India starts in dominant fashion against England in Dharamsala

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Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel helped India seal the series on Monday in Ranchi

India started the fifth and last fixture of the 5-match Test series against England and stamped dominance on Day 1 despite English skipper Ben Stokes winning the toss and electing to bat first on a docile surface in the dead-rubber Test in Dharamsala.

Another cap was on offer on Thursday morning as India almost made the ceremony a regular pre-match routine in this series with Rajat Patidar dropped by India in favor of debutant Devdutt Padikkal. Jasprit Bumrah returned to the playing XI to replace Akash Deep who had a brilliant debut in Ranchi while Mark Wood replaced Ollie Robinson in the visitors’ camp.

While Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj bowled well in their first spells, the pace duo failed to get a dismissal to their name as the opening pair of Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett utilized the newly laid outfield to good use bringing up the fifty partnership in the 15th over.

The spinners’ introduction into the attack wasn’t the trick missing as Crawley and Duckett continued to procure boundaries until the southpaw skied the ball and Shubman Gill travelled from Kashmir to Kerala before completing an astounding catch.

In the 24th over, Crawley brought up his half-century with an eye-catching straight drive that raced to the fence followed by a maximum down the ground in the 25th over.

Just when it seemed that the visitors were in control, Ollie Pope tried to step out and defend the ball but was completely undone by Kuldeep’s turn. Dhruv Jurel completed an easy stumping as England took Lunch at 100/2.

Almost immediately after Lunch, Crawley edged the ball onto his pads and Jurel’s fumble allowed Sarfaraz Khan to make a dive and complete the catch but umpire Joel Wilson and Indian skipper were not convinced about Crawley’s bat coming into contact with the ball offering the opening batter a reprieve. 

After the visitors had added 36 more runs, Kuldeep’s turn once again undid an English batter and Crawley was clean bowled at a score of 79 runs off 108 balls that included 5 boundaries and a solitary maximum.

Playing his 100th Test match, Jonny Bairstow came out and batted with intent as he found two boundaries off the first ten deliveries bowled to him. After a flat six down the ground, the 34-year old slog-swept the ball over the cow corner before becoming Kuldeep’s fourth victim of the day. 

In the next over, Ravindra Jadeja got his first and only wicket of the day as he trapped Root LBW ending his innings at a score of 26 runs off 56 balls which included four boundaries. The wickets started to fall in a heap as Kuldeep trapped Stokes LBW on a duck leaving Ben Foakes to bat with the lower order yet again.

Tom Hartley tried to hit it out of the park against Ravichandran Ashwin and became his first dismissal of the day as Padikkal completed the catch safely at long-on. Wood could only survive a couple of deliveries as skipper Rohit completed a catch in the slip cordon handing Ashwin his second wicket in the innings.

On the last ball of the 51st over, Jadeja could have got his second wicket in the form of Shoaib Bashir but Jurel dropped the chance which offered a reprieve to the visitors and allowed them to breach the 200-run mark. Bashir then smacked a four off Ashwin’s bowling helping his side regroup at Tea at a precarious score of 194/8.

At the start of the third session, the wicket-keeper batter creamed the ball through the onside region for a boundary. The duo added 24 runs after Tea as Ashwin undid the bails with the ball hopping onto the stumps after hitting the thigh pad of Foakes.

Ravichandran Ashwin picked a 4-fer on a special day

On the fourth ball of the same over, Ashwin completed a 4-fer in his 100th Test match as Padikkal completed the catch and sent Anderson back to the pavilion with the visitors folding for a meek total of 218 runs.

The opening pair of Yashaswi Jaiswal and Indian skipper Rohit Sharma came in and sat down for business early on negating the threat of James Anderson scoring 1 run from his first two overs while Wood was taken apart in his second over of the match by Sharma who pulled the ball straight into the stands followed by a classic cut shot through the point region.

In Anderson’s fourth over, the veteran thought that he had his 699th wicket in the bag when umpire Joel Wilson gave Rohit out but the Indian captain smirked and took a DRS review which provided him a lifeline.

After negotiating the threat of the fast bowlers calmly for a few overs, Jaiswal let it rip when Stokes introduced Bashir into the attack. The southpaw smacked three maximums in the 9th over with Jaiswal stepping out and slapping the ball over the bowler’s head while the second six was over the cover region. The third maximum was hit over the long-on region welcoming Bashir rather rudely in Dharamsala.

In the 12th over, Rohit slammed two fours against Hartley bringing up the 50-run stand in 70 balls. In Hartley’s next over, Sharma hoicked the ball over cow corner almost in disdain after seeing the ball pitch that shortly.

In the next over, Jaiswal slog-swept along the ground against Bashir to collect another boundary and reach the 1000-run mark in his short 9-match Test career becoming the second-fastest Indian to achieve the landmark in terms of innings after Vinod Kambli.

The youngster also became the fourth-youngest Indian batter to reach the milestone and couldn’t stop breaking records as he reached the 700-run mark in the ongoing series in the next over becoming only the second Indian batter to do so apart from Sunil Gavaskar who achieved the feat twice against West Indies.

Yashasvi Jaiswal broke record after record on Thursday in Dharamsala

The southpaw brought up his half-century with a brilliant cut shot and followed it up with an eye-catching sweep through the deep mid-wicket region. After smashing two more consecutive boundaries against Bashir, Jaiswal did a pre-meditated dance down the pitch and the young off-spinner pulled his length back allowing Foakes to undo the bails and dismiss the Rajasthan Royals’ opening batter for a score of 57 runs off 58 balls.

Gill started from where he left off in Ranchi as he smashed a boundary each to Bashir and Hartley before Rohit brought up a much-deserved half-century inside 77 balls. Later in the over, the incumbent Gujarat Titans skipper slog-swept the ball over the square-leg region prompting the skipper to applaud from the other end.

The two batters went into a shell for the last 25 minutes and preserved wickets for tomorrow morning before Gill smashed a maximum against Hartley on the penultimate delivery of Day 1. India was 135/1 at stumps with Rohit unbeaten on a score of 52 runs from 83 balls while Gill accompanied him off the pitch after contributing 26 runs off 39 balls.

Kuldeep Yadav was glad about his 5-fer and quipped about the hard work he has put into the game and the English fans would be hoping that Bashir and Hartley take a word of advice from Kuldeep after the series ends.

The 29-year old said,

“I am enjoying my game. To be honest I put a lot of hard work after my surgery in 2021. It’s just the reward I am getting now. I worked on my pace, it’s very important when you play a Test match in India. I liked the Zak Crawley wicket. He batted really well throughout the series, a good player of spin. It’s important not to think about the wicket and I am someone who relies on my skill and variation in length.”

The wrist-spinner then talked about achieving the 50-wicket mark at the same venue where the wrist-spinner made his Test debut.

He said,

“I made my test debut here in Dharamsala and I also played a Ranji Trophy game here. I know the conditions well and I love bowling when the wind is on as you can drift both sides. The trick is to put more revelations on the ball and use the drift both against left-handers and right-handed batters”Talking about Ashwin playing his 100th Test match and about the post-innings shenanigans, Kuldeep concluded, “It is unbelievable to play the 100th Test match. Ashwin bhai is very kind and he allowed me to lead the team off in the end despite him picking 4 wickets in a special Test for him.”