickets. Eight wickets fell to spin, including three each for Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
England appeared to be in the game, only for India’s opener Yashasvi Jaiswal to make light work of the conditions. He dished out some particularly brutal treatment to left-arm spinner Hartley, whose first ball in Test cricket was belted for six.
Jaiswal raced to a half-century from 47 balls, adding 80 for the first wicket with captain Rohit Sharma in 12 overs, before the skipper skied Jack Leach to Stokes at mid-on.
Left-hander Jaiswal ended on 76 not out to leave India 127 behind at the close. Hartley conceded an eye-watering 63 from only nine overs and England have already burnt all three of their reviews.
Hyderabad lives up to the hype
This was a compelling first day, one that lived up to all of the pre-series hype. Though it followed the pattern of England’s previous battles against spin in this country, the way the tourists looked to counter both the conditions and India’s skilful bowlers was utterly riveting and lapped up by a noisy crowd.
For all the talk of spin – both teams have picked three spinners – India swung the new ball but used it poorly. England had added 41 in eight overs before a frustrated Rohit called on his slow bowlers and the complexion of the game changed.
Through a combination of loose shots, superb bowling and some marginal decisions, England went through spells of losing 3-5 and then 3-16 to be in danger of subsiding, before Stokes played another of his back-to-the-wall specials.
Given the pitch, England’s total felt competitive – it was higher than seven of the eight totals they made here three years ago – yet Jaiswal immediately showed his intent in the second over by belting Hartley over the leg side.
Even in these conditions, the debate will be whether England were right to pick three spinners, especially two as inexperienced as Hartley and 19-year-old Rehan Ahmed. Yes, the surface is helpful, but are these bowlers good enough to exploit it?
The answer is still to be revealed, though the early signs are not good. In theory, England have the advantage of bowling last – if India let them. (BBC Sport)