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India vs England: Yashasvi Jaiswal gets off to a flying start after the tourists were all out for 246

India vs England: Yashasvi Jaiswal gets off to a flying start after the tourists were all out for 246

  • Written by Stefan Schimmelt
  • Hyderabad's leading cricket writer

Image source, Getty Images

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Yashasvi Jaiswal is playing his first Test for India

First Test, Hyderabad (first day of five):

England 246: Stokes 70; Ashwin 3-68, Jadeja 3-88

India 119-1: Jaiswal 76*; Leach 1-24

India raced to 119-1 to give some context to England's 246 on an action-packed first day of the first Test in Hyderabad.

After winning a crucial throw on a pitch that offers so much to the players, the tourists found themselves 60-3 and 137-6 down.

But captain Ben Stokes, playing for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in November, scored an impressive 70 to turn the tail on.

Stokes, who lifted three sixes, shared 38 with debutant Tom Hartley and 41 with Mark Wood as England added 109 for the last four wickets. Eight wickets fell into the spin, including three each by Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

England appeared to be in the game, but India opener Yashasvi Jaiswal highlighted the circumstances. He delivered some particularly brutal treatment to left-arm spinner Hartley, whose first ball in Test cricket was belted for six.

Jaiswal raced to his half-century off 47 balls, adding 80 for the first wicket with captain Rohit Sharma in 12 overs, before skipper Jack Leach skated to Stokes at mid-on.

Left-hander Jaiswal finished on 76 not out to leave India 127 behind at the close. Hartley has conceded 63 runs from just nine overs and England have already burned all three of their overs.

Hyderabad lives up to the hype

This was a compelling first day, and it lived up to all the hype that preceded the series. Although it followed the pattern of England's previous battles against spin in this country, the way the tourists looked to face the conditions and India's skilful bowlers was quite eye-catching and embraced by raucous crowds.

For all the talk of spin – both teams picked out three spinners – India swung the new ball but used it poorly. England added 41 off eight overs before a frustrated Rohit called on the slow bowlers and the complexion of the game changed.

Through a combination of loose shots, brilliant bowling and some marginal decisions, England went through periods of losing 3-5 and then 3-16 to be in danger of falling behind, before Stokes played another game of his own.

Looking at the field, England's total looked competitive – it was higher than the seven of the eight they achieved here three years ago – yet Jaiswal immediately showed his intent in the second by hooking Hartley with the belt on the leg side.

Even in these circumstances, the debate will be whether England were right to select three players, especially two as inexperienced as Hartley and 19-year-old Rehan Ahmed. Yes, the deck is useful, but are these players good enough to exploit it?

The answer remains to be revealed, although the early signs are not good. In theory, England have the advantage of bowling last over, if India allow them to.

Super Stokes keeps England competitive

As Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley were enjoying fresh bowling from Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, it looked as if England's 'buzzball' tactics would overwhelm India the way it did so many other rivals.

But England have faced nothing like these conditions since Stokes became captain, and in the end, his run rate of 3.81 was the third slowest in the first innings of his 19 Tests since taking over.

Duckett was a pound for Ashwin – the fourth time in as many innings that the left-handed off-spinner has dismissed the left-hander in Tests – as the off-spinner Ollie Pope slid in to slip and Crawley broke loosely to mid-on.

Although Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow were composed in a 61-run stand, the latter was bowled by a trimmer from left-arm spinner Axar Patel, while Root moved the top edges and Ben Foakes was tentatively called for slip.

At this point, Stokes only had eight, but he found plenty of willing allies lower down the order. Hartley was adventurous for his 23, including a six, and after Jadeja bowled, Stokes cut the ball.

Taking advantage of being dropped by wicket-keeper KS Bharat at 44, he took 42 runs off the last 29 balls he faced before being dismissed, including successive sixes from Jadeja to pass 50.

Even with Leach the last man in company, there was still time for another six in a row until he was bowled as he advanced on Bumrah, who produced a rough beauty to hit middle off stump.

India makes an early statement of intent

India have a tremendous record at home, with no losing streak since 2012. Without key figures Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami and Rishabh Pant, they are still showing England the scale of the task ahead of them over these five Tests.

The flirtatious trio was irresistible. Axar and Ashwin were very accurate in exploiting the conditions, and although Jadeja took the lead by nearly five runs, he got the extra bounce to get the crucial wicket for Root. When the spinners were not on the attack, Bumrah found a ferocious bite from the surface.

But the most chastening element of the day for England was the way Jaiswal led the attack with the bat, especially against Hartley, who became the first English bowler to open the bowling on his first Test since 1921.

After his powerful sweep of Hartley's first ball, Jaiswal repeated the shot for six more at the same time, then settled in for brilliant strokes through the offside. Too often Hartley lost his length and the opening spell of over nine felt like it was too long and a wrong move from Stokes.

At least Leach forced Rohit to foul off Stokes, after which Ahmed was introduced. The leg-spinner received similar treatment to Hartley, taking 22 off three overs.

“I can't see this stadium getting any better” – what they said

Ben Duckett's England opener on TNT Sports: “Obviously you want to create more but on this pitch it was very difficult. There was constant turnover all day. We were really happy.

“Another day, we take three or four wickets, and it's a completely different thing. They bowled really well. You never know, we take two or three wickets in the morning and I can't see the pitch getting any better.”

Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin: “We were very consistent so we were happy.

“I think 240 points was a competitive total, that's how we felt. It was probably 20 or 30 points more than we would have liked to concede. The start our opener gave us was fantastic. If someone can start tomorrow and give us a goal.” We will be in a very good position.”

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