Bashir, Hartley put England ahead on cracked-up pitch

By BD Narayankar

Ranchi, Feb 24 (UNI) Despite Yashasvi Jaiswal’s third Test fifty, Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley put England ahead by sharing six wickets against India on a cracked-up pitch on Day 2 of the fourth Test here on Saturday.

Batting first, England made 353 with the help of Joe Root’s splendid century and pushed India on the backfoot at 219/7 at stumps.

Thanks to Dhruv Jurel and Kuldeep Yadav’s unbeaten 42 runs stand for the eighth wicket otherwise it could have been even worse for India.

England would like to deal early blows and deny India to further reduce 134 runs deficit on the third morning. And the visitors are fortunate to have the cracked-up pitch that is assisting spinners.

At the end of the day, India might be feeling to have missed on making quick runs as Jaiswal was bereft of regular strikes and Sarfaraz went into a shell.

Also, the Indian batsmen were unlucky to have been trapped lbw thrice on umpire’s calls, causing a mini-collapse at crucial points.

Bashir was wrecker-in-chief for England with four wickets, while Hartley forked out a couple.

Earlier, the tourists added 51 runs to their overnight 302/7 with Ollie Robinson scoring the bulk of the runs, before getting out for 58 runs.

India desperately needed a breakthrough as England looked to extend the score past 375 in the first innings. Ravindra Jadeja provided it by shattering a 102-run stand by getting Robinson (58) caught behind Dhruv Jurel while trying to reverse sweep.

Robinson opted for the review, but it went against him as the replays confirmed a faint tickle. Jadeja struck again in the same over removing Bashir caught by Rajat Patidar for a duck after going for a slog.

The let-armer wrapped up the English side dismissing James Anderson leg before for a duck, ending up taking four wickets. Joe Root remained unbeaten on 122.

England got rid of Rohit via Anderson, but Jaiswal looked solid with five lovely boundaries before going into the first break.

In the post-lunch session, Jaiswal notched up his third Test fifty before Bashir rattled India by picking three top wickets in a jiffy.

Bashir trapped Shubman Gill (38) leg before and dismissed Patidar (17) similarly before getting the last match centurion Ravindra Jadeja (12) bat-pad catch at forward short leg.

From 86/1, India slipped to 131/4, putting the onus on Sarfaraz and Jaiswal to bat very well in the last session of the day.

Jaiswal looked solid but was lucky to savour a narrow escape when he edged Robinson, which fell short of keeper Ben Foakes who felt of having taken the catch cleanly, but TV replays showed the ball bouncing before going into the gloves.

Gill smacked back-to-back boundaries off Robinson but was trapped lbw of Bashir’s ball which turned sharply to get the inside edge, before stitching an 82-run partnership with Jaiswal.

Patidar showed promise with his flicks and punches but succumbed to Bashir who had him plumb in front.

Jadeja smacked two consecutive sixes off Hartley before surviving an lbw shout via DRS, but in the next ball, Bashir dismissed him with a bat-pad catch to Ollie Pope at short leg.

These quick wickets put India on the back foot, and the onus rested with Jaiswal yet again. The opener continued to add runs to bring India’s innings back on track.

England got the hold of India’s innings after cleaning up Jaiswal for 73.

With their backs to the wall, India needed their lower order to put up a show, but the visitors applied pressure as Hartley forced Sarfaraz to edge one in the slip before trapping Ravichandran Ashwin lbw.

Kuldeep and Jurel put up a brave front and played almost 110 balls before the umpires drew stumps for the day.

Brief scores: India 219/7 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 73, Shubman Gill 38; Shoaib Bashir 4/84) trail England 353 (Joe Root 122*; Ravindra Jadeja 4/67) by 134 runs.

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