England faced a challenging start in the first Test against India in Hyderabad, finishing the day at 246 all out after winning the toss. The pitch, already favoring spinners, saw England struggling at 60-3 and later at 137-6. In his first match since last November, Captain Ben Stokes played a crucial role for his side.
Stokes contributed to partnerships with debutant Tom Hartley and Mark Wood, helping England add 109 runs for the last four wickets. Spin played a significant role in India’s dominance, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja taking three wickets each.
England’s innings began with a challenging period as Indian spinners exploited the conditions. The top order struggled, with wickets falling at regular intervals. However, the return of Ben Stokes injected resilience into the English innings. Stokes, whose Thursday’s contribution included scoring 70 and making three sixes, put his class and determination on display, leading the way with a captain’s innings, counterattacking against the spinners, and providing stability to the lower order.
Stokes’ innings was particularly crucial considering his return from knee surgery. His aggressive yet controlled approach allowed England to recover from precarious situations. He found support in debutant Tom Hartley, who showed promise despite challenging conditions. The duo’s partnership and subsequent contributions from Mark Wood ensured that England reached a competitive total.
The Indian spinners, Ashwin and Jadeja, proved to be the major architects of England’s downfall. Their ability to extract turns and bounce troubled the English batsmen throughout the day. England’s vulnerability against spin was evident as they lost wickets in clusters, but Stokes’ counterattacking innings provided a ray of hope.
As India began their reply, opener Yashasvi Jaiswal took the attack to the English bowlers. Jaiswal’s aggressive batting, especially against left-arm spinner Tom Hartley, put India in a commanding position. Despite the early wicket of captain Rohit Sharma, Jaiswal’s unbeaten 76 helped India finish the day at 119-1, trailing England by 127 runs.
England faces an uphill task to bounce back in the Test, especially with the pitch favoring spin and India’s strong batting lineup yet to come. The performance of their spinners and the ability to make inroads into India’s batting order will be crucial for England to stay competitive in the match.