India hog Day 1 honours as spinners and Jaiswal revel in Hyderabad Test

By BD Naraayannkar
Hyderabad, Jan 25 (UNI) India hogged the day’s honours after their opening batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal cracked an unbeaten half-century and spinners shared 8 wickets between them in the first Test here on Thursday.

England could manage 246 in their first innings, all because of the lone battle launched by Captain Ben Stokes who smacked a cavalier 70 off 88 balls with 6 boundaries and 3 sixes.

The English hopes to put India on the backfoot by picking up at least three wickets before the day’s play was shattered by Jaiswal who smashed 76* off just 70 balls to help India post 119/1, trailing England by 127 runs.

Jaiswal clipped the very first ball for a boundary off pacer Mark Wood and then took on debutant Tom Hartley by hitting two sixes in his very first over of his career. India brought up their fifty off just 39 balls.

Hartley frittered away 51 runs in his first six overs from one end, but it was Jack Leach who gave the first breakthrough from the other end. He managed to break the opening stand after Rohit (24 off 27, 3x4s mistimed a shot into the hands of Stokes.

When England takes the field on Day 2, they would have regretted losing all three of their reviews if India took a significant lead on Friday.

Earlier, England opted to bat first and were off to a good start with a flair for Bazball aggression though the Indian pacers led by Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj were getting swing in the air. Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett, especially were severe to Siraj who was playing his first Test in his hometown.

The visitors managed to get runs at five runs per over before Rohit Sharma employed spinners. Ravichandran Ashwin soon trapped Duckett for 35 off 39 balls with 7 boundaries, giving India the first breakthrough.

Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Ollie Pope next after the No.3 edged one to Rohit in slips after scoring one. The left-arm spinner could have scalped his second wicket in the same over as Joe Root was given lbw, but the DRS saved him.

England’s relief was cursory as they were reduced to 60/3 from 55/0 with Ashwin picking up Crawley for 20.

Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root revived England’s fortune before the lunch break, taking the total to 108/3.

With Bairstow showing positive intent, the visitors expected him to carry on the work along with Root, but Axar Patel shattered their dreams with an extraordinary delivery that spun away from Bairstow’s defense to clean him up for 37 off 58 balls with 5 boundaries.

Root then top-edged to Bumrah at short fine-leg after he failed to keep the sweep along the ground off Jadeja. He made 29 off 60 balls with one boundary.

This opened the floodgates for India. Axar bagged his second with Ben Foakes nicking one to KS Bharat behind the stumps after scoring 4 off 24 balls, and Bumrah opened his account after getting rid of Rehan Ahmed for 13 off 18 balls in the same manner.

The flurry of wickets forced Stokes to take the aerial route to break the shackles. Debutant Tom Hartley (23 off 24, 2x4s 1×6) made some handy runs but it was the England captain who stoked up crucial runs in a jiffy.

Stokes targetted Jadeja and reached his half-century by hammering consecutive sixes. His free-wheeling knock finally ended with Bumrah’s jagger to clatter his stumps.

Brief scores: India 119/1 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 76*; Jack Leach 1/24) trail England 246 (Ben Stokes 70, Jonny Bairstow 37; R Ashwin 3/68) by 127 runs.

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