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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

India vs England: India's spin masters overpower visitors in Day 1 of Dharamsala Test

While India's spinners spun a web and dismantled England for a mere 218, openers Rohit and Jaiswal laid down a marker with a commanding 135/1 at close

Subharup Das Sharma Published 07.03.24, 08:00 PM
India's Kuldeep Yadav celebrates his five-wicket-haul with teammates after taking the lbw wicket of England's Ben Stokes

India's Kuldeep Yadav celebrates his five-wicket-haul with teammates after taking the lbw wicket of England's Ben Stokes Reuters

England's struggles against quality spin were starkly highlighted once again in the final Test against India, as they found themselves outclassed on a day that showcased India's superior batting on the deck of Dharamsala which was seemingly docile in nature.

The visitors, opting to bat first, were unable to cope with India's spin attack, crumbling to 218 all out, thanks to Kuldeep Yadav's exceptional fourth five-wicket haul in Test cricket. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja supported Kuldeep's efforts, with Ashwin taking four wickets and Jadeja one, highlighting a day dominated by spin at the picturesque HPCA Stadium.

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England's innings unravelled spectacularly, with the last seven wickets tumbling for a paltry 43 runs, underlining the team's persistent vulnerabilities against high-caliber spin. In contrast, India's response was marked by assuredness and aggression, as they closed the day at 135 for one.

The Indian opening duo of Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal put on a masterclass, compiling a 104-run partnership that not only steadied the ship but also set a new benchmark for the series' highest opening stand.

Rohit, playing a captain's innings, remained unbeaten at 52 from 83 balls, while Jaiswal's aggressive 57 off 58 deliveries set the tone for India's response. Following Jaiswal's dismissal, stumped by Ben Foakes off the bowling of Shoaib Bashir, Shubman Gill joined Rohit at the crease, contributing a steady 26 not out, as India ended the day trailing by just 83 runs.

Jaiswal, in particular, exhibited a blend of caution and aggression, reaching a personal milestone by becoming only the second Indian after the legendary Sunil Gavaskar to amass over 700 runs in a series. His innings, however, ended in a moment of overzealousness, resulting in a stumping off Shoaib Bashir.

England's bowlers, in stark contrast to their Indian counterparts, struggled to make an impact on the flat pitch. The pacers and spinners alike found little assistance, highlighting the differential in adaptability and skill between the two sides. India's aggressive batting, particularly against the spinners, emphasised their superior understanding and exploitation of the home conditions.

The day's play was a tale of two sessions, with India asserting their dominance in the afternoon. Kuldeep Yadav's spell before and after lunch catalyzed an English collapse from a position of relative comfort to a state of disarray at 194 for eight. Misjudgments in DRS calls further exacerbated England's woes, as significant innings from the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, and Ben Stokes were prematurely ended by India's spinning trio.

The initial phase of the match saw England's openers navigate a challenging spell of pace bowling from Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, managing to keep the scoreboard ticking despite frequent beats outside the off-stump. Zak Crawley, in particular, showcased his class with a series of cover drives that brought up his half-century. However, the introduction of Kuldeep in the 18th over marked a turning point, as he immediately stamped his authority on the game, signaling the beginning of the end for England's innings.

As the match unfolded, the disparity in handling spin between the two teams became increasingly evident. India's batsmen, led by their openers, approached their innings with a blend of caution and aggression that England sorely lacked. The hosts' strategy, particularly in the face of spin, demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the conditions and the required technique to thrive, setting the stage for what promises to be a commanding lead.

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