India grind England’s Bazball to paste, win five-Test match series

By BD Narayankar

Ranchi, Feb 26 (UNI) India mashed England’s Bazball to paste as Rohit Sharma’s boys handed Ben Stokes his first series defeat on Day 4 of the fourth Test here on Monday.

India won the match by five wickets to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match Test series.

With this win, India extended their winning streak in home series to 17, having tasted series defeat 12 years ago.

Credit goes to the youngsters for stepping up in the absence of big players like Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.

Yashasvi Jaiswal, in particular, was the instrument of change for India’s fortune, having lost the first Test in Hyderabad. He brought India on par with England in the series with a mammoth double century in the Visakhapatnam Test.

Yet another double century by Jaiswal in the next match in Rajkot and a dominant bowling performance saw India go ahead 2-1 in the series.

Ranchi Test also was no different as England put on a fighting 353 runs in their first innings on a cracking pitch.

India fought back with Dhruv Jurel’s gutsy 90 that helped India reduce the deficit to 46 when at one stage of the match it appeared that India would give at least 150 runs lead to England. Jurel and Kuldeep Yadav had stitched a match-winning 76-run partnership for the eighth wicket after India were tottering at 177/7.

After bowled out for 307 in the first innings, India skittled out England for a meager 145 in the second innings as Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep ran through the English batting lineup.

Chasing a ticklish 192 target, Rohit cracked a very crucial half-century as India lost three quick wickets of Rajat Patidar (0), Jadeja (4) and Sarfaraz Khan (0), allowing England to bounce back into the game.

However, Jurel and Shubman Gill brought relief to the hosts and stitched an unconquered 72-run stand to win the game for their side.

India chased down the 192-run target in 60.5 overs, winning the game by five wickets on Day 4.

Shoaib Bashir was the pick of a bowler for England, claiming his maiden five-wicket haul while giving away 119 runs in 44 overs.

Earlier, Rohit and Jaiswal put India firmly in control by adding 84 for the first wicket before the left-hander lost concentration and tried to take on Joe Root, only to mistime to backward point.

Jaiswal’s dismissal gave an opening for England as they succeeded in getting Rohit caught behind off Tom Hartley soon after India’s skipper went past his fifty.

An under-pressure Patidar was removed for a duck by Bashir as India went from 84/0 to 100/3. Gill and Jadeja survived till lunch, and had a task cut out to take India home.

However, post-lunch India received an early jolt with Jadeja gifting his wicket by chipping a full toss straight into the hands of Jonny Bairstow at midwicket.

Bashir struck for England in the very next ball after Sarfaraz inside-edged to short leg where Ollie Pope took the catch.

Jurel and Gill played cautiously against spinners and stole runs to reduce the required runs.

Gill, in particular, was exceptional in his approach by keeping his cool even after losing partners at the other end before this partnership.

Gill took the aerial route only when India were 20 runs away from a win as smashed his first boundary off his 120th ball and brought his fifty with a boundary in the next ball.

Jurel took India home in the following over to seal an excellent Test match.

Brief scores: England 353 (Joe Root 122*; Ravindra Jadeja 4/67) & 145 (Zak Crawley 60; R Ashwin 5/51) lost to India 307 (Dhruv Jurel 90; Shoaib Bashir 5/119) & 192/5 (Rohit Sharma 55, Shubman Gill 52*; Shoaib Bashir 3/79) by 5 wickets.

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