India have historically been blessed with a plethora of batting talent, and Yashasvi Jaiswal’s stunning unbeaten 179 as the hosts took control of the opening day against England could establish him as the nation’s latest breakout star.
As Sir Alastair Cook said on TNT commentary: “These are the innings that define careers.” And this could prove to be that moment for the 22-year-old, as India finished the day 336-6.
Jaiswal played a fluent innings, judging the conditions expertly and choosing his moments to attack. He brought up his century in an emphatic fashion, coming down the wicket to hit Tom Hartley for six, as India moved into a dominant position on the opening day at Vizag in Andhra Pradesh.
Jaiswal comfortably put away anything loose, but also had the ability to turn good deliveries into boundaries and run-scoring opportunities.
There was just one moment of concern for the batter, when he was on 73, as Root managed to get his fingertips to a ball edged off Hartley, but there were no more chances on offer for England as he finished the day just 21 runs short of a double century.
Jaiswal only made his Test debut in 2023, when he scored a big century of 171 against the West Indies at Roseau, and although he did not have the best tour of South Africa – in four innings there he scored just 52 runs in total – he has caused England problems in both Test matches.
At Hyderabad, he attacked debutant Hartley from the outset, hitting the spinner’s first ball in Test cricket for six, and going on the front foot as the 25-year-old was dispatched for 63 runs in just nine overs. On that occasion, Jaiswal was not able to convert and was caught out on 80 from 96 deliveries, while at Vizag, he took the time to play himself in before accelerating.
For England, it was a matter of returning to earth following the highs of the heroics of Hyderabad, when they clinched victory by just 28 runs as Hartley claimed seven wickets on debut.
On that occasion, it was Ollie Pope’s masterful 196 that steered Ben Stokes’s men into a dominant position, but Jaiswal’s innings might yet have the same effect on the second Test as the England vice-captain’s one had on the first.
Shoaib Bashir enjoyed a memorable start to his Test career, claiming the big wicket of Rohit Sharma. The Indian captain tried to guide the ball around his legs but the ball caught the edge before being taken by Ollie Pope at leg slip.
The Somerset bowler was fast-tracked into the side because of his height and potential, despite having just six first-class appearances to his name before the start of play. It had not been the most straightforward journey to India; visa issues delayed his arrival and ruled him out of the first Test, but an injury to Jack Leach saw him thrust into Test cricket.
Bashir claimed his second wicket in the final few overs of the day, tempting Axar Patel into a cut, and he hit the ball straight to Rehan Ahmed. But concerningly for Stokes, India had formed key partnerships throughout the day, with Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill and Rajat Patidar all adding useful contributions before their wickets fell.
It was India’s day, led by Jaiswal’s mammoth effort, and England will want to claim the final five wickets in good time on the morning of the second day to give themselves ample time to bat on what looks to be a good surface.