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Ollie Pope keeps England alive with vital hundred for his career

England's Ollie Pope celebrates after scoring a century - Ollie Pope century hands England lifeline on third day of first Test in India
Ollie Pope makes a thrilling 148* to give England a fighting chance - Noah Seelam/Getty Images

Ollie Pope glanced to the sky but otherwise celebrated his finest Test hundred in a modest fashion despite the importance of the innings both personally and for England.

Pope’s fifth Test century was his first against one of the two world’s best teams – India and Australia – and in time could be regarded as his coming of age performance. That can only be judged in hindsight and on future performances but with another 16 Tests this year he has the opportunity to fully establish his career.

So far he has been an inconsistent, streaky player who has struggled to convert a first-class average over 50 to Test success prompting concerns he could be the next Mark Ramprakash or Graeme Hick.

Sometimes it is because Pope takes Bazball to extremes. He starts as if he has downed five espressos and was excitable again at the start of this innings playing a reverse sweep second ball that just eluded slip but once he was set, blossomed into a fine player to watch.

Four years ago he toured India during the Covid series and despite reaching 20 in four innings made nothing higher than 34. He looked befuddled by the turning pitches and lacked a plan against spin other than to try and take it on. He was similarly overawed on the last Ashes tour and his last series against Australia ended on a bum note in the summer with not just his injury but also as the instigator of the adrenaline fuelled hooking approach to the short ball barrage that cost them the Lord’s Test.

There remained question marks over his temperament in high pressure situations and this was one of those. England were in trouble against the best attack in the world in their own conditions and he had looked skittish in the first innings, once again too keen to be the man who imposed himself.

While that was understandable after a long lay off with a shoulder injury, and there was no disgrace in struggling in his first innings for six months thanks to no warm-up matches, England needed their No 3 to spread a bit more calm.

He addressed the team before play on Saturday and while England refused to divulge what he said, he presumably backed his words with action. He needed it too. He averaged 16 in the second innings before this performance with a high score of 82. It was time to stand up and take responsibility.

His only chance was after he had made a hundred, dropped on 110 by Axar Patel at backward point playing the reverse sweep. He is not a natural sweeper, and is better playing it conventionally than reverse, but he at least had confidence in his game to go to it whenever he was bogged down by a spinner. He scored 41 runs with a variety of sweeps, helped by the pitch not bouncing as much as it did in the first innings.

Pope hit 17 fours in an unbeaten 148 from 208 balls that pushed England to 316 for six, a lead of 126 with four wickets in hand. A century stand with Ben Foakes ensured India would bat again and with 144 added for one wicket in the final session, this was their day. It has provided a sniff of glory that was completely unpredictable at the halfway stage of the game.

Pope was only really uncertain against Bumrah who beat him several times and deceived him with a slower ball that he lobbed into the off side but landed safely. Apart from that and the odd mistimed reverse sweep, Pope was smooth and in control of his shots.

Now England are the first team to score more than 300 in a second innings in India since 2012, when they played out a draw in Nagpur and Joe Root made his Test debut.

If it had not been for Jasprit Bumrah’s two strikes after lunch to knock over Ben Duckett when he was set and Root for two in a five over spell of two for 17, England would be in command.

Ben Duckett looked well set until he had his off stump sent cartwheeling by Jasprit Bumrah
Ben Duckett looked well set until he had his off stump sent cartwheeling by Jasprit Bumrah - AP/Mahesh Kumar A.

Even if they lose on day four, England will make the short hop east to the coast to play the second Test in Visakhapatnam with more than one echo of 2012. They lost the first Test of that series, but Alastair Cook’s second innings century set him up and they bounced back to win 2-1.

They will need to identify their best attack for that to repeat but Root solved one problem by showing he can be their lead spinner with four for 79 and two in two which included Ravindra Jadeja for 87 as England dismissed India quickly in the morning.

Duckett and Zak Crawley set the tone again with 45 for the first wicket but India’s attack has no weak links and either their spinners or Bumrah would produce an unplayable ball. Bumrah detonated Duckett’s stumps, Ashwin bowled Ben Stokes with a ragging off break and Jonny Bairstow was beaten by a one-two from Jadeja – one spun past the edge, the next he shouldered arms to but went crashing into the stumps. England were five down and 27 behind.

It left Pope with Foakes, two men with points to prove but despite controlling the match, India soon fell flat. They missed Virat Kohli brooding at slip and getting into Pope, reminding him of his first innings flapping. India’s fielding was ragged too, with several boundaries conceded that should have been cut off and Ashwin and Patel conceded runs at more than four an over.

Foakes played with a tight defence and good footwork to the spinners. He saw off Bumrah’s first evening spell keeping out 13 off his 18 balls, and it took a grubber from Patel to winkle him out.

Pope had already reached his hundred with a clip to long on, coming back for the third run to bring up his century and a standing ovation from his team-mates and those England fans in the 30,000 crowd.

The crowds have been in excess of 30,000 with many schoolchildren given free tickets. They must have gone home convinced Test cricket is fun. Pope may still look a bit like a schoolboy himself but with this innings has shown he has senior status in the team.

By Will Macpherson at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium

Joe Root hailed “one of the best knocks that I’ve ever seen” from Ollie Pope after his century kept England alive in the opening Test of the India series.

Pope’s third day “masterclass” took England from an almost hopeless position to having a slim shot of victory in Hyderabad. He resumes 148 not out with England 126 in front and four second innings wickets in hand.

The knock came in vice-captain Pope’s first match of any form since the Lord’s Ashes Test in June, when he suffered the third serious shoulder injury of his career, ruling him out for six months and requiring surgery. He looked fidgety in his first innings of one, but put that behind him to play his best innings for England. It was his fifth century, but first against India and first in the second innings.

Root, perhaps England’s greatest player of spin, has scored five Test innings in the subcontinent, but placed this as “the benchmark” in Indian conditions.

“Honestly it’s an absolute masterclass on how to bat in these conditions as an overseas player,” he said, “Someone that’s not exposed to these surfaces day in, day out. To come back off a serious injury and have that amount of time out of the game and then put together that… I’m speechless. It’s one of the best knocks that I’ve ever seen.

“To score a score like that in India is also a brilliant achievement but, on that surface, in the situation of the game, from all the tours and time I’ve played out here I’ve not seen anything like that.

“I’ve seen a lot of cricket. I’ve played and batted out there in the middle with a lot of brilliant players and to witness that today was really special. I’m so, so pleased for him.

“I think that’s the benchmark. Honestly, I might have scored a few runs in the subcontinent. But not on a surface like that against an attack like that.

Root added: “It’s the fact that he could hit the ball wherever he wanted, all round the wicket. He didn’t rely on just brute strength or one aspect of his game. He could get down the wicket, he could sweep, he could reverse sweep, play off the back foot, he dealt with reverse swing, as well as all the other things you have to manage playing in this part of the world.

“The cramps, soreness, the fatigue, the pressure moments when we lost clusters of wickets, I just think it had everything. When you piece it all together it’s that much more special. There’s a lot of players and staff in our dressing room that have seen and played a lot of cricket that are of the same mind as I am.”

Root revealed that, as vice-captain, Pope addressed the team before play on the third day, as they resumed well behind. They promptly swept up the tail before a solid batting performance, led by Pope, and Root believes that will fill England with confidence for the remainder of the five-match series – whether they win this game or not.

“He spoke this morning in front of the group so to back that up, to lead from the front as vice-captain of this team shows a lot about him as a character,” he said.

“I don’t think it really matters what he said. I think it’s the fact he grasped the moment, took responsibility and then backed it up in his actions. That’s what you want from leaders within the dressing room.”

“Regardless of what happens for the rest of the game, I think with it being a long five-match series, we’ve laid down some good markers and shown that we have got the tools and skills to really compete in these conditions and to continually play in our manner, in our fashion out here.”


India vs England, first Test day three: As it happened . . .


11:39 AM GMT

A verdict from Sir Geoffrey after day three


11:37 AM GMT

Joe Root speaks to TNT Sports

A brilliant day’s cricket for England. The way that we’ve gone about it from the start. We were very clinical with the ball and made it very difficult for them to capitalise on what they did yesterday. And that opening stand, to get us off to that start in very tricky conditions. We could have easily lost a couple of wickets but they’ve been so good for us [Duckett and Crawley] over the past couple of years.

A couple of us couldn’t manage to get through a very tricky phase when it was reversing but a good partnership and the way Popey played was an absolute masterclass in how to play in this part of the world. In big moments and big games, coming back from injury to play an innings like that as vice-captain. We are all so chuffed for him. He’s phenomenal. We all know how good a player he is. To lay a marker like that down early in the series to get us back in the game, we’re stoked for him.

The pitch is nice to bowl on! For a part-timer like me to pick up four wickets, I think more than anything I’m pleased with how we finished things off this morning as a group. We want to ask good questions and try and find ways of taking wickets. Everything we’ve done today will stand us in good stead not only here but in this series. It’s a long old slog, there’s going to be lots of ups and downs. It’s nice to be in this position and it shows a lot about our mentality and where we are. We’re never out of the game and we always try to get in a winning position and then go on and win it.


11:18 AM GMT

CLOSE: ENG 316/6

Well that makes getting up at 2.45am worthwhile and makes it a pretty enticing prospect for tomorrow. Terrific innings from Ollie Pope after good contributions in typical style from Duckett and Crawley. The best news of all though is that England’s engine room, Nos 4, 5 and 6, failed to fire and yet England have saved their face by virtue of Ben Foakes glueing together a 112-run partnership with his Surrey team-mate. England end the day 126 ahead, showing the fight and integrity of the Stokes-McCullum era.


11:15 AM GMT

OVER 76: ENG 316/6 (Pope 148 Rehan 16)

Ashwin is given the dirty end of the stick with the last over and drags one down uncharacteristically. Rehan treats it with the contemot India’s batsmen exerted on his long-hops, carting it through midwicket for four. After three dot balls Rehan pushes a single to cover and the two batsmen embrace tap gloves before walking off with England 126 ahead.


11:12 AM GMT

OVER 75: ENG 311/6 (Pope 148 Rehan 11)

Jadeja serves up his sixth no-ball of the innings in the penultimate over the day. Pope clipped it off his pads for a single. Rehan shuffles back to whip a single into the onside then strides forward to push another through cover. Pope ends the over with a classy drive through cover for two.

One over to come. England lead by 121.


11:09 AM GMT

If you're watching TNT Sports coverage, here's what they're doing for the next Test

Anyone for Surstromming?

TNT Sports will send Alastair Cook and Steve Finn to Sweden to cover India tour


11:07 AM GMT

OVER 75: ENG 305/6 (Pope 145 Rehan 9)

Bumrah shapes it both ways at Rehan and beats him with an outswinger but Rehan defends the inswinger well then slaps a back-foot drive for a single with an assist for Siraj’s fumble at point.

What a commendable improvement by Ollie Pope, given a) his previous struggles in India and b) his previous struggles in second innings in Tests. Now England have to cash in against the old soft ball. Then who knows?


11:04 AM GMT

OVER 74: ENG 304/6 (Pope 145 Rehan 8)

Sunil Gavaskar thinks ‘170 will take some getting’. There certainly has been a momentum shift in confidence but there are significant doubts about the quality of England’s attack no matter India’s tendency to throw their wickets away in the first innings.

Rehan and Pope take four singles off Jadeja.


11:00 AM GMT

OVER 73: ENG 300/6 (Pope 143 Rehan 6)

Rohit brings Bumrah back for a final spurt. After Pope whisks four off the inducker into his pads Bumrah needs the physio to give him an energy gel, a couple of tablets and a slurp to overcome cramp.

That takes about four minutes. Pope uses the angle in to him once Jasprit is fit to bowl to work a single away that takes England to 300.

Rehan tries a booming drive, playing and missing down the corridor and ends the over on his toes pushing to cover.


10:54 AM GMT

OVER 72: ENG 295/6 (Pope 138 Rehan 6)

Very nice from Rehan to play a Vivesque inside-out lofted cover dive. It only brings him one, though, so not quite so Vivesque in return as execution. Five overs left today

Ben Foakes is bowled
Foakes gropes in vain at a shooter - AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.

10:51 AM GMT

OVER 71: ENG 292/6 (Pope 136 Rehan 5)

Pope punches two through cover to give England a three-figure lead. Not sure how much mire they need to make a proper contest of this. At the strat of the innings Ravi shastri thought a lead of 150 would be interesting. I’m not sure given the effects of the roller ought to allow India to get off to a flyer but I think it would be down to Wood and Root to bowl them out and the other three to lure them to shoot themselves in the foot whatever happens.


10:47 AM GMT

OVER 70: ENG 289/6 (Pope 133 Rehan 5)

Now a reverse-ramp from Pope, almost with his eyes shut to scoop the ball over the keeper for four. He beams after playing that shot. Rohit scowls. Jadeja, never beaten, comes back with two deliveries that turn past the edge, the second of them sprouting like a cobra. In the first innings they would have rattled Pope. Now he smiles again and reverse-sweeps again for a single to farm the strike.

England lead by 99.


10:43 AM GMT

OVER 69: ENG 284/6 (Pope 128 Rehan 5)

England continue to accumulate, Pope stepping to leg to ease a drive to cover for one single, flicking another off Axar through midwicket. Rehan unfurls the cut again and slaps it for a single of his own.


10:41 AM GMT

OVER 68: ENG 281/6 (Pope 126 Rehan 4)

Pope trusts Rehan enough to cut a single off the first ball. The 19-year-old is beaten by a peach from Jadeja that arcs in and straightens to shriek past off stump but when the left-arm spinner gives him some width he scythes a square cut for four.

Nine overs to go tonight/this morning.


10:37 AM GMT

OVER 67: ENG 275/6 (Pope 125 Rehan 0)

There be serpents in this pitch now. Pope had clobbered a reverse for four then rocks back to pull a single before Axar ends the 112-run sixth-wicket partnership.

That is a bad drop from Axar to give Pope a life on 110, and he immediately punishes him with a beautiful punched four through the offside. Pope looking every bit the senior player here.

Good stuff from Foakes, who is blameless for his dismissal, which barely gets off the ground. England’s tail is not hopeless, with Leach at No 11.


10:33 AM GMT

Wicket!

Foakes b Patel 34  Sawn off by a shooter. Decent left-armer’s off-break that curled in towards off-stump and straightened to dribble under the bat and hit the base of the stump.  FOW 275/6


10:32 AM GMT

OVER 66: ENG 270/5 (Pope 120 Foakes 34)

Foakes square drives for a single, Pope – I wish I had a line to copy and paste for this – reverse sweeps for four. This one off the glove, though and sails over slip. Pope knocks another single through midwicket leaving Foakes to try to cope with an absolute Jadeja jaffa that spits up and rags past the shoulder of Foakes’ Gray-Nicholls ... ans also fizzes past off-stump.

Ollie Pope
Ollie Pope makes the first century of the series - NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images

10:27 AM GMT

OVER 65: ENG 264/5 (Pope 115 Foakes 33)

Foakes skelps a single off his pads and Pope does the same to bring up the hundred partnership. They’ll be dancing in the streets of Godalming. Fantastic effort.


10:25 AM GMT

OVER 64: ENG 261/5 (Pope 114 Foakes 32)

I wish I’d kept count of reverse-sweeps: Pope nails one for four off Jadeja, then goes for the encore but spoons it high to backward point off the toe. Axar goes up, both hands above hi head as he leaps and parries it. His second attemot to grab it with a swoop leaves him eating the grass and the ball nestled on it, too. And to add insult to injury, Pope slaps a square cut for four in front of square.

Rohit tries his best not to curse but both hands stay stuck to his cap like antlers long enough to convey his exasperation.


10:21 AM GMT

OVER 63: ENG 252/5 (Pope 106 Foakes 31)

Rohit rings the changes and bring back Axar and Pope, after defending, chasses down and swipes a low full toss through midwicket for four. But Axar is not taking that lying down and drifts one from round the wicket on to Pope’s off-stump that dips, spits up and turns away from Pope’s forward defensive and crashes into Bharat’s chest.


10:18 AM GMT

OVER 62: ENG 248/5 (Pope 102 Foakes 31)

India question the shape of the ball and out come thr rings. It doesn’t go through so the umpires signal for a replacement and use the break to summon drinks, too.

Hats (brown, natch) off to the Surrey boys for putting on 85. Foakes’ strike rotation has been highly commendable and Pope has blossomed since overcoming early nerves, progressing from flustered to serene.

Foakes drives through point for a single, Pope shuffles back to work one through midwicket. Oh, and there’s a bye, too, the ninth of the innings.


10:12 AM GMT

Experts' Vatican watch

Outstanding hundred from Ollie Pope and could be such an important one for his career: hadn’t passed 35 in nine previous Test innings in India, and hadn’t played a first-class game for more than six months. It’s not absolutely certain that he would have played had Harry Brook been available. Now, he’s gone a long way towards cementing his position at number three. After jitters against the turning ball before, has found an easy tempo here: positive, but seeming to have much more faith in his defence too.

Ollie Pope’s celebration of his century suggest he knows the job is not yet done. But that is a vital innings for him and his team. Pope looked a cat on a hot tin roof in the first innings, but he has been much calmer here. There have been different phases to it. England lead by 55 now; they will need plenty more.


10:09 AM GMT

OVER 61: ENG 245/5 (Pope 101 Foakes 30)

A hundred for Ollie Pope, his fifth in Tests, brings everyone to their feet. He reaches it off Jadeja with his release shot, an elegant flick through midwicket for three. Still a lot of building to be done but that’s a terrific innings from England’s No3 come what may.

England lead by 55.

Irrespective of the result of this opening Test, the best feature of it from England’s point of view: the absence of panic. Their decision making while batting has been clear throughout. The nearest to an exception was Ollie Pope in his first innings but a couple of welcoming half volleys helped him settle second time round, since when he has grown in stature. England can compete in this series.


10:06 AM GMT

OVER 60: ENG 239/5 (Pope 97 Foakes 28)

Ashwin invites the reverse-sweep with one angled across him from round the wicket but his flashing hands can only cuff it for a single. The absence of bounce now the ball is softer enables Foakes to dab two wide of Rohit at slip and work a single off his pads.


10:04 AM GMT

OVER 59: ENG 235/5 (Pope 96 Foakes 25)

No gimmes from Jadeja, bar a fourth no-ball. Pope inches closer with a whisk through midwicket for a single.


10:03 AM GMT

OVER 58: ENG 233/5 (Pope 95 Foakes 25)

Motoring along now. Maybe a case of too little and too late but they can take heart from their vice-captain and keeper-batsman’s approach. Three singles and a two get the Barmies off their feet and take Pope to 95 with a sweep and a reverse sweep resulting in two singles. Foakes drives for one and whips for two.


10:02 AM GMT

OVER 57: ENG 228/5 (Pope 93 Foakes 22)

Jadeja is back and is taken for two singles. He looks tired now. Long innings yesterday and all but a handful of balls off the field today.


09:55 AM GMT

OVER 56: ENG 226/5 (Pope 92 Foakes 21)

Ashwin’s off-break from round the wicket keeps low but Foakes has time to jam his bat down and take a single off the inside edge. Pope reverse-sweeps hard for four to make him the highest scorer in the match. He tries again and knocks it on the half-volley into slip’s hands. Pope takes a single to square leg, Foakes boshes another to cover. England are finding the older ball much easier to manipulate. Boundaries have been rationed but they are picking up plenty of singles now.


09:51 AM GMT

OVER 55: ENG 219/5 (Pope 87 Foakes 19)

Pope brings up the fifty partnership by filleting point wth a cut stroke for two then tickes a single off his pads. Siraj doubles down on that line with another inswinger to Foakes and the ball fizzes ast his bat, backside and the keeper for four byes. Siraj adjusts to off-stump and Foakes taps a drive down to the point sweeper for a single.


09:47 AM GMT

Here comes the home town hero

The crowd is up beyond 28,000 today, the third strong attendance in a row. They get very excited when Mohammed Siraj, a Hyderabad native, comes into the attack.


09:46 AM GMT

OVER 54: ENG 211/5 (Pope 84 Foakes 18)

Ashwin replaces Jadeja and rips an off-break through Pope’s gate as he tried to flick to leg. The bll spits up over the stumps and beats Bharat’s left hand to run down to the boundary for four byes. Pope sweeps for a single, Foakes shovels a drive with the bottom hand through mid on for two and the sweeps for four, his second boundary. The partnership is now 48.


09:43 AM GMT

OVER 53: ENG 200/5 (Pope 83 Foakes 12)

Maiden for a visibly tiring Bumrah which makes a welcome entry for a visibly tiring Bagchi. Foakes may have missed out on the yorker that didn’t land but better to miss a scoring opportunity than the ball.


09:37 AM GMT

OVER 52: ENG 200/5 (Pope 83 Foakes 12)

For all Foakes’ supposed limitations with the bat, in 20 Tests he has been involved in 11 half-century partnerships, three of then going on to three figures. There’s a lot to be said for having a glue man at No 7.

Foakes eases a drive through cover for a single and Jadeja’s third no-ball of the innings brings up the 200 for England.


09:35 AM GMT

OVER 51: ENG 197/5 (Pope 82 Foakes 11)

Foakes picks Bumrah’s slower ball and taps it to cover for a quick single. Good call and both were swiftly out of the blocks. Pope steps inside a hooping inswinger, trying to tickle it but makes no contract and Bharat makes a good saving take.

England lead by seven.


09:29 AM GMT

OVER 50: ENG 195/5 (Pope 81 Foakes 10)

Jadeja beats Pope with anither off-break that screeches past his edge but Pope pays no mind as he waits and pounces on a full toss and sweeps it hard. Ashwin chases after it, the sub comes round the rope and it’s ‘After you, Claud’, letting the ball dribble over for four. That’ll teach Jadeja to run Ashwin out.


09:26 AM GMT

OVER 49: ENG 191/5 (Pope 77 Foakes 10)

It is Bumrah. Will a 49-over old ball still reverse? No sign as yet as he uses the crease and angle to slant the ball into Foakes. Pace on so far and Foakes defends then jams his bat down on the yorker but it was wider than he expected and he didn’t reach it. It was too wide to bother the stumps in any case.

Pope drives off one knee
After a skittish strat Pope makes England's highest score of the match - AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.

09:20 AM GMT

OVER 48: ENG 191/5 (Pope 77 Foakes 10)

England level the scores with a pair of singles off Jadeja and move into the lead with a leg-bye. Time for Bumrah, surely?

A challenge for Ben Foakes has always been his tempo while he bats with the tail. He’s worked hard to expand his range, but he will never be capable of the sort of pyrotechnics that Jonny Bairstow could provide at seven when batting with the lower order. But, for now, he can play normally and keep Ollie Pope company. After a torrid tour in 2021, and looking skittish in the first innings, this has been outstanding from Pope. England will hope there’s much more to come.


09:18 AM GMT

OVER 47: ENG 188/5 (Pope 76 Foakes 9)

Sharp running from Pope doubles his reward for a midwicket whip to two runs. Axar responds by pushing the ball further up and Pope defends hurriedly on the back foot then charges down and is hit on the pad as he tried to swipe across the line.

India send it upstairs to review but he was a long way down. Hit him more than 3m down. Wonder if they went for the review because Rohit at slip, where the ball went off the pad, should have tried to run him out as Pope was stranded, his feet in a tangle and his momentum taking him away from the crease.


09:13 AM GMT

OVER 46: ENG 186/5 (Pope 74 Foakes 9)

Huge roar of approval for Ashwin when he runs after Foakes’s midwicket flick and keeps him down to three. Pope follows the left-arm Jadeja’s off-break as it sears away from him off the pitch but is well and truly beaten. The next one starts on a wider trajectory and he chops it for a single.


09:11 AM GMT

OVER 45: ENG 181/5 (Pope 72 Foakes 6)

Maiden for Axar to Foakes. England remain nine runs in arrears.


09:08 AM GMT

OVER 44: ENG 181/5 (Pope 72 Foakes 6)

Rohit crosses his arms and glares at Ashwin after he chases down Pope’s midwicket flick and lunges to stop it. He slides and goes first with his hand but tops the ball so tries to recover with a flick of the outstretched boot and misses again and the ball dribbles into the rope.


09:05 AM GMT

OVER 43: ENG 177/5 (Pope 68 Foakes 6)

Patel comes round the wicket to the right-hander and Pope works the ball off his toes for a single. Foakes defends off the back foot and then pushes forward to defend to mid-off. One slip only and a silly mid-off. Foakes wears one on the pad, defends a couple then slaps a handsome dribe through extra-cover for four.


09:02 AM GMT

Axar Patel has the ball

His Holiness on strike.


08:44 AM GMT

Tea verdict: Mountaineers required

At lunch, there was a chipper tone to our coverage at the end of England’s best session of the match, the first we could confidently say they had won.

A couple of hours later, and England are staring down the barrel, thanks mainly to a stunning spell from Jasprit Bumrah.

Bumrah was excellent in the first innings, using his slower balls to outsmart Rehan Ahmed and Ben Stokes. This time, it was another side of his game that did the damage, with electrifying pace and reverse swing just too much for Ben Duckett and Joe Root, whose departure signalled real trouble for England.

England’s batsmen will have spent the thick end of two days thinking about how on earth they would keep out India’s spinners, only to be blown open by Bumrah’s pace. That is just an example of the challenge they are up against. Not to be outdone, the spinners dismissed Jonny Bairstow (Ravi Jadeja) and Stokes (Ashwin, for the 12th time in Tests).

England’s hopes now lie with the Surrey boys, Ollie Pope, who has looked so much more composed, and Ben Foakes. They are 18 behind, and with a mountain to climb.


08:42 AM GMT

TEA: ENG 172/5

India still lead by 18 runs and England have only five wickets left, these two plus the promising but callow Rehan, biffers in Hartley and Wood and Leach on one leg.


08:41 AM GMT

OVER 42: ENG 172/5 (Pope 67 Foakes 2)

Maiden, too, for Jadeja to Foakes, skidding the last ball into his pads with one that was sliding down.

Tea time.


08:39 AM GMT

OVER 41: ENG 172/5 (Pope 67 Foakes 2)

Axar replaces Ashwin and starts this spell with a maiden to Pope who is a model of composure now after such a frenetic start. One more over before tea.


08:37 AM GMT

OVER 40: ENG 172/5 (Pope 67 Foakes 2)

A single apiece off Jadeja as India dry up the boundaries. Foakes pushes a single through cover, Pope is becalmed for four doit balls then eases another single to the same fielder.


08:33 AM GMT

OVER 39: ENG 170/5 (Pope 66 Foakes 1)

Pope eases two down to long-on and then swipes Ashwin across the line to deep midwicket for a single. Foakes gets off the mark with a clip off his laces into the onside.


08:31 AM GMT

OVER 38: ENG 166/5 (Pope 63 Foakes 0)

KP thinks Stokes’ usual policy of patiently building doesn’t work in India because giving up so many opportunities to score bites you on the Bumrah since any ball from Ashwin could have your name on it. He points out that it was a half-volley from Ashwin that Stokes would normally have driven with a big stride and, as such, may have middled it instead of being camped deep in his crease and letting it turn.

Pope drives through cover point for two, Siraj saving two with a size 10, and whips a single off his pads.

England trail by 24

That is a hammer blow for England, and the game finishing today is suddenly favourite, you’d think. Lovely stuff from Ashwin, who has now got Stokes 12 times in Tests, more than any other batsman. No one has dismissed Stokes more often, either.


08:27 AM GMT

OVER 37: ENG 163/5 (Pope 60 Foakes 0)

Ashwin comes over the wicket to Pope who sweeps him.The ball bounces more than he expected and he top-edged it but it fell to earth 5m in front of the midwicket sweeper.

Ashwin huffs and puffs and blows Stokes’ house down with a ripper that drifted in as far as leg and midle and turned to kiss the outside of off stump

Foakes has one ball to survive and is beaten prodding forward, the ball whistles past the edge.


08:23 AM GMT

Wicket!

Stokes b Ashwin 6  You can’t build a house of bricks to survive Ashwin’s wrecking ball. Big off-break, angled on to middle and it fizzes past the edge to knock back off stump.  FOW 163/5


08:21 AM GMT

OVER 36: ENG 159/4 (Pope 58 Stokes 5)

Jadeja beats Stokes with another delivery that arcs in and turns into the leg stump, arrowing towards leg stump as he misses his reverse sweep. Relief for Stokes to hear it whoosh by. Pope sweeps a single orthodox style and Stokes stays upright to clip one off his toes.


08:19 AM GMT

OVER 35: ENG 157/4 (Pope 57 Stokes 4)

Stokes, digging the foundations for a house he plans to build in brick, blocks out a third Ashwin maiden. Testing over, nagging line but Stokes, for now, has its measure.


08:14 AM GMT

OVER 34: ENG 157/4 (Pope 57 Stokes 4)

Stokes is in shark mode, patient and calm, creeping along under the surface, ready to pounce when/if he can. Pope uses the length when Jadeja slightly overpitches to whisk a single off his boots and Stokes takes the strike with a reverse sweep that deadheads daisies as it blazes a trail to deep point.

India lead by 32.


08:11 AM GMT

OVER 33: ENG 154/4 (Pope 56 Stokes 3)

Close shave for the beardy Stokes. Ashwin rips an off-break past his edge and Stokes topples forward. Bharat knocks off the bails. The square leg umpire sends it upstairs but it was inconclusive. Stokes toe was very close to the ground, perhaps the tip of the sole that holds the spikes. But another looks as if ther was the tiniest of gaps. Benefit of doubt goes to the batsman. Maiden.


08:07 AM GMT

OVER 32: ENG 154/4 (Pope 56 Stokes 3)

Pope opts for reward above risk by sweeping Jadeja from outside off stump, swatting it powerfully for four. But had it bounced a tad more ...

Having had his fun and kept England’s rate healthy, he defends the rest.


08:03 AM GMT

OVER 31: ENG 150/4 (Pope 52 Stokes 3)

Captain Stokes adopts his Brigadier Block persona, taking a big stride to smother Ashwin’s spin and turn with his nose over the ball. Maiden.


08:02 AM GMT

OVER 30: ENG 150/4 (Pope 52 Stokes 3)

Stokes waits for Jadej’s shorter one and chops it for a single. Pope is beaten by a similar ball to the one that preceded Bairstow’s wicket, ragging past his edge. But his hands stayed true and didn’t flinch towards the ball.

Ollie Pope hits a four
Ollie Pope makes a half-century - REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

07:58 AM GMT

OVER 29: ENG 149/4 (Pope 52 Stokes 2)

Fifty for Pope off an Ashwin full toss, striding down and flicking the full toss through midwicket. After such a jumpy start in both innings, his progress since lunch has been impressive. Pope pokes two through point with an open face but fails to connect with a big swing at a reverse-sweep.


07:54 AM GMT

OVER 28: ENG 142/4 (Pope 46 Stokes 1)

Jadeja is staking his man of the match claims with every facet of his game. Bairstow swept for four with some help from a misfield but was then beaten and castled by successive deliveries. You can say he should have played the second of them but it seemed a rational choice to leave it given the previous delivery.


07:50 AM GMT

Wicket!

Bairstow b Jadeja 10 Ragged the previous ball past the edge and diddles him with the two-card trick, the ball pitching in the same spot but zipping on straight as Bairstow left it, believing it would turn past the stumps. Instead it skipped on and hit two-thirds of the way up off stump. He’s a magician. FOW 140/4


07:49 AM GMT

OVER 27: ENG 136/3 (Pope 46 Bairstow 6)

Axar replaces Bumrah and, after Bairstow eases a drive to cover for a single, Pope skips down and chips the keft-armer over mid-on for four. Sparkling shot from Old Red Socks in Rome.


07:44 AM GMT

Hello stranger

One curiosity about Jasprit Bumrah’s (brilliant) Test career so far is that he has hardly played at all: this is just his fifth Test in India, compared to 28 away. It’s not that he hasn’t been picked – any team, in any format, anywhere is always better with Bumrah in it – but circumstances: injuries, Covid and India managing him carefully at times. But what a treat for fans to see him at home, reverse swinging the ball like this.


07:43 AM GMT

OVER 26: ENG 131/3 (Pope42 Bairstow 5)

Just as Root may have been exhausted by his bowling, could Jadeja be knackered by his batting? Not that he’s bowling badly at all but he has not reached the venomous heights of his spell in the first innings. That may well be down to the pitch.

Pope clumps a reverse sweep for four, burgles a single with a tip and run on to the next pitch to his left and Bairstow takes England to drinks with another tight, tip and run single, beating Jadeja’s throw.

England trail by 59.


07:40 AM GMT

OVER 25: ENG 125/3 (Pope 37 Bairstow 4)

Pope opens the face to ease a single through point. Bairstow picks the Bumrah slow special and hits it into the ground on the half-volley, squeezing it in front of point for one.

A split screen – apologies, given the early start I’m writing from home rather than draughty HQ which means I can’t do screen grabs off my TV – shows Root’s back leg in frnt of offstump and Bairstow’s in front of leg.

Root’s position makes him a leg-before candidate but aids his third-man glide/dab. Reward > risk.

Pope is gulled by the slower ball but the ball pops off the splice for a single while Bairstow survives the last by the skin if his teeth, jamming out the yorker into his boot and sending it screeching past the stumps.


07:33 AM GMT

OVER 24: ENG 122/3 (Pope 35 Bairstow 3)

Classy in defence for four balls of Jadeja’s comeback over, Bairstow cuts for a single and Pope drives the left-armer’s dart through cover for another.

Stump cartwheels out of the ground
Duckett loses his off peg - Getty Images/Noah Seelam

07:29 AM GMT

OVER 23: ENG 120/3 (Pope 34 Bairstow 2)

‘Sunny G’ points out that YJB has a leg and middle guard as opposed to his team-matess’ middle to Bumrah which allows him to stay legside and reduce the threat of leg before. In the recent past, when he was susceptible to being clean bowled from 2017-2021, that may have compounded that vulnerability. He is also trying to play the ball late, allowing for the slowness of the pitch and low bounce so, after defending solidly or leaving five balls, he waits to tap a length ball through cover for a single.


07:24 AM GMT

OVER 22: ENG 119/3 (Pope 34 Bairstow 1)

Pope tickles Siraj’s inswinger for a single and Bairstow, quiet for two balls, calls Pope through for a single when he pushes the final ball of the over to point and will now face a rampant Bumrah.

Bumrampant? Sounds like a Viz strip circa 1988. Open to all sorts of misinterpretation ...


07:19 AM GMT

OVER 21: ENG 117/3 (Pope 32 Bairstow 0)

Bumrah threatens both edges with his movement and Root keeps out the inswinger with an inside edge but leaves the outswinger. He has both leg-before and caught behind in his plans from over the wicket. Root opens the face to guide a single between point and third man.

Pope chisels out a brutal inswinging yorker that was pure Waqar. The game’s afoot. Bumrah follows it with his white-ball special, a scrambled seam loopy slower ball that Pope pushes out for a single that Root will wish he hadn’t taken.


07:17 AM GMT

Wicket!

Root lbw b Bumrah 2  He didn’t hit it. Perhaps he was confused by the bat hitting his pad? Umpire’s call on the stumps, just clipping leg as Bumrah hoodwinks Root with the big inswinger. Whoever had England being demolished by pace in their predictions, I’d do the lottery tonight if I were you.  FOW 117/3


07:14 AM GMT

ENG review

Root lbw b Bumrah  Root says he nicked it.


07:08 AM GMT

OVER 20: ENG 115/2 (Pope 32 Root 1)

Because the ball is reversing, India opt for pace at both ends and call up Mohammed Siraj. Duckett was playing that on line, having cover driven an outswinger earlier in the over but Bumrah veered this one in at high pace.

Pope leg-glances for a single, Root, too, flicks a straight one to get off the mark through square leg.

Relief in that celebration from the bellowing Bumrah. He had been chuntering away about the lbw review in the previous over, and it doesn’t take him long to get revenge.

Was that reverse swing incredible? Beautiful bowling. Local lad Siraj is coming on, which suggests it was reverse and India feel they have a small window to capitalise on it.


07:03 AM GMT

OVER 19: ENG 113/2 (Pope 31 Root 0)

Bumrah is swinging it late now, tailing one away from Duckett who punches the ball through cover and, by virtue of a misfield, earns four. After two defensives, Bumrah strays on to Duckett’s hip from round the wicket and the left-hander gloves it for four.

But the great Bumrah gets his man next ball, hooping it through a flapping gate. Root has one ball to face and shoulders arms safely.

England trail by 77.

A massive gasp around the ground when the big screen shows that Bumrah’s lbw shout to Duckett would have been overturned with three reds. Bumrah can’t believe they didn’t review it! What a huge let-off for Duckett, who has played well, and England.


07:00 AM GMT

Wicket!

Duckett b Bumrah 47  Knocks the off stump out of the ground. Big wafty drive. Done by reverse swing.  FOW 113/2


06:57 AM GMT

OVER 18: ENG 105/1 (Duckett 39 Pope 31)

It seems Bharat’s voice that it was going down leg was the loudest. Bumrah sees the replay on screen and throws his hands up while dropping to his haunches momentarily.

Pope steps into the legside to drive Ashwin classily for four between mid-off and extra- then fiddles another legside delivery off his pads fine for a second boundary off the over.


06:54 AM GMT

OVER 17: ENG 97/1 (Duckett 39 Pope 23)

Good shot from Pope to drive Bumrah off a good length through cover but he follws that with a Harrow drive for a single down to fine leg. Here’s a thought. Instead of hassling Shoaib Bashir and delaying his visa, why don’t they just ask ‘are you planning on taking a trumpet?’ and block anyone who answers ‘yes’.

Bumrah nips one back into Duckett, the ball keeps low but the umpire says not out. Rohit asks Bumrah if they should review and they decide against. But it was cannoning into leg stump. Three reds. Missed opportunity.

The crowd is 21,600 just after lunch. You can spot the school kids because they are sitting together and all wearing their uniform, each school a different colour. We have yellow, purple, ones with white caps and others with red trousers. One elderly England supporter complained to me yesterday about the “screaming noise”. Can’t have young people enjoying themselves at the cricket…


06:47 AM GMT

OVER 16: ENG 94/1 (Duckett 39 Pope 20)

Pope resumes with a single, whipping it off middle through midwicket. Bit uppish but far away enough from the field. Duckett flicks one off his pads and Pope squirts a drive off the edge down to third man for a well-run two. Ashwin continues round the wicket and Duckett pounces on his wide line and reverse sweeps for a single.

Bumrah will have another spell after two overs with the brand new ball.

What a fine counterattack by England’s top three. They have all got a foot into this series, whatever happens from now. It could all disintegrate in a heap of course but at least England have made a statement: that if this series moves on to a flat pitch they will be able to rattle India’s spinners, perhaps for the first time at time.


06:43 AM GMT

Ashwin has the ball, England trail by 101

Welcome back. Will India find their spark once the effects of the roller wear off?


06:37 AM GMT

Will and Nick's Hyderabad dispatch


06:08 AM GMT

Lunch verdict

England’s session - their best of the match so far - and now they are on the charge with the bat. It is compelling viewing again. Can they make a game of it? A first innings deficit of 190 means they need to make 350 to have an outside chance in the fourth innings, 400 would be very interesting.

They’ve started at an express pace batting at 5.9 an over before lunch for 89 for one, not playing recklessly, just relying on their strengths, mainly the sweep. India’s lead has shrunk to 101 in around an hour of batting by England on a pitch that has slowed and is not turning as prodigiously as it did on day one when there was still a bit of moisture in the surface.

Losing is fine for England, as long as they take something out of the match for the second Test and there have been enough signs in India’s batting to show there are weaknesses if the Bazballers can make big scores, rather than breezy 30s and 40s.

Ben Duckett is sweeping his way to dominance, taking the attack back to Ravi Ashwin and manipulating the field well. At 31 at lunch from 33 balls he has a start. Zak Crawley could not go on after playing well for 31 but set the tone belting the first six of the innings off his second ball from Axar Patel, who tormented him on the last tour.

England bowled well this morning which gave them confidence. Joe Root’s two strikes in two balls, including Ravi Jadeja for 86, underlined his status as the No 1 spinner now especially as a limpking Jack Leach could manage only one over.


06:04 AM GMT

LUNCH: ENG 89/1

England trail by 101 after some enterprising batting and Root’s golden arm. There’s a long way to go but England’s batsmen have given them hope and have done so not by curbing their natural instincts.

Is that the first session of the match we can definitively say England have won? Still a long way behind, but green shoots emerging.


06:03 AM GMT

OVER 15: ENG 89/1 (Duckett 38 Pope 16)

Jadeja comes on for the final over before lunch and England add four byes to the total when Jadeja strays down leg and Bharat fails to shut his legs in time as it burrows between them and down to the boundary. England wotkd five singles off the other five deliveries and end the session in far ruder health than their state at the start of play.


06:01 AM GMT

OVER 14: ENG 80/1 (Duckett 36 Pope 13)

Loud appeal from Bharat, throwing up his right arm after snaffling a ball angled down the legside from Ashwin. Duckett had tried to reverse- sweep it but the bounce took it over his blade. Ashwin doesn’t support the keeper’s conviction. Earlier Poep took two singles with a midwicket flick and a dab. Duckett one with a press through cover.


05:57 AM GMT

OVER 13: ENG 77/1 (Duckett 35 Pope 11)

Pope survives one that grips and bounces over his sweep, clears the stumps and thumps into the keeper’s helmet. Sooty, to Duckett’s Sweep, he decides to play off the front foot and drives tappishly through cover for four then whisks a single to midwicket.

Duckett gets the broom out, orthodox style, and sweeps Duckett through midwicket for four.


05:53 AM GMT

OVER 12: ENG 67/1 (Duckett 30 Pope 6)

Ashwin stays round the wicket and Pope tucks a single off his pads when the bowler pitches on middle. The off-spinner then serves up a low full toss on off stump to the left-handed Duckett who reverse-sweeps it fine for four. He says he has 10 different sweeps. AB de Villiers and Dick van Dyke eat your hearts out.

Two more reverses to end the over, Pope’s skelped to backard point as is Duckett’s but mirrored. Confusing this, with both right-hander and left-hander hitting it to left-handed and right-handed fielding positions.


05:48 AM GMT

OVER 11: ENG 59/1 (Duckett 24 Pope 4)

Duckett adds 10 off Axar who is told by his captain to keep going and that he will not plug the gap at backward point that enables Duckett to reverse sweep a pair of fours. They want to encourage that stroke, not discourage it.

England trail by 131.


05:45 AM GMT

OVER 10: ENG 49/1 (Duckett 14 Pope 4)

Pope needs a looser grip or softer, Bell-like hands to survive for long. He was jumpy in the first innings and looks shaky again but gleans a couple of twos with a big stride but makes a busy mess of an attempted reverse-sweep.


05:40 AM GMT

Wicket!

Crawley c Rohit b Ashwin 31  Brilliant from Ashwin who has come back round the wicket to the right-hander now. All about the dip and, indeed, the slower pace which allows it to turn back in when angled across and pop off the edge to slip.  FOW 45/1 


05:40 AM GMT

OVER 9: ENG 44/0 (Crawley 31 Duckett 13)

Duckett hangs back to drive Axar through cover for three before taking another single after Crawley steers a straight drive for a single.


05:39 AM GMT

OVER 8: ENG 39/0 (Crawley 30 Duckett 9)

Bharat appeals for a catch that balloons off Crawley’s pads when sweeping but Ashwin shakes his head. England’s openers exchange singles into the legside before Crawley ends the over with a glorious cover drive for four. Sunil Gavaskar says Ashwin is bowling to quickly. Interesting thought. nerves cane ven affect a man with 493 Test wickets.

India fans
Saturday's crowd is building - REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

05:35 AM GMT

OVER 7: ENG 33/0 (Crawley 25 Duckett 8)

Crawley scoops a sweep over his shoulder for two then takes two strides down and flays Axar Patel over long on for six! Harsha Bhogle says he has seen so many sides come to India and wait for the inevitable, blocking it despite the danger and usually ending up skittled for not many. He is, therefore, impressed by England’s measured approach this morning.

Crawley works a single off his pads and Duckett nails his third attempt at a reverse sweep, skelping it square for four.


05:30 AM GMT

OVER 6: ENG 20/0 (Crawley 16 Duckett 4)

Ashwin is able to get balls to skid through consistently with an occasional leaper. Hellishly difficult to play. Crawley whisks a single off his pad, Duckett is beaten by a ragging off-break, finds the fielder with his reverse-sweep but finds a gap at cover with a forward push to take a single. Crawley drags a reverse sweep off the under-edge for four and elongates a defensive block to take a single and the strike.


05:26 AM GMT

OVER 5: ENG 13/0 (Crawley 10 Duckett 3)

First change: Axar replaces Bumrah. Duckett plays and misses with another attempted reverse-sweep. The world TV feed calls up hot spot for that incident in the last over and shows there was an inside edge when Jaiswal leapt to his left to try to catch Crawley. A miss is as good as a mile. Duckett nurdles a single into the legside off an inside edge and Crawley steers another to point.


05:22 AM GMT

OVER 4: ENG 11/0 (Crawley 9 Duckett 2)

Ashwin forces Duckett to look rushed into busy defensives until he gets off strike with a well-judged sweep off a leg-stump line for a single. Crawley props forward to defend and wears it on the pad. There are shouts for Jaisaal to ‘Catch it’ but it evades him by a metre. Don’t think he hit it, speaking of which ...

Quite apart from England’s batsmen, it will be very hard for the on-field umpires in their second innings. A noisy crowd, and plenty of shrill and excited voices, make it so difficult for the umpire to hear a nick on to the pad.


05:18 AM GMT

OVER 3: ENG 10/0 (Crawley 9 Duckett 1)

Terrific stroke from Crawley, a back-foot punch off Bumrah that rifles through the covers for four. Bumrah tries to tempt him again with a wider, slower ball but Crawley leaves it. England’s openers are not technically sound so their judgment in India has to be spot-on. And Crawley again shows encouraging signs by leaving another enticing but dangerous, slower, full one down t’corridor.


05:15 AM GMT

OVER 2: ENG 6/0 (Crawley 5 Duckett 1)

Duckett is off the mark from the first ball, pushing well ahead of his pad to turn it off an inside edge short and wide of short leg.

Ashwin, stays round the wicket to the right-hander and fizzes one into his pad. He appeals, more a raised eyebrow than the Keith Haring dance. It was missing leg. Crawley nails a reverse pull for four to get off the mark, clips a single and puts Duckett back on strike. Heart in mouth time as Duckett plays a madcap reverse slog sweep to a big fizzing off-break that beats the bat and just clears off-stump.


05:10 AM GMT

OVER 1: ENG 0/0 (Crawley 0 Duckett 0)

England start 190 behind and Bumrah has two slips and a gully. The first two are angled in to Crawley who closes the face to defend into the onside. The next is angled even further across and Crawley misses out on the flick, though Bharat goes up for a legside strangle, the racket from the crowd making it impossible for him to hear if there was a nick.

After three induckers, Bumrah arrows one down the corridor and Crawley leaves then defends another off his pads and wears the last nip-backer high on the thighpad.

Ashwin will share new-ball duties.


05:05 AM GMT

Out come the players

Jasprit Bumrah has the new ball.


05:00 AM GMT

The Root conundrum

Joe Root’s four for 79 from 29 overs the pick for England. You worry a bit about his workload because he is going to have to bowl a lot of overs on this tour as well as prop up the batting and does have a bit of a dodgy back. Could he drop down to five for more of a break? Ben Stokes or Jonny Bairstow could move up but Root will be reluctant. England are 190 behind. They lasted only 64 overs on day one against India’s spinners and now there is a lot more variable bounce and men will be crowding the bat. Bumrah is warming up but doubt the seamers will bowl more than a couple with the new ball.


04:56 AM GMT

India lead by 190 runs

The damage was done yesterday but how much worse it would have been without Joe Root’s 29-5-74-4. Over to England’s top six. Can they survive the day on a much slower pitch but now with unpredictable bounce?


04:54 AM GMT

Wicket!

Axar b Rehan 44  Went back to cut a shorter ball from round the wicket and was beaten by a leg-break that kept low. FOW 436 all out


04:51 AM GMT

OVER 120: IND 436/9 (Axar 44 Siraj 0)

Brilliant from Root. He has been England’s best bowler but will it affect his contribution as their best batsman. Having gone bang, bang!, Stokes gibes him two slips, silly point, leg slip and two short legs for the hat-trick ball but Siraj gives them nothing to do, pressing forward to block with the inside half of his bat.

Here comes Rehan. Suspect Axar may try to make hay before winter now.


04:47 AM GMT

Wicket!

Bumrah b Root 0  He’s on a hat-trick. Castled him with a big off-break through the gate for a golden duck. FOW 436/9


04:44 AM GMT

Wicket!

Jadeja lbw b Root 87  He may have feathered an edge at the same time as the ball hit the pad but it was impossible to prove so the TV umpire had to go with the on-field decision and, when checking ball tracking, it was umpire’s call so he has to go. Which Jadeja does in sanguine humour.  FOW 436/8


04:41 AM GMT

India review

Jadeja lbw b Root  Turned away from middle and hit him below the knee roll. Only an inside-edge could save him.


04:41 AM GMT

OVER 119: IND 436/7 (Jadeja 87 Axar 44)

Leach starts by overpitching and Jadeja plays tip and run to mid-off for a single. After a couple of dot balls, Axar tucks in when Leach strays too full again and hammers a drive through cover for four. Two balls later he does it again to a similar delivery. Creamed it on one knee. Two pies per over. Definitely pudding when bowling on one leg. From famine to feast in one over.

A good spell from Mark Wood of 4-0-4-0 but no wickets on a pitch that has slowed appreciably over the three days, sucking the venom out of his bumpers. It was decent effort to hit Jadeja on the grille.  A quick look at Australia’s series in India last year shows the seamers took five wickets in four Tests at an average of 77.8. It is going to be a long, long tour for the quicks.


04:37 AM GMT

OVER 118: IND 427/7 (Jadeja 86 Axar 36)

Axar and Jadeja are happy to see Root and Wood off and plan to gorge on Hartley and Rehan, like diners having a meagre main to make more room for pudding. Root racks up his fourth maiden. England’s dreadful over-trate continues at the end of the over as Stokes spends another two minutes setting a field for Leach. Not sure where Leach stands on the menu – soup, main, sweet or nuts?


04:33 AM GMT

OVER 117: IND 427/7 (Jadeja 86 Axar 36)

A fourth over for Wood, which should be his last. In the words of Neil Warnock, ‘can’t fault their effort, they’re a great bunch of lads’. But they haven’t been good enough. Jadeja goes under the radar when they talk about the great all-rounders but he’s a country mile better than Cameron Green at this stage of the Aussie’s career and BEn Stokes too given his struggles with his knee.

It’s been a quiet start, with Wood and Root tying India down – temporarily at least. Leach is warming up, but he looks uncomfortable.


04:29 AM GMT

OVER 116: IND 427/7 (Jadeja 86 Axar 36)

Where did that come from? Root rags one square, arcing towards middle and off it grips and rips past Jadeja’s outside edge. India’s chief left-arm spinner smiles. Another fine over from Root, costing only a single. The more he bowls, the more he’s going to bowl. As Eoin Morgan says, he has an appetite for bowling and is the ultimate team man but England have to recognise the mental fatigue bowling 30-odd overs an innings brings to his batting. It is never a zero-sum decision for the captain when balancing his attack. I suppose it wouldn’t have such a toll if his heavy workload was reserved for the fourth innings?


04:25 AM GMT

OVER 115: IND 426/7 (Jadeja 85 Axar 36)

Going back to a point made in Wood’s last over – Harsha B says that the speed gun shows the ball losing 39kmh after delivery, leaving the hand at 89 mph and reaching the batsman at 65mph. Little wonder so many great quicks have been made footsore on these decks. Having said that, Wood still manages to scon a batsman as well set as Jadeja, pounding one into the grille as it followed him from round the wicket. The physio quickly gives him a clean bill of health. The next ball is also short but suffers from bowler’s droop, arriving at waist height and Jadeja pulls it for a single, rolling the wrists.


04:19 AM GMT

OVER 114: IND 425/7 (Jadeja 84 Axar 36)

Maiden from Root to Axar who blocks five diligently, nose over the ball, and he cannot beat the infield off the final ball when he tries to ease a single past cover.


04:17 AM GMT

OVER 113: IND 425/7 (Jadeja 84 Axar 36)

The ever-game Wood arrows one in to Axar from round the wicket, banging it in so it veers towards his body. Axar drops his hands to remove his gloves from the line and the ball then makes a rapid descent and Foakes takes it on the third bounce. Axar squeezes the last ball past gully for a single after Leach made a solid, diving stop at mid-off, bad knee and all.

Barmy Army sings Jerusalem
The Barmies, as ever, in good cheer - REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

04:12 AM GMT

OVER 112: IND 423/7 (Jadeja 83 Axar 35)

An alliance of Northumberland and the old West Riding as Root opens the bowling with Root. He comes round the wicket with a slip in place. Harsha Bhogle points out that England will benefit from the fact that the pitch is ‘half a metre slower’ than it was in day one. Not sure that’s the right unit of measurement but I get what he means. Tight start from Root but given the pitch they may have to rely on India throwing them away rather than bolwing them out. Just the single when Jadeja scampers through after a calm push up to mid-off.


04:07 AM GMT

OVER 111: IND 422/7 (Jadeja 82 Axar 35)

Mark Wood starts with a scattered field which takes some time to set. Deep catchers on both sides of the wicket for Jadeja as Wood runs in two minutes after the scheduled start of play. Wood double bluffs and goes full and Jadeja flicks the first ball to midwicket for a single. Cue Jerusalem with all the sing-along-a-Barmy gestures.

Axar defends three into the offside, including the low full toss as Wood strains for the yorker but doesn’t land it. Axar flicks at one arrowing into his pads but doesn’t connect and has a fiddle outside off stump at the last. Wood is racing in and it is leaving his hand at 89mph but isn’t remotely menacing after it bounces.


04:00 AM GMT

Lame Leach?

Welcome to the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, where I would expect another strong crowd. Jack Leach has been out gently warming up with some pretty epic strapping on his knee. No word yet on whether he will take the field or bowl a great deal. Jeetan Patel was not desperately positive last night. Joe Root will be in charge of leading the attack, you suspect...

Leach is taking the field. Will he bowl?


03:48 AM GMT

Preview: Up against it

Good morning and welcome to live coverage of day three of the first Test of England’s five-Test tour of India. Not many straws to clutch for England supporters from play on day one and two, bar Ben Stokes’ innings and ample evidence that the understandable desire not to overburden Joe Root with so much bowling that it impacts his batting has left them a bowler short. In six of the seven Indian dismissals so far only Bharat, leg-before to Root’s skiddy off-break, did not bear the batsman’s responsibility for his own demise. For 24 overs Root was comfortably England’s most dangerous bowler and his two for 77, contrasting with the combined figures of Tom Hartley, Jack Leach and Rehan Ahmed – four for 290, is a chilling thought given England’s reliance on inexperience and the rusty Leach for the rest of the series.

Sir Geoffrey Boycott likened England’s main three spinners to second XI players yesterday and there was a distinct echo of Graham Gooch’s “World XI at one end, Ilford Seconds at the other” in the comparison between the world-class trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel on Thursday and Friday’s Englishmen.

Nonetheless, everyone has to start somewhere and there’s every chance that Rehan, in particular, will develop into a fine all-format player. A tour of India, however, ain’t no kindergarten and once again the paucity of spin talent in the Championship and a complete, institutional failure to provide a structure for it to flourish is glaringly exposed.

In 2016-17 they went with Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Gareth Batty, Zafar Ansari and Liam Dawson and still came up short. We can point to the captaincy and selection issues that let Adil and Batty down in red-ball cricket over many years but the story is still the same: you have to nurture the talent at home you are going to need on the subcontinent, rather than just throwing it into the fray in isolated series every couple of years. Ditto 2020-21 with Dom Bess and Leach.

None of that should take anything away from India and Jadeja’s innings in particular. So often thought of as flashy and hence insubstantial with the bat, he has been a formidable Test batsman for the past six years and played a wonderfully measured and mature knock yesterday, artfully going from aggressor to anchor, a reverse-Stokes, over its course. If he maintains his excellence with the ball, England could well be heading to Vizag two days early.

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