Sunday April 14, 2024

India sniff series victory after spinners rout England

February 26, 2024

RANCHI: Spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav combined to rout England in their second innings and put India on course for a series-clinching victory in the fourth test on Sunday.

Team India celebrates during the international test match against England. — AFP/File
Team India celebrates during the international test match against England. — AFP/File

Off-spinner Ashwin (5-51) and left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep (4-22) shared nine wickets on a turning track to bundle out England for 145 inside two sessions.

Chasing 192 for a victory that would fetch them an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series, India cruised to 40 for no loss at stumps on day three. Skipper Rohit Sharma (24) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (16) have looked unperturbed on a pitch, where the ball spun sharply and stayed low occasionally.

Earlier, when action resumed on Sunday, Dhruv Jurel (90) led a spirited rearguard action to rescue India, who posted 307 all out in reply to England’s first innings 353.

Jurel combined in a 76-run partnership with Kuldeep (28), whose 131-ball vigil was the longest in his test career. Jurel smashed four sixes and six fours in his knock but fell short of a hundred when Tom Hartley (3-68) bowled him.

Off-spinner Shoaib Bashir (5-119) claimed his first five-wicket haul in test cricket. A lead of 46 was much lower than England probably had expected having reduced India to 177-7 before the hosts roared right back into the contest after Ashwin’s triple strikes.

The off-spinner had Ben Duckett caught short leg for 15 and trapped Ollie Pope lbw with his next delivery. Pope fell for his second duck in the match. While Ashwin could not complete a hat-trick, he got the important wicket of Joe Root (11) lbw.

Root, who made a classy century in the first innings, was initially adjudged not out, but Ashwin coaxed his captain Rohit Sharma into challenging the decision. The hosts were rewarded when replays confirmed the ball would have gone on to hit the stump. Opener Zak Crawley smashed seven fours in his 60 before losing his middle stump to Kuldeep.

The spinner struck another telling blow when he had Ben Stokes bowled for four before the tea break. The England captain missed the ball, which hit his pad before spinning back between his legs and went on to hit the stumps.

Jonny Bairstow (30) fell in the first ball after the tea break and Kuldeep dismissed Hartley and Ollie Robinson in the same over to pin England on the mat.

Ashwin went on to dismiss Ben Foakes and Anderson in the same over as England lost their last six wickets for 25 runs in a remarkable meltdown. “I’ve enjoyed bowling with the new ball and today was one of those days where Rohit asked in the huddle who wants to start and I put my hand up,” said Ashwin, who opened the attack for India, while also heaping praise on Kuldeep.

England won the toss

England 1st innings 353 all out

India 1st innings 307 all out

England 2nd innings 145 all out

India 2nd innings

Rohit Sharman not out 24

Yashasvi Jaiswal not out 16

Total: (8.0 overs) 40-0

Yet to bat: Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Jurel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Akash Deep, Mohammed Siraj

Bowling: Joe Root 4-0-17-0, Tom Hartley 3-0-22-0, Shoaib Bashir 1-0-1-0

Umpire: Handunnettige Dharmasena, Rodney Tucker