India vs England, 2021 : Ashwin, Axar bundled out England for 205 as India takes control on Day 1 of 4th Test

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India is facing England in a 4-match Test series. The hosts went into the fourth and final test with a 2- lead. Even a draw in this test would be enough for India to secure the final spot in the World test Championship. At the end of Day 1, the hosts are once again on top. Ashwin, Axar bundled out England for 205. England’s batsmen lost the battle of both mind and skills in yet another shoddy performance. They surrendered the momentum to India with Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin calling the shots on the opening day of the fourth and final Test here on Thursday. After five innings, England crossed the 200-run mark. But a total of 205 in 75.5 overs was certainly not what Joe Root had expected when he called it right at the toss. The Day 1 would have ideally been the best for batting.

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There was turn and bounce. But the pitch was far from being a minefield that some of the England batsmen save Ben Stokes (55, 121 balls) made it out to be. For India, spinners Axar Patel (26-7-68-4), Ravichandran Ashwin (19.5-4-47-3) and Washington Sundar (7-1-14-1) toyed with the already messed up minds, clueless on how to deal with the conditions. Mohammed Siraj (14-2-45-2) also played his part to perfection with the semi-new and old ball. He hurried the batsmen with sheer pace as he did with Jonny Bairstow. India ended the day at 24 for 1 with wily old James Anderson (5-5-0-1) accounting for an out-of-form Shubman Gill (0). Rohit Sharma (8 batting, 34 balls) and Cheteshwar Pujara (15 batting, 36 balls) were holding fort for the home side.

Mohammad Siraj two wickets in the first innings
Mohammad Siraj two wickets in the first innings | Twitter

Ashwin, Axar spun a web as India bundled out England for 205:

A cursory look at the England line-up, loaded with an extra batsman, will reveal that four — Stokes, Bairstow (28, 67 balls), Dan Lawrence (46 off 74 balls) and Ollie Pope (29 off 87 balls) got starts but failed miserably on the conversion part. The others came in and went without breaking a bead of sweat. It was as if already in their minds, they were playing on a track they thought would turn square. Stokes was a cut above the rest both in defense and offence before a moment’s indecision cost him his wicket. Washington angled one in and Stokes was on backfoot after initially trying to come forward preempting an off-break. The ball didn’t turn and hit the back leg with clear indication of crashing into the leg stump.

See Also: Kevin Pietersen marvelled by Ashwin’s bowling

Stokes’ dismissal, after a good show, upset the team’s rhythm just when it was looking to redeem itself after a poor first session. Similarly for Lawrence, who was ready to play the attacking game, and Pope, intent on using his footwork to defend while negating the turn. There was always going to be a delivery with their name written all over it. In case of Lawrence, he was beaten by the away turn when he danced down the track only to be stumped. In case of Pope, the strategy that kept him on course brought about his downfall. He came out when Ashwin changed the line of his delivery, dropping it a bit short and the attempted flick went between his legs and Gill had a reflex catch at forward short leg.

Ben Stokes looked comfortable for his 55
Ben Stokes looked comfortable for his 55

Gill fell for a duck after Ashwin and Axar bundled out England for 205:

Patel, whose straight deliveries have scarred the English batsmen, was again menacing in the first session with Siraj giving him good support. Stokes and Bairstow, during their 48-run stand, showed that if one can trust their defenses, batting wasn’t impossible. Both played the spinners close to their body on most occasions and especially on the front-foot. But on a track like this, no batsman would feel completely set and that’s what happened with both Bairstow and Stokes. The first hour of the match showed that England’s younger lot is still feeling the after-effects of the demoralizing ‘Pink Ball’ loss. Brought into action as early as in the sixth over, Patel bowled an arm ball which had Dom Sibley (2) leaving a huge gap between bat and pad, trying to play for the spin.

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The result was an inside edge onto the stumps. Zak Crawley (8) felt that the easiest way to survive was to attack Patel. He got a boundary but then jumped out and lofted the spinner without getting to the pitch of the delivery. The result was a simple catch to Siraj stationed at mid-off, who didn’t even have to move an inch from his position. Joe Root (5), who went off the boil post his double hundred in the first game, got a peach of an in-swinger from Siraj, which had him caught plumb in-front, leaving his team at 30 for 3 inside the first hour. It was the post tea session where the lower order caved in with Ashwin in his elements. England lost their last five wickets for 39 runs in 14.2 overs.

India bundled out England for just 205 in the first innings
India bundled out England for just 205 in the first innings

Number’s Game :

Let’s look at important stats and numbers after the end of the first day’s play of the fourth Test between India and England :    

60 – This was Virat Kohli’s 60th match as Indian captain. He has now equaled MS Dhoni in terms of leading India in most Test matches. Both of them are at the top among Asian captains as well.

3 – Ravichandran Ashwin picked 3 wickets in the first innings after which his wickets tally at home reads 281. He surpassed Rangana Herath (278) during the match and is now at the fourth spot among spinners.

104 – James Anderson dismissed Indian opener, Shubman Gill, for a duck in the match. He is now at the joint top spot along with Glenn McGrath (104 times) in terms of dismissing most batsmen for a duck.

5 – Shubman Gill has now bagged two ducks in the ongoing series. He is the fifth Indian opener to register two ducks in a home series.

6 – For the sixth consecutive Innings, the England team was bowled out for a score below 250. Since 1988, this is the longest streak for England in terms of scores below 250.

50 – This was Joe Root’s 50th Test match as English captain. He is the fourth player for England to lead the team in 50 Test matches.

10 – Ben Stokes registered tenth 50+ scores in the World Test Championship (WTC). Among players with the most 50+ scores, he is now at the fourth spot.

22 – Axar Patel has now taken 22 wickets in his first 5 innings in Test cricket. Among Indian players with the most wickets in the first 5 innings, he is at the second spot after Narendra Hirwani (27 wickets).

Jimmy Anderson became the joint-highest in terms of dismissing most batsmen for a duck
Jimmy Anderson became the joint-highest in terms of dismissing most batsmen for a duck
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