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Cricket First Test Day 1: Spinners, Jaiswal give India opening day honours in Hyderabad

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India’s spin trio shared eight wickets between them before Yashasvi Jaiswal slammed a rapid unbeaten half-century to give the hosts the opening day honours against England in Hyderabad. England were put under the pump for large parts of the day and were dragged to 246 by skipper Ben Stokes. Their hopes of making early inroads before stumps were then thwarted by Jaiswal who smashed 76* off just 70 balls to guide the hosts to 119/1 by stumps on Thursday (January 25).

England made a very good start with the bat after winning the all-important toss having picked three spinners in their XI. Mohammad Siraj started off in erratic fashion and was duly punished by Zak Crawley. Ben Duckett got going as well and even though the two new ball bowlers found swing, England managed to get through that period on a positive note scoring at over five an over before Rohit Sharma turned to spin.

The move worked as R Ashwin managed to trap Duckett leg-before-wicket to give India the first breakthrough. Ollie Pope, who looked tentative in his short stay, was the next to depart as he edged Ravindra Jadeja to the slip fielder. The left-arm spinner could have put England in deep trouble had Joe Root been given lbw in the same over but the former skipper got away with the third umpire giving him the benefit of the doubt. England’s relief was short-lived though as 55/0 quickly became 60/3 with Ashwin removing Crawley.Jonny Bairstow then walked out with a positive intent as he hit Jadeja for a couple of boundaries and raced to 32 before the lunch break to revive England alongside Root. The visitors relied heavily on the pair to carry on with the good work post the lunch break but unfortunately, Axar Patel quashed those plans with a top delivery that spun away from Bairstow to castle him. Root then failed to connect properly while attempting to sweep a delivery that wasn’t full as the top edge was pouched by Bumrah at short fine leg. That wicket tilted the game completely in favour of the hosts, who looked to stamp their authority from thereon.

Axar got his second with Ben Foakes edging behind and Bumrah opened his account with an off cutter to get rid of Rehan Ahmed. The flurry of wickets forced Stokes to open up finally as he brought out the switch hit against Jadeja to break the shackles. Debutant Tom Hartley chipped in with some useful runs but it was Stokes who was causing damage with some timely boundaries. The skipper targetted Jadeja in particular and got to his fifty in style with back-to-back sixes. His extravagant innings was finally brought to an end by a Bumrah delivery that jagged away sharply after pitching to catch Stokes off guard and rattle the stumps.

Jaiswal then came out all guns blazing to lead India’s strong reply. The very first ball was clipped away for a boundary and Hartley’s introduction to Test cricket saw him get hit for two sixes in his first over as 19 runs were knocked off from the first 12 deliveries. Hartley was picked apart continuously by Jaiswal and even Rohit to an extent as India brought up their fifty off just 39 deliveries. Hartley ended up leaking 51 runs off his first six overs but Stokes continued to persist with the spinner at one end and it was at the other end that the breakthrough finally came.

Jack Leach managed to end the rapid opening stand when Rohit mistimed to get caught. While the run rate dipped after the dismissal with only a few overs left for stumps, England managed to burn all three of their reviews in desperation and might end up regretting that going ahead with India primed to take the lead on Friday.

Brief scores: India 119/1 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 76*; Jack Leach 1/24) trail England 246 (Ben Stokes 70, Jonny Bairstow 37; R Ashwin 3/68) by 127 runs.

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