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India Gain Foothold towards the End of Day 1 after England Top-Order Bats Well

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India Gain Foothold towards the End of Day 1 after England Top-Order Bats Well

December 09
15:06 2016

ashNew Delhi, Friday, December 9 – In front of enthusiastic crowd at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday, December 8, England started well in opposition to India in the 4th Test, which is a do or die for them.

The England team looked strong having skipper Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Keaton Jennings – the debutant who surprised everyone later on through his spellbinding innings, Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, James Anderson, Jake Ball, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, and Chris Woakes. The players to sit on bench were Gary Ballance, Gareth Batty, Liam Dawson, Zafar Ansari, Stuart Broad, Ben Duckett and Steven Finn. Keaton Jennings was given a place in the squad after the young man Haseeb Hameed received an injury in one of his fingers. But nobody expected the 24-year-old left-handed batsman to mark a dream debut in India and against India which is not easy thanks to unanticipated bounce at the pitches here.

Indian captain Virat Kohli hoped to do well along with Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Karun Nair, Parthiv Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Cheteshwar Pujara and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Those to sit on bench were Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Manish Pandey and Shardul Thakur. Confidence of the Men in Blue was up as a result of memorable wins at Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam and Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali.

England captain Cook won the toss and invited India to bowl first. Objective was clear and that was nothing else but to accumulate a total that could prove challenging for the opponents, who hope for getting wickets in a short span of time to force the visiting squad to make mistakes, which could send them on the backseat in the early overs of the match. Nonetheless, the opening batsmen Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings were in totally different mood. This got clear as soon as the two came to bat. A dropped catch by the Indian side gave Jennings a lifeline to go ahead with his motto to play well. The bowling side bore the brunt as the young batsman was sending the ball towards the fences often.

Climate of the city was good, letting players enjoy the match and don’t lose focus while worrying about anything else. Pitch was dry and surprised batsmen, bowlers and fielders with sudden bounce. Cook chose for composed mind and paid heed to play with confidence. Attractive shots from him were enough to explain why he is one of the best players who has good record in the Indian conditions. He and Jennings did a partnership of 99 runs. India bowlers strove for wickets and were trying to do their bit to break the partnership between England openers. They were able to build pressure on the hosts, who were waiting for breakthrough. However, the Men in Blue did not have to wait for long as Jadeja trapped England captain in one of his deliveries of the 26th over. Cook wanted to play a shot while stepping out of the crease but length of the ball surprised him. It was collected by Parthiv Patel behind the stumps, taking the bails off quickly not giving any time to Cook to reach inside the crease on time. Cooks innings included five boundaries but he fell four runs short to pocket a half-century.

Joe Root was the next man to arrive on the pitch. Despite being talented, he hasn’t been able to deliver what’s expected from him. A good catch by Kohli in Ashwin’s over made Root lost his wicket at a score of 21 (4 x 1). Jennings did a good partnership with Moeen Ali as well. Wonderful spin by Ashwin and catch by Nair made Ali go back to the pavilion the moment he pocketed 50 runs beautifully, facing 104 deliveries, with the help of four boundaries and a six. In the same over, Ashwin got a big wicket as Jennings – the centurion was dismissed at a score of 112 runs in 219 balls. He did not take a lot of risks and showed no hurry for going for sixes. He instead focused on sending the ball towards the boundary. Knock of the young opener included 13 4s.

Jonny Bairstow lost his wicket to Ashwin when batting at a score of 14 (4 x 1). On Day 1, 288 runs were scored by England for the loss of five wickets. Ben Stokes resumed his batting at a score of 25 (4 x 2) and Jos Buttler at 18 runs, with a couple of fours. But a few overs after the play began today, Stokes was declared out by the third umpire after England went for a review as it was thought the catch taken by Kohli did not get the edge of the bat, which was touching the ground as well at that point of time. Stokes was unhappy with the decision but did not have any other option but to go back to the pavilion. His innings came to an end at a score of 31. Chris Woakes has been dismissed by Jadeja at 11 runs due to a good catch by wicketkeeper Patel. As of now, Jos Buttler and Adil Rashid are on the crease. Buttler is batting at 40 runs, inclusive of four 4s, while Adil Rashid at 4 runs. England have accumulated 332 runs for the loss of seven wickets in 110 overs. Ashwin’s five wicket haul has added another feather in his cap. Jadeja got two wickets. Jayant Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav yet hunt for wickets. The bowling lineup of India is sharp. They expect to wind England innings as early as possible, not letting them gain foothold.

Indian camp was in a state of worry when Virat Kohli landed on his knee as he slipped while fielding the ball. The home side heaved a sigh of relief as the Indian captain carried on playing. Anderson and J Ball are yet to bat. England players are keen to put forward a kind of play that could take them hold a strong position, compelling India feel stress. But at the present, it seems that better play by Indian cricketers is not letting new batsmen settle on the crease. Stealing runs is getting tough for them. They look for weak deliveries but that is not coming easily as India search for another wicket. Innings by England batsmen in the start stabilized them but wickets were lost after certain interval of time. The fourth Test match is likely to take an interesting turn if England innings is finished as early as possible. Expectations are surging from Indian cricketers. A good start by Indian batsmen will help them gain ground. India are a camp with talented players who are keen to do their bit. The longest format of the match hides a lot of challenges and surprises. Viewers expect great entertainment ahead.

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