England registers historic 28-run win in the 1st Test as Indian batters capitulate under pressure

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Ben Stokes and Co. celebrate against India on Day 4 of the Hyderabad Test

England undid India’s hard work from Day 1 and Day 2 as the visitors registered a historic 28-run win taking a 1-0 lead in the 5-match Test series bouncing back courtesy of Tom Hartley’s 7-fer in the fourth innings of the match.

Ollie Pope added to his overnight score and crossed the 150-run mark to have the perfect start to Sunday’s play. In the sixth over of the day, Rehan Ahmed tried to negotiate the threat of an outswinger from Jasprit Bumrah but fell prey to the fast bowler as Srikar Bharat safely pouched the ball within his gloves after coming off the outside edge of Ahmed’s blade.

Hartley joined Pope in the middle and the duo added 50 runs together for the eighth wicket in less than 11 overs followed by KL Rahul spilling Pope’s catch in the slip cordon while the batter was on a score of 186 runs as Mohammed Siraj was denied his first wicket of the match.

In the next over, the English side crossed the 400-run mark, making it the ninth instance of a visiting side crossing the milestone in the second innings against India. After adding 34 runs off 52 balls, Hartley’s stumps were cleaned up by Ravichandran Ashwin followed by Mark Wood throwing away his wicket to Ravindra Jadeja in the next over.

On the very next ball, Jasprit Bumrah bamboozled Pope’s stumps as the top-order batter was once again aiming to go for a reverse scoop but didn’t read the slower delivery as Pope ended his innings at a score of 196 runs off 278 balls containing 21 boundaries powering the visitors to register a total of 420 runs of the board with India set a target of 228 runs to chase in the fourth innings of the Hyderabad Test.

Skipper Rohit Sharma scored two boundaries off Mark Wood’s first over to put the pressure back on Brendon Mccullum’s men and it almost paid off as the opening batters were going after the spinners as well early in the innings but Hartley got Yashasvi Jaiswal to play it straight to Pope at forward short leg.

In the same over, the debutant dismissed Shubhman Gill on a silver duck as Pope once again completed a fine catch, this time fielding at silly mid-off as Ben Stokes got his matchups and field settings right for every opposition batter.

In the 17th over, Rohit smashed Jack Leach away for two consecutive boundaries bringing out the reverse-sweep shot on both occasions before the skipper was trapped LBW by Hartley in the next over. The Indian skipper scored 39 runs off 58 balls with seven boundaries before being sent back to the pavilion despite using the Decision Review System.

Axar Patel was promoted after his brave showing with the bat in the first innings and both KL Rahul and Patel decided to smash the ball to the fence but failed to rotate the strike as the pressure increased on the hosts who went into the Tea break at a score of 95/3. 

Just after the tea interval, Axar lobbed the ball back to Hartley ending his innings at a score of 17 runs off 42 balls as the Indian batters failed to tackle the debutant while chasing a modest target. Joe Root decided to be amongst the action as he dismissed Rahul who was aiming to get his eyes in after scoring 22 runs off 47 balls before the off-spinner trapped him LBW. 

On the first ball of the 39th over, Jadeja tried to sneak in a single after hitting the ball to mid-on but Stokes reverse-flicked the ball onto the bowler’s end and the English skipper’s direct hit ended the experienced all-rounder’s innings who should have behaved more responsibly in trying to arrest a sudden slide of wickets.

Shreyas Iyer is often seen tackling spinners well in the domestic circuit but the Mumbaikar failed to get a grip of Leach and played with soft hands to offer a chance to Root and the batter pouched the catch safely at first slip.

Srikar Bharat and Ravichandran Ashwin offered India hope with a big 8th-wicket partnership

With 112 runs still required and only 3 wickets in hand, Bharat and Ashwin joined hands to show some resistance as the duo added 57 runs in 130 balls almost taking the match to Day 5 whilst playing sensible cricket.

At the end of the 62nd over, Hartley went through Bharat’s defense and broke the partnership with his fifth wicket of the innings as India stared down the barrel with 55 runs still required as Bumrah joined Ashwin in the middle.

Ruffled by losing his last recognised batting partner, Ashwin took a giant leap down the pitch and tried to hoick the ball out of the ground but was left wildly swinging at thin air as Ben Foakes removed the bails dismissing India’s last hope of winning the fixture.

Surprisingly, Siraj was trying to show intent and was batting at a faster strike rate than Bumrah but it was once again the undoing for the hosts as Siraj was also stumped by a loopy delivery from Hartley when nothing else was working in favor of the English side in attempts of taking the 40th wicket of the match.

England wrapped up the match as Pope was named the Player of the Match while debutant Hartley will be filled with pride and confidence ahead of the second Test set to kick off on Friday in Visakhapatnam as both sides will be travelling to the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh where Rohit and Ashwin have a good record in the venue’s brief Test history.