Sensational England Humble Mighty India in Dramatic Hyderabad Test to Take Shock 1-0 Lead


Before the start of the 1st Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, India had played 285 Test at home, and in those they have had to bat in the fourth innings only 82 times, chasing a target. They won 36 times and lost 23 times while 22 matches ended in a draw; and one a tie – Chennai 1986 vs Australia.

Since their last home series lost in 2012 to England, India have lost only three Test matches at home out of 47. Since the start of the World Test Championship in 2019 India have played 17 matches at home and only eight times a visiting team managed to stretch the game beyond three days against India. Only two have managed a win – England in Chennai 2021 and Australia in Indore 2023.

Put these numbers into perspective, and you would not have given England even a whiff of a win in the five-match series, the first one of which England have dramatically snatched from India, beating the home team by 28 runs, to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

India vs England 1st Test Day 4 Highlights

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In Hyderabad, India were set a target of 231 in their 83rd time batting in the fourth innings today. 46 times India had been set a target more than what England set. Only four out of those 46 have ended in an Indian win.

Simply put … it is not easy to chase anything over 200 in the fourth innings of a Test in India. Even for this all-conquering India, who are currently on a 16-series winning spree at home, spanning well over a decade.

And by the end of the Test match, at the close of play on Day 4, India were left reeling high and dry, eventually, stunned the team and the spectators alike. After dominating for two days and taking a lead of 190, how did Inda end up on the cusp of a loss? Well, England are last time to win a series in India and England are one of the two teams to beat India in India in the last five years. And for the third time England have pulled off a major upset, and they have Ollie Pope and Tom Hartley to thank for it.

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A tenacious century on Day 3 from England’s No.3 had kept England alive and on Day 4, he went on to add 48 more runs to his overnight score of 148. But, more importantly, he guided the England tail as they swiped off 104 runs in just 25.1 overs in the first session of play, stretching the overnight lead from a decent one to a potential match-winning one.

Like Day 4, he hustled and bustled as Rohit Sharma and the Indian spinners waited for him to make a mistake. Rohit was defensive with his field placements while the Indian bowlers lacked penetration. Pope continued to employ the sweeps and reverse sweeps to disturb the spinners’ rhythm, and surprisingly the vastly experienced Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja looked flat with their approach. The wicket, still holding firm owing to the light roller effect before the start of play, played true as England continued to increase the lead. Rohit opted to put the pressure on the batters and seldom had to catch men close to the batter, the stark difference was when India batted and Ben Stokes attacked the top order with a silly point, forward short leg and a leg slip. England got the reward with the wickets of Yashaswi Jaiswal (15) and Shubman Gill (0).

Also Read | England Make Sweeping Gains on Slow Hyderabad Track

India did scalp England’s last three wickets for 1 run to limit the visitors to 420, but not before Pope had stitched together undoubtedly one of the great knocks by an overseas batter in India.

The proposition of chasing 231 suddenly started to look more than tricky for India.

Pope had given England hope, now it was time for Tom Hartley to show some heart.

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Three days ago, Hartley, on Test debut ran into Yashaswi Jasiwal and Rohit Sharma, opening the bowling. England were bundled out for 246. India had the momentum and Jaiswal built on it. Hartley was rubbish and by the time he finished his first spell, his figures read: 9-0-63-0. Most had written him off. After being hit for two sixes in his first over, Hartley, under the pump, lost control of his line and length, feeding the Indian openers full deliveries – easy pickings.

Two days and a magnificent Ollie Pope 196 later, Hartley was facing up to Sharma and Jaiswal once more, bowling the 4th over of India’s 2nd innings. England had put up 420 in their second dig, and India were chasing 230 in theirs. Only five times have a target of more than 231 been successfully chased in India, ever. England had the momentum and Hartley looked like a different bowler. He was sensational and by the time he finished his first spell of the second innings, his figures read: 8-1-21-3. Most who had written him off were chewing their words.

By the end of the match, Hartley would go on to claim a five-for in his maiden Test match.

Jaiswal after chancing his arms around succumbed at short leg. One ball later, Gill with the hardest of hard prods a tossed-up delivery straight to silly point – Pope with his second catch. Rohit became Hartley’s third victim trapped in front.

In that spell, Hartley bowled as if he was Ashwin and Jadeja combined. He got his length on point, varied his pace, got purchase off the wicket and the confidence of his skipper and an attacking field. Hartley would return for his second spell and had Axar Patel caught and bowled for 17. Three overs later, Root would beat Rahul on the backfoot with the one that skidded on after pitching and trapped the middle-order batter in front. And like Murphy’s law, everything that could go wrong went wrong for India. Ravindra Jadeja was run out by a Stokes’ direct hit. Two overs later, Jack Leach, with a dodgy knee, fighting through the pain hit the killer blow inducing an edge off Shreyas Iyer and Joe Root obliged at first slip. India 119/7 – down and out – it felt like Buster Douglas dropping Mike Tyson to the canvas.

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Srikar Bharat and Ravichandran Ashwin then decided that they would not go down fighting and a plucky stand of 57 runs would reignite India’s chances of an unlikely victory, But Hartley would come back again to complete his five-for with an absolute peach of delivery to castle Bharat on 28. An over later, Ashwin charged down to Hartley only to be stumped for 28 off 84 balls.

Stokes then took the extension of play – an extra half hour to try and wrap up the game, but not before Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj took India agonising close to the target and fittingly enough it was Hartley who took the final wicket to fall in the final over of the day when the local boy Siraj went for an almighty swipe only to be stumped.

India humbled by England.



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