England get Bazballed as India sieze initiative in first Test

England wicketkeeper Ben Foakes looks on as India batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal hits ou during day one of the 1st Test Match between India and England at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on January 25, 2024 in Hyderabad, India

Yashasvi Jaiswal ended the first day 76 not out – Getty Images/Stu Forster

The success of this tour was always going to be less about how Bazball fared on turning pitches and more about how England’s spinners compete with their Indian counterparts.

After one day it does not look good. England are in deep trouble with their young spinners thrashed around, India giving the Bazballers a taste of what is like to be whacked and Ben Stokes out of reviews with nine wickets to take.

At least the schoolkids bussed in for the game, who swelled the crowd to more than 21,000, went home knowing that the IPL is not the only show in cricket for this was entertaining, hard-fought action.

England ranked their total as over par, but that was positivity rather than reality talking. Yes they found a way to scrap to total of 246, which was a vast improvement on 155 for seven and they inflicted the most expensive innings economy rate of his career on Ravindra Jadeja, but it was short of making this India line-up worry.

Whether it would have been better with more time on Indian pitches than a couple of days of nets in Hyderabad is a notion the management will never agree with but at least two of the top four – Ollie Pope and Joe Root – looked short of touch.

Two collapses, from 55 for none to 60 for three in 21 balls, and from 121 for three to 155 for seven, cost England the chance of a commanding total. You also sense India will not make the same mistake again with the new ball by gifting Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley so many runs off the seamers before turning to spin because it was a different game when they bowled.

Thanks to Ben Stokes’s intelligent 70, as he cruised back to Test cricket after surgery with no hint of trouble from his knee, England gave themselves a sniff. They lived by their ideals too, looking to be positive and had their moments against Ashwin and Jadeja, but it soon became apparent when they bowled that they need to make over-par totals to compete because their spinners are so outclassed.

Soon it was India schooling England on fast scoring as they closed on 119 for one at 5.1 an over with opener Yashasvi Jaiswal 76 from 70. As England left the field there were backslaps from Stokes for all his bowlers but this was painful, especially watching Tom Hartley.

With just 20 first-class games to his name he became the first England spinner to open the bowling on debut since 1921 and it did not start well. His first ball was slapped for six by Jaiswal and he went at 11 an over from his first three overs.

He did beat the bat and threaten the edge, but there were too many poor deliveries and he soon learned that players of spin of this calibre can put away decent balls too. Many other captains would have whipped him off but Stokes showed faith, bowling him almost to the close and burned two reviews as well, trying to will him a wicket.

By picking just one seamer in Mark Wood, who is there to blast batsmen out, England lacked a bowler of dots. Jasprit Bumrah had shown there was something in the pitch for the seamers, and James Anderson’s off-cutters would have offered more than Rehan Ahmed’s wrist spin.

Ahmed and Hartley went for 85 between them in 12 overs. The left-armers, Hartley and Jack Leach, bowled 18 overs to the left hander Jaiswal and it was strange Joe Root was not brought on at any stage.

Leach did give some control in his first Test since May and took the only wicket, Rohit Sharma caught at mid-on, but there was no real threat and Ashwin admitted they had the better bowling conditions with the moisture in the pitch drying out and the surface slowing as the day wore on.

Wood hurried up Jaiswal with the new ball and England reviewed a glove down the leg side in the third over. A second DRS call was lost when Hartley beat Rohit’s outside edge and the last went on a leg-before to Shubman Gill that was marginal but with only one appeal left in the bag may have been wiser to hold on.

It was an absolutely crucial toss for Stokes to win given his attack. They had to bat first to give their spinners a chance in the final innings. Wood danced a jig of delight when Stokes called correctly.

Crawley and Duckett put on 50 in no time at all and it was rollicking stuff, the mind flicking back to the Ashes.

But Duckett’s test was always going to be Ashwin who dismissed him three times out of three on the last tour and was part of the reason for his six-year absence from Test cricket. He was unlucky this time, leg before to an off-break that did not turn and was umpire’s call, the ball just clipped top of leg.

It sparked the first panic. Pope is a skittish starter although a modicum of sympathy is allowed because he was starting his first innings since the Lord’s Test against Ashwin and Jadeja. England had put on 47 in seven overs of seam. Now they managed 103 in 41 overs of unbroken spin, losing six wickets.

Pope could have been out numerous times before he fell to slip. “It would send shivers down your spine batting at four or five or six,” said Kevin Pietersen on Talksport.

Root was caught off a top edge sweeping, his go to shot in Asia his downfall this time. Jonny Barstow was in good touch for his 37 but was bowled by a fizzer from Patel and it was down to Stokes to marshal the fightback.

It was classic Stokes. He took 53 balls to hit a four but then he was away, his fifty brought up after tea with a six off Jadeja despite seven fielders on the rope. The next ball sailed over the rope too.

Hartley supported with a spiky 23 off 24 and it took a pearler from Bumrah to bowl Stokes, who held his arms out as if to say ‘how do you play that’. Sadly for him, India’s batsmen were not making the same gesture.

A chastening start for England in India: as it happened

11:39 AM GMT

A verdict from Sir Geoff

11:32 AM GMT

Ben Duckett’s assessment of day one

“Normally you’d want to make a few more runs but it was tricky on a pitch with consistent spin,” says the England opener. “We were happy [with our first-innings score].”

And on England’s bowling: “On another day we’d have taken three or four wickets there. I can’t see that pitch getting better.”

And asked by Eoin Morgan about how the senior players would pick up Tom Hartley after his chastening debut.

“First of all it was incredible to see the way Tom batted, hitting Ashwin over mid-on,” Duckett says. But what of his bowling? “They were positive against him with the bat but he nearly took a pole at the end. Stokesy will give him another go tomorrow.

“We’re always looking to take wickets and we saw when we batted that things can happen quite fast.”

11:27 AM GMT

TV on trial

If you’re wondering about the, ahem, sparse TV coverage of this series on TNT Sports, the news is that it might improve as the series goes on. Tim Wigmore has more details in this story.

11:16 AM GMT

CLOSE: IND 119/1

India trail by 127 runs with nine first-innings wickets in hand. England desperately need wickets in tomorrow’s morning session or this game will run away from them over the hills and faraway.  England’s attack seems to have a couple of holes in it.

Some genuinely delightful batting from Yashavi Jaiswal this afternoon. He’s looked to punish England from the first over, and exposed the weaknesses in their attack.

11:15 AM GMT

OVER 23: IND 119/1 (Jaiswal 76 Gill 14)

Rehan Starts the final over of a difficult day with a low full toss that Gill RSVPs with his first proper attacking stroke of the day, flicking it for four through midwicket. After the right-hander milks a single into the onside, Jaiswal slaps two through cover that would have been four but for Wood’s dive and tucks the last ball though midwicket for a single. The left-hander has looked a million dollars out yhere.

11:11 AM GMT

OVER 22: IND 111/1 (Jaiswal 73 Gill 9)

Leach bowls the penultimate over, giving up only one run off the final ball to take India to Nelson. The over, as exhaustion looms, included a lovely delivery that arced in to the right-handed Gill, gripped and turned past the edge. Gill is very disciplined with his hands, though.

11:08 AM GMT

OVER 21: IND 110/1 (Jaiswal 73 Gill 8)

Rehan uses flight to keep Jaiswal quiet for four balls but then the left-hander strides down and spanks the ball over mid-on for six! He absolutely lamped that one. England are teetering even if Stokes continues to smile and encourage.

11:04 AM GMT

OVER 20: IND 103/1 (Jaiswal 67 Gill 7)

Leach changes ends and leaks a couple of singles. In terms of India spin vs England spin, it’s Man City vs Southend in the FA Cup so far.

11:01 AM GMT

OVER 19: IND 101/1 (Jaiswal 66 Gill 6)

Turn for the leg-spinner, ripping the leg-break from round the wicket to hit Jaiswal on the knee roll but outside the line. The left-hander picks the googly and thumps it through extra-cover for four and India reach three figures. This is hardest of hard yakkas for England’s rookie spinners.

10:58 AM GMT

OVER 18: IND 94/1 (Jaiswal 60 Gill 5)

Hartley is in all sorts of bother bowling to the left-hander and drags the first one down and Jaiswal knocks its block off, pulling it hard and contemptuously for four. More pie? Another long hop is pulled for a single by Jaiswal and Gill joins in by tucking into another drag down and tucking it crisply for two.

Time for a change. Except it comes first at Leach’s end. On comes Rehan Ahmed.

10:54 AM GMT

OVER 17: IND 87/1 (Jaiswal 55 Gill 3)

A maiden for Leach to Gill who isn’t his swashbuckling white-ball self against a ball of a different hue. Leach has the rather respectable figures of 7-2-21-1 which contrast jarringly with Hartley’s 8-0-56-0.

10:51 AM GMT

OVER 16: IND 87/1 (Jaiswal 55 Gill 3)

Hartley has settled now and is keeping the right-hander honest with a tighter line. Tough he did start with a second no-ball he holds his nerve and keeps the cautious Gill scoreless for four balls until he milks a single to long on.

Yashasvi Jaiswal

Yashasvi Jaiswal continues his sparkling start to Test cricket – Stu Forster/Getty Images

10:46 AM GMT

OVER 15: IND 84/1 (Jaiswal 54 Gill 2)

Leach has two slips in for Shubman for the first three balls then moves the second of them to short midwicket. Leach whistles one past Gill’s edge but the batsman didn’t flinch or follow it. Decent over from Leach, a maiden. Kevin Pietersen is saying Leach hasn’t turned a ball so far but I’m sure he has. It’s not the sharp turn of India’s trio but it is turning.

10:43 AM GMT

OVER 14: IND 84/1 (Jaiswal 54 Gill 2)

As Sunil Gavaskar says, it was a plausible review, that third one, because it hit him bebeath the knee roll. But the other two were speculative and impetuous.

10:41 AM GMT


All three gone in 80 balls. That’s ridiculous. He didn’t hit it and the the ball was going over the stumps.

10:40 AM GMT

England review

Gill lbw b Hartley or possibly caught behind if he hit it.

10:38 AM GMT

OVER 13: IND 82/1 (Jaiswal 53 Gill 1)

Over-confidence from Rohit, I think. Done in the flight, he never got remotely near to the pitch of the ball with his feet and had to stretch to fetch it. Shubman Gill gets off the mark with a flick to midwicket.

10:34 AM GMT


Rohit c Stokes b Leach 24  Leach tempts him into the trap, turns it away as Rohit charged one that dipped and spooned it high to mid-on off the bottom of the bat. FOW 80/1

10:32 AM GMT

OVER 12: IND 80/0 (Jaiswal 52 Rohit 24)

Fifty for Jaiswal when Hartley drags the ball down and he is in like Flynn to pull it hard for four and a 47-ball half-century. I hope they didn’t go for that review just to give heart to Hartley as they may well rue it later. No idea how Root could have thought he hit it unless he mistook the sound of bat on ground for willow on leather.

10:30 AM GMT


They’ve burned a second. The ball did grip and turn past Rohit’s outside edge but he didn’t hit it by a considerable margin.

10:29 AM GMT

ENG review

Rohit c Foakes b Hartley  That was all Root’s doing too.

10:27 AM GMT

OVER 11: IND 73/0 (Jaiswal 47 Rohit 23)

Rohit exerts the senior’s privilege and sends Jaiswal back when the left-hander wants a single to mid-off. Don’t make the caotain break sweat, young pup. He heeds the lesson and creams Leach through cover for four and also farms the strike with a single flicked in front of square leg.

10:24 AM GMT

OVER 10: IND 68/0 (Jaiswal 42 Rohit 23)

Hartley stays on and there is a glimmer of encouragement for him when he gets one to spit up and strike Rohit on the glove three balls after the India captain had slog swept him for four.

10:19 AM GMT

OVER 9: IND 63/0 (Jaiswal 41 Rohit 19)

Rohit exudes class with a back-foot drive off Leach for four and, two balls later, with the encore for two. He didn’t time the second of those so sweetly.

Glad Ben Stokes gave Tom Hartley another over after conceding 34 from his first three. Because there is nobody else in this England side who can keep it tight except Jack Leach. Make or break. No other options.

10:16 AM GMT

OVER 8: IND 56/0 (Jaiswal 40 Rohit 13)

Too much width from over the wicket and Jaiswal flashes a drive through cover for four. The next two drives are cut off by the infield and then the left-armer enjoys his best delivery, turning one in from outside off to hit the front pad … outside the line. Jaiswal cuts a shorter one and Wood hares after it to keep him down to one.

Rohit has faced only 11 of the 48 deliveries.

10:12 AM GMT

OVER 7: IND 51/0 (Jaiswal 35 Rohit 13)

Rohit brings up India’s fifty off 39 deliveries by pushing Leach down to long on for a single. Jaiswal alsot takes two singles to long on. What will Stokes do with Hartley now? He’s sticking with him.

10:09 AM GMT

OVER 6: IND 48/0 (Jaiswal 33 Rohit 12)

More tap for Hartley it pains me to report. No discernible signs of turn yet, nir of him using his height to drive the ball into the pitch. Jaiswal is taking him down with a venomous off drive for four and Rohit uses his slick wrists to whip another through midwicket.

10:05 AM GMT

OVER 5: IND 39/0 (Jaiswal 28 Rohit 8)

Having missed the last five Tests with a stress fracture of the back, Jack Leach is brought on for an early spell. Wood is not spared exercise, though, having to race round from long off to extra to dive and stop Rohit’s drive, saving one run as they sprint back for a third.

Jaiswal uses his feet but cannot beat cover and clubs the next ball to mid-on for a single.

10:00 AM GMT

OVER 4: IND 35/0 (Jaiswal 27 Rohit 5)

Hartley’s line with the new ball has been problematic so far. Drifting on to Rohit’s pads, Hartley has reason to be grateful to Crawley for chasing down a legside flick and keeping Rohit down to three from it. The Lancastrian drags the next ball down and Jaiswal carts it through square leg for four.

After exchanging singles with his captain, Jaiswal ends the over by walking down and smearing four through cover. Oh dear. Hartley starts with 2-0-25-0.  

A chastening start with the ball for Tom Hartley, who is hit for two sixes by Jaiswal in his first over. He’s the first England spinner to open the bowling on debut since 1921. Massive test of his character.

09:55 AM GMT

OVER 3: IND 22/0 (Jaiswal 18 Rohit 1)

Rohit flicks his first ball from Wood to deep backward square and Foakes, gathering the throw, collides with the stumps, knocking all three out of the ground. Zak Crawley bursts into laughter.  After burning a review, Root and Wood advocating for it and Foakes not so sure, Wood keeps pelting in. Jaiswal shoulders arms then pulls his head out of the way of a bouncer which, to England’s surprise, is called wide. Wood tries another bouncer and this one, too, trampolines over the batsman’s head and the square leg umpire spreads his arms again.

09:51 AM GMT


He didn’t hit it.

09:51 AM GMT

England review

Jaiswal c Foakes b Wood  England think they’ve strangled him off the gloves. Looks like a gap to me.

09:48 AM GMT

OVER 2: IND 19/0 (Jaiswal 18 Rohit 0)

Hartley hit a six in his debut Test innings and is struck for one off his first ball of the series. Jaiswal slog sweeps him into the stands at deep midwicket. ‘Jaisball not Bax ball’ quips Murali Karthik. After a couple of dot balls, Hartley turns one in to beat the left-hander’s inside edge and hit him, alas too high, on the pads but then has to crane his neck to watch another slog sweep arc into the crowd at midwicket.

09:44 AM GMT

OVER 1: IND 7/0 (Jaiswal 7 Rohit 0)

Wood starts inauspiciously by straying on to Jaiswal’s pads and the left-hander clips it away over square leg for four. Leach saves two at fine leg with a good dive when Jaiswal flicks the next ball off his thigh pad round the corner. In comes a leg slip as Wood continues to target a strangle. Jaiswal plays and misses at a couple swinging into his pads then picks his bat above the first corridor ball of the over. Wood pins the left-hander with another big inswinger but it was hooping down leg and Paul Reiffel shakes his head. Serious wheels from Wood.

Tom Hartley will share the new ball.

09:39 AM GMT

England’s sole pace man has the new ball

Mark Wood is at the end of his run.

09:37 AM GMT

Our experts’ verdicts

We will see, but it feels as though England have made a mistake with their bowling line up, picking only one seamer. There is something for seamers who bowl off cutters (Anderson and Robinson) as well as pace and a bit of bounce. It is turning but it is not outrageous and Bumrah showed the value of a balanced attack.

England didn’t pass 205 in their last 7 innings in India in 2021. So will be fairly content with 246 all out, especially given how the tail wagged from 155-7.

09:33 AM GMT

ENG 246 all out

Starts for Duckett, Crawley and Root but they failed to kick on. Bairstow batted beautifully until beaten by a peach, some lusty hitting from Hartley and Wood helped England above 200 and the captain has given them a shred of hope.

Hard to say whether it will be remotely enough untoil we’ve seen India bat for 20 overs or so. The team is packed with all-rounders, batting strongly all the way to nine. But the top-order without Kohli may be more vulnerable than it has been for a while.

09:28 AM GMT


Stokes b Bumrah 70  Valiant effort from the captain but he was beaten by an absolute jaffa that pitched on leg and jagged across to knock back middle and off-stumps. He was trying to hit it over cover and had backed away but was beaten by the movement and pace of a truly magnificent bowler.  FOW 246 all out

09:27 AM GMT

OVER 64: ENG 242/9 (Stokes 66 Leach 0)

Stokes is struck on the pad and survives a big appeal as it clearly hit him outside the line. Stokes slogs the next ball for six and almost loses his feet as he stretched to fetch it and, after losing his balance again but keeping his foot down to deny the stumping, milks a single off the last ball.

09:24 AM GMT


His toe never left the crease even though he almost fell over when duped by big turning carrom ball.

09:23 AM GMT

Umpire’s review

Stokes st Bharat b Ashwin  Think he got back.

09:20 AM GMT

OVER 63: ENG 235/9 (Stokes 59 Leach 0)

Bumrah replaces Jadeja who has 18-4-88-3. Stokes chisels out the yorker, leaves a channel ball then defends a lifter off the back foot over off-stump. The field is, in Keith Miller’s immortal phrase, scattered.

Bumrah beats Stokes with the off-spinner who smiles at the great bowler and he smiles again when he manages to pinch the strike off the last ball by patting the low full toss to cover.

Look at the economy rates of India’s world famous spinners in Tests at home…. No, don’t look while Ben Stokes is batting. But the point is that collectively they have conceded far more runs per over than normal today, in paying for their wickets.

09:16 AM GMT

OVER 62: ENG 234/9 (Stokes 58 Leach 0)

Stokes reverse sweeps for a single, Wood survives a shout then falls next ball. Enter Jack Leach with his new guns. He has always been able to bat. Can he smack it after hitting the weights? We will have to wait as he defends three balls, playing for his captain.

09:12 AM GMT


Wood b Ashwin 11 The ball after burning their last review, Ashwin clean bowls Wood who was trying to mow the ball to cow corner, down on one knee to slo sweep.  FOW 234/9 

09:12 AM GMT


Pitched putside leg.

09:11 AM GMT

India review

Wood lbw b Ashwin  Two sounds? He was reverse sweeping but I think it was pad then glove but where did it pitch from round the wicket?

09:09 AM GMT

OVER 61: ENG 233/8 (Stokes 57 Wood 11)

Fifty for Stokes and brought up in style with a skip down and a towering lofted drive over long on for six Jadeja drags the next one down and Jadeja pirouettes and pulls it for another Dorothy!

Stokes turns down a single when his next pull, this one one-handed as he swung too hard, goes to the cover sweeper on one bounce but he takes one off the fifth ball with a back-foot slash.

09:06 AM GMT

OVER 60: ENG 220/8 (Stokes 44 Wood 11)

Ashwin resumes and would have bagged Stokes first ball had his keeper sprung up earlier. Instead the ball cannoned off his fingertips. The ball flew off the edge but he tipped it round the post and Stokes jogged a single. Wood denies his instinct for four dot balls but then drops to one knee to thrash a cover drive for four.

09:03 AM GMT

An antidote to consensus

08:48 AM GMT

Tea verdict

If the morning was so-so, the Test swung India’s way in the afternoon, even though Ben Stokes is manning the tail so gamely. It was 108 for three in the first session, and five for 107 in the second. India will be pleased.

The loss of Jonny Bairstow, to an Axar Patel beauty, having looked so solid, was a blow, but Joe Root shuffling off shortly after hurt that much more. The sweep is the bedrock of his run-scoring in Asia, but Ravi Jadeja has found bounce that made it dangerous. Do not be surprised if he’s far more careful second time round, but Root looked like a man who could have done with a warm-up match.

From there, it was damage limitation for England. Ben Foakes looked worryingly unable to rotate the strike, although Rehan Ahmed and Tom Hartley certainly played with some character. Ahmed was caught behind off a brilliant Jasprit Bumrah cutter – the only wicket to fall to seam in this game? – and Hartley made an impression on debut.

His agricultural smear for four to get off the mark in Test cricket will be remembered, as will the six he took off the same bowler. Not many would have predicted he would hit the first six of the series.

Now, it all rests on Stokes, who played himself in carefully before picking off boundaries. The best news is that his knee appears to be causing him no grief.

08:44 AM GMT

TEA: ENG 215/8

Five wickets for India in a session that was theirs in almost every facet. But Stokes always brings hope and there seems to be some consensus in the commentary box that this isn’t a disastrous score on this pitch.

08:43 AM GMT

OVER 59: ENG 215/8 (Stokes 43 Wood 7)

Wood plays out the maiden and heads off for tea. It wasn’t a traditional ‘play for tea’ from Wood, as he was scampering all over his crease, looking for any gaps but Stokes wasn’t interested in a single and in they go.

08:41 AM GMT

OVER 58: ENG 215/8 (Stokes 43 Wood 7)

Wood gives himself some room and flays the ball cross-batted through cover for four. Stokes sends Wood back after he jogs down following a legside flick but calls him through when he picks the carrom and chops it through point for a single.

Jadeja has three wickets but has gone for 75 off 16 overs. Ashwin two but has gone for 55 off 18. At least, unlike 2021, they are not waiting inertly for their fate.

One more over before tea unless a wicket falls.

08:37 AM GMT

OVER 57: ENG 210/8 (Stokes 43 Wood 2)

After surviving the DRS for leg-before, Stokes skips down to Jadeja and thumps four through mid-off. Next ball, he swivels into a pull to one that wasn’t short enough and spoons it off the toe for four more. Stokes steps back to pat a single to square leg, Wood squeezes a drive past point for another and Stokes ends the over with a blistering switch-hit over point for a third boundary off the over.

Classic Stokes. It took him 53 balls to hit his first four, then four boundaries from his next ten. He is picking the gaps, fashioning the angles and rotating the singles. One good sign: he has not pulled up with his knee, which often used to happen when he was swivelling on his feet at the crease.

08:34 AM GMT


There was an under-edge.

08:32 AM GMT

India review

Stokes either caught behind or lbw b Jadeja. Both up for grabs. No, sorry. The catch wasn’t completed. LBW only.

08:31 AM GMT

OVER 56: ENG 196/8 (Stokes 30 Wood 1)

Stokes trusts Wood and takes a single off Ashwin’s first ball to leave his Durham mucker on strike. Wood keeps out the carrom ball with a grin then saddles up his pony and walks down to swipe a drive to long on for a single. After a long delay to stop some prats pratting about above the sightscreen, Stokes strokes a single through cover.

08:26 AM GMT


Hartley b Jadeja 23  Plenty of flight, dip, rip and grip. Bowls him through the gate as he tried to drive. Another fine delivery. FOW 193/8

08:26 AM GMT

OVER 55: ENG 193/8 (Stokes 28)

Stokes follows Hartley’s lead by reverse sweeping Jadeja’s first ball for four then works a single into the on-side. Hartley tucks into a drag down and collars it on the pull for two and they milk a couple of singles before Hartley chances his arm once too often …

08:23 AM GMT

OVER 54: ENG 184/7 (Stokes 22 Hartley 20)

Hartley fits right into the prevailing ethos, climibing into Ashwin and slog sweeping him for the first six of the innings two balls after he whipped two past the square leg umpire.  The six came off the outside edge of the toe but he gave it enough humpty to launch it into the crowd.

08:21 AM GMT

OVER 53: ENG 174/7 (Stokes 21 Hartley 11)

That’s the end of pace. Jadeja replaces Bumrah and Hartley greets him by tickling a boundary fine past the keeper. He frees his arms to cart the left-armer for a single through mid-on. After 53 balls Stokes breaches the rope for the first time with a thunderous reverse sweep for four.

08:16 AM GMT

OVER 52: ENG 165/7 (Stokes 17 Hartley 6)

Ashwin wants the finger to go up when Hartley reverse sweeps and seemingly misses. The ball runs up his pad and is deflected to short leg but there was no bat or glove. The left-hander latches on to a short one and pulls it off the cue end to long on for a single. Looked premeditated and hence badly timed.

08:13 AM GMT

OVER 51: ENG 164/7 (Stokes 17 Hartley 5)

Hartley is going to play his shots and could have had a second four but for a veteran’s dive from Ashwin at mid-off. He went down in instalments but still got there. Jadeja hares around the rope to stop Stokes smearing Bumrah to the cover boundary and saves two.

08:09 AM GMT

OVER 50: ENG 160/7 (Stokes 14 Hartley 4)

Stokes’ policy is to drop anchor and let his partner have a slog. After working Ashwin for a single through square leg, Stokes watches Hartley swipe an off-break over mid-on for four. A proper T20 slog.

Bumrah celebrates his wicket

Bumrah’s slower ball is too good for Rehan – REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

08:04 AM GMT

OVER 49: ENG 155/7 (Stokes 13 Hartley 0)

Stokes has built the kind of platform (13 off 43) from which his greatest innings have sprouted but he is in danger of running out of partners now. Wonderful bowling from Bumrah to crash the spinners’ party. In comes the debutant Hartley, a tall left-hander who plays and misses at two of his first three but survives the over.

08:01 AM GMT


Rehan c Bharat b Bumrah 13  Spurious clean-catch check. It went straight into the gloves at ankle height. Rehan was beaten by the slower ball and inside edged it as it jagged back.  FOW 155/7

It was easy to wonder if we would see an Indian seamer again in this game after the spinners took the first six wickets. But that is stunning from Jasprit Bumrah, a beautiful off-cutter.

07:59 AM GMT

Umpire review

Rehan c Bharat b Bumrah 13  Clean catch check.

07:57 AM GMT

OVER 48: ENG 154/6 (Stokes 12 Rehan 13)

Rehan is batting by the seat of his pants here. First off he is pinned by a big off-break that did too much, then clears mid-on with a lofted drive for four that may not have beaten Iyer had he not trimmed his finger nails. Rehan, undaunted, essays a huge slog and thick-edges it into his pad off the toe.

England’s drinks waiters are the newly-blond Ollie Robinson and the uncapped Gus Atkinson. Good to see Jimmy Anderson putting them in their place. 41 is no age to be carrying drinks.

07:53 AM GMT

OVER 47: ENG 150/6 (Stokes 12 Rehan 9)

Bringing the paceman back excites the crowd and the volume goes up five notches. There’s something of the Billy Goat Gruff about his run-up, always has been, that brings the phrase ‘trip-trapping’ to mind.

Rehan hits a ‘five’ in unconventional fashiom, whipping two off his legs and tripling the score with three buzzers. The throw flew for four but because the batsmen hadn’t crossed when trying to complete the second by the time the ball was hurled in, it counts only as one plus four overthrows.

07:49 AM GMT

OVER 46: ENG 144/6 (Stokes 11 Rehan 4)

India are bang on with the overs, 45 completed at the halfway point. Ashwin resumes after the gargle gaggle and Rehan uses the shorter length to crack a single through cover. Stokes ends another Ashwin over, rattled through, with a single driven to cover.

Rohit throws the ball to Bumrah. Hmm. Would have thought he would have stuck with Axar for a couple more overs.

07:43 AM GMT

Watch: The Bairstow and Root dismissals

07:42 AM GMT

OVER 45: ENG 142/6 (Stokes 10 Rehan 3)

Stokes fiddles a single off his pads and then Rohit gives Axar two slips and a silly point for Rehan who picks the arm-ball and shuffles back to cuff a single through midwicket.

On comes the drinks, England’s brought on by Ollie Robinson and Gus Atkinson.

07:40 AM GMT

OVER 44: ENG 140/6 (Stokes 9 Rehan 2)

Rehan’s hands look too hard to survive for long against this spin attack. Hope that’s just nerves. He gets off the mark with a push through point for two.

07:38 AM GMT

OVER 43: ENG 137/6 (Stokes 8 Rehan 0)

As Tim said, it was a real test for Foakes but he got stuck against a high quality attack and allowed the pressure to build until he cracked and jabbed at one he could have left.

Crowd reached 21,000 at lunch, which is a good turnout on a weekday for a Test in Asia. They have bussed in a lot of school kids but no problem with that; they create a good atmosphere and the first session should help the next generation like Test cricket. A lot of complaints from England fans over heavy handed stewarding, confiscating everything but wallets and phones. This happened at the World Cup and is so unnecessary.

07:34 AM GMT


Foakes c Bharat b Patel 4  Couldn’t break the stranglehold and allowed his hands to jab at an orthodox delivery that pitched on off and turned away, almost guiding it into the keeper’s gloves.  FOW 137/6

07:33 AM GMT

OVER 42: ENG 137/5 (Stokes 8 Foakes 4)

Good over from Ashwin and he ends it with a big appeal when he slides one past Stokes’ inside edge and into his pad. But it was missing leg.

A big test for Ben Foakes. He’s renowned as a good player of spin, as he showed in scoring a century on debut in Sri Lanka in 2018, when he was named player of the series. But he struggled in India in 2021, when playing three Tests on sharply turning wickets. Bazball or no Bazball, Foakes needs to do what works for him.

07:30 AM GMT

OVER 41: ENG 135/5 (Stokes 7 Foakes 3)

Foakes misjudges Axar’s arm ball but takes a streaky single off the inside edge while driving. Stokes sweeps powerfully and flat for a single and Foakes has to scramble back when he drives forcefully into the pitch and the ball jumps up and strokes silly point flush in the goolies. No pink Litesome for him, he must have a sturdier box as he barely bats an eyelid and pounces on the rebound to shy at the stumps. Foakes was home, though.

07:27 AM GMT

OVER 40: ENG 133/5 (Stokes 6 Foakes 2)

Ashwin, who has dismissed Stokes 11 times in previous encounters, is brought back as Rohit tries another turn of the vice. England’s captain defends with a full face, nose above the maker’s name, but rocks back to the quicker one, hoping to flay it through cover but can only smack it into the pitch, allowing Ashwin to resume with a maiden.

07:23 AM GMT

OVER 39: ENG 133/5 (Stokes 6 Foakes 2)

Foakes thick edges a drive off Axar Patel for a single wide of slip. Stokes looks amazingly lean since the World Cup and shows his knee is in better nick by getting down to reverse sweep hard for a single.

07:20 AM GMT

OVER 38: ENG 131/5 (Stokes 5 Foakes 1)

Jadeja triggers the siren by overstepping and Stokes doubles the return with a flick behind square for a single. Foakes takes another single, pushing to cover to get off the mark, helped by a fumble. Jadeja drags one down and Stokes swivels to pull, eyes like saucers, but can’t connect.

07:18 AM GMT

The sage’s verdict

England dismissals: Ben Duckett couldn’t do anything about it as it was an off break that didn’t turn. Jonny Bairstow couldn’t do anything about it because it was a perfect peach that turned. Zak Crawley tentative: next time he goes down the pitch then fully commit or block. Ollie Pope: hope that Harry Brook can come back soon. Joe Root: that extra bit of bounce in this pitch was his undoing because it took the top edge.

07:16 AM GMT

OVER 37: ENG 128/5 (Stokes 4 Foakes 0)

All is not lost. The ship is listing but not sunk. Who knows what a respectable score is? It could be as low as 250 but Stokes will be key to getting anywhere close.

Stokes crouches deep to work a two off his pads then whips another single round the corner.

07:14 AM GMT

OVER 36: ENG 125/5 (Stokes 1 Foakes 0)

Excellent from Rohit who cut off Root’s run-rtating shot with a short backward point, forcing him to try a different escape route from the smothering … and holing out. It’s a shot laced with risk against Jadeja. All it has to do is bounce 2cm more than you expected and you’re fried.

07:11 AM GMT


Root c Bumrah b Jadeja 29  Sweeping, he tope dges it high to short fine leg. Oh dear. Sweeping off length.  FOW 125/5

07:10 AM GMT

OVER 35: ENG 125/4 (Root 29 Stokes 1)

The left-armers are rattling through the overs now and Stokes and Root exchange singles as they try to rebuild again.

07:09 AM GMT

OVER 34: ENG 123/4 (Root 28 Stokes 0)

A puff of dust as a ball from Jadeja rags past Root’s edge as he plays back. One of five dot balls in a testing over. Root whisks a stroke through midwicket and Stokes runs smoothly back for the second run.

07:03 AM GMT

OVER 33: ENG 121/4 (Root 26 Stokes 0)

Bairstow is quick but even he shouldn’t be taking Jadeja’s arm on. He dives to make his ground at the striker’s after Root’s Harrow drive and only a wicket bounce stops the ball arriving into Bharat’s gloves. Having taken a moment to brush himself down, Bairstow is duped by an Axar jaffa and has to depart. Enter Ben Stokes who starts with two solid defensives.

07:00 AM GMT


Bairstow b Patel 37  Blimey. A peach. Drifted in to middle then ragged to clip the outside of off stump.  FOW 121/4

Beautiful stuff from Axar. What a ball. The turn did for Bairstow, but so did the pace. Bairstow played nicely, but another rebuild required for England.

06:58 AM GMT

OVER 32: ENG 118/3 (Root 23 Bairstow 37)

Maiden for Jadeja at Bairstow, using his quicker ball, darting it in to give the batsman no room to work with on the offside.

06:56 AM GMT

OVER 31: ENG 118/3 (Root 23 Bairstow 37)

After conceding single off each of the first two balls, Axar tightens his line and Root twice tries to sweep and can’t get the ball away. The first is jammed into the pitch off the bottom edge, the second is missed entirely as it bounces over the bat. Variable bounce already. Rohit has brought single-saving fielders in at short cover piint, cover and midwicket.

Andy Brown, a British artist, paints the cricket field during the play of first day of the first Test cricket match between India and England

Andy Brown paints the scene – NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images

06:51 AM GMT

OVER 30: ENG 116/3 (Root 22 Bairstow 36)

Rare are the times you would say Bairstow has calmed a situation down but he has today. Coming in a t a very dangerous time he has played with genuine authority. England are burgling singles at will now, milking four off Jadeja’s over. Astute batting from the Tykes. Rohit should change his field. There are easy singles on both sides of the wicket.

Isn’t it wonderful, this game within the game of cat-and-mouse that Joel Root and Jonny Bairstow are playing? When they came into the England side more than a decade ago, they were the best pair that England have ever had in running between wickets, and so far they are doing it again, taking the singles which India are allowing.

06:48 AM GMT

OVER 29: ENG 112/3 (Root 20 Bairstow 34)

Good morning to the latecomers … Axar Patel continues after lunch. Both batsmen continue to bat in helmets which, I believe, is mandatory for England players despite the number of overs bowled by spinners. Root starts with a whisk through square leg for a single, Bairstow clips two singles through point, one off the back foot, one off the front, and Root waits for a well-flighted one to land and pushes it confidently through cover for another single. The first of Bairstow’s singles brought up the half-century partnership.

06:36 AM GMT

Nick Hoult’s lunchtime verdict

What a first session of this series. It was eyespinning, all action Test cricket as the Bazballers crashed headlong into India’s spinners on a ragging pitch.

After a blistering start against the new ball England lost three wickets for five runs as Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja turned the ball square, but Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root restored parity with a vital 48 run stand up to lunch.

Starting is hard in India, especially when you play England’s way, and knocking Jadeja and Aswhin off their lengths on home pitches is a tall order few have succeeded pulling off.

It was engrossing stuff as England lived up to billing and gave it a go after years of surrendering on these surfaces. India gifted England almost a fifty run head start with the new ball, turning to spin for the ninth over, a little late perhaps.

Suddenly it all changed. Duckett was lbw to Ashwin for the fourth time in four innings, Ollie Pope looked every inch a batsman who had not faced a ball since the Lord’s Test in June and and could have been out numerous times in his ten ball innings before he was caught low down at slip prodding at Jadeja with hard hands. Perhaps a warm up would have helped? England suddenly missed Harry Brook.

Root on two survived a very close lbw call with Ultra Edge probably confused by the scrape of his spikes on the dry pitch, but Crawley, who had played well for 20 off 40 balls, drilled Ashwin to mid-off, a long TV replay confirming the catch had carried.

Bairstow and Root, the experienced core, settled down using their feet and the crease to give themselves a chance but remained positive. Bairstow cut Jadeja twice for four in his first over against the left-armer and batted nicely on his return as a specialist in the middle order.  Much rides on these and next man Ben Stokes after lunch.

06:34 AM GMT

Nick and Will’s verdict from Hyderabad

06:09 AM GMT

LUNCH: ENG 108/3 (Root 18 Bairstow 32)

After a decent start, those three quick wickets seemed to herald a collapse. And they might still yet. But Bairstow and Root have batted sensibly and skilfully to take England to lunch three down. The over-rate is refreshingly good, England are busy and ambitious. It’s been a fine session, the only downside, Pope’s worrying skittishness and Crawley rather chucking it away.

06:05 AM GMT

OVER 28: ENG 108/3 (Root 18 Bairstow 32)

The alliance of York and Sheffield takes England to lunch three down when a collapse seemed possible, sharing 48* for the fourth-wicket stand. Bairstow chops Jadeja for four between slip and sthird man and then pushes two through cover. Jadeja almost has the last laugh with a loopy beauty that pitches on off and middle and rips past Bairstow’s edge but he makes safe harbour with a judicious leave.

The Yorkies have just provided a period of calm going into lunch, and it’s been a decent partnership so far. Bairstow’s cutting has been delightful, while Root has played like a man who knows how important his wicket is. Cracking session.

06:02 AM GMT

OVER 27: ENG 102/3 (Root 16 Bairstow 26)

Root knocks one uppishly round the corner off Patel for a single. The left-armer has a silly point but not a short leg for the right-handers. Bairstow late cuts for another single. I wouldn’t wish to curse Bairstow but I will try to sidestep that by saying the commentators are full of praise for the way YJB is batting this morning.

06:00 AM GMT

OVER 26: ENG 99/3 (Root 16 Bairstow 25)

Jadeja, who has seemed to turn the ball more sharply than his twin triplet siblings, replaces Ashwin and he rags the first ball past Root’s edge by 10cm or more. Root brings up the hundred with a clip through point. How many more overs before lunch? One, two?

05:58 AM GMT

OVER 25: ENG 99/3 (Root 16 Bairstow 25)

Another fabulous late cut from Bairstow, slicing rather than chopping the ball from Axar Patel past slip for four. It’s almost as if he just dropped his right wrist 2cm, nothing more.

05:56 AM GMT

Here’s that Root reprieve

It’s perfectly feasible that he didn’t hit it but I can’t see how an umpire would overrule his colleague standing at the striker’s end with something as inconclusive as this. Incidentally we never saw ball-tracking either so can’t tell if it would definitely have hit the stumps, though it looks as though it would have.

Root and DRS

Root is judged to have hit the ball by the TV umpire and escapes an lbw shout – TNT Sports

05:52 AM GMT

OVER 24: ENG 95/3 (Root 16 Bairstow 21)

Ashwin comes round the wicket to Bairstow who opens his stance to clip a single down to mid-on. Root began the over with a single off Ashwin and ends it busily trying but failing to pierce the infield.

05:49 AM GMT

OVER 23: ENG 93/3 (Root 15 Bairstow 20)

Big turn from Axar, fizzing one past Root’s outside edge as he pushed forward defensively. Axar is trying to keep Root on the front foot and succeeds, tying him up for four dot balls until Root spears a single through cover.

05:47 AM GMT

OVER 22: ENG 92/3 (Root 14 Bairstow 20)

Different ball but another full toss slips out of Ashwin’s hand and Bairstow exacts extreme punishment, lamping it through mid-off for four. Earlier he had rocked on to the back foot to chop a single past slip and Root used his wrists to whip a single through midwicket.

05:45 AM GMT

OVER 21: ENG 86/3 (Root 13 Bairstow 15)

Axar Patel, England’s nemesis in the winter of 2020-21, comes on to have the first bowl with the replacement ball. He, you may remember from your nightmares, is a tall, left-arm spinner. Root plays a very risky sweep off middle and leg, cuffing it for four. But when even Kevin Pietersen thinks it’s rash to sweep Axar so early …

Root uses a big stride to lace two through point, moving closer to 1,000 Test runs in India with only Alastair Cook’s 1235 ahead of him.

05:39 AM GMT

OVER 20: ENG 80/3 (Root 7 Bairstow 15)

There’s some suggestion that Root didn’t actually hit the ball when India reviewed, the spikes on Ultra-Edge resembling foothills rather than peaks. But any spike when given not out is going to go the batsman’s way, I would think. Hard to tell either way and right that the batsman should be given the benefit of doubt given the umpire’s initial call.

Ashwin screams in exasperation when a full toss slips out and Root smacks it down to midwicket for two and, at the end of the over, Ashwin asks the umpires to look at the ball. Out come Paul Reiffel’s rings and the ball fails the test. A replacement is summoned.

R Aswhin

Ashwin moves closer to 500 Test wickets – AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.

05:34 AM GMT

OVER 19: ENG 76/3 (Root 4 Bairstow 14)

A relatively fraught-free over as Root, as nimble on his feet as ever, probes the infield until he gets off strike with a wristy press through cover. Bairstow farms the strike off the last ball with a clump to the cover boundary rider off Jadeja.

YJB is already sweating cobs and calls for a towel.

05:31 AM GMT

OVER 18: ENG 74/3 (Root 3 Bairstow 13)

Thrills and pills and bellyaches as Ashwin, who starts the over with two for six, is taken for two singles as England fly by the seat of their pants. Bairstow works a single thorough midwicket, Root, who looks shaky on the sweep, top-edges for another. Bairstow almost trips himself up outside off but keeps his back foot down when Bharat demolishes the stumps.

It’s turned into a match best watched through a mask of fingers for England supporters.

05:28 AM GMT

OVER 17: ENG 72/3 (Root 2 Bairstow 12)

Sensational batting from Bairstow, using his feet to hammer a cut for four off Jadeja and follows it with a late cut off off stump that would have made Ian Bell proud, chopping it delicately fine for four more. The last ball draws him forward and Bairstow thumps it through cover for three, Gill dragging it back from the rope.

05:22 AM GMT

OVER 16: ENG 61/3 (Root 2 Bairstow 1)

The game turned upside-down. Strange shot by Crawley. I’m presuming it dipped much more quickly than he thought. Enter Bairstow, who seems to have lost about 8kgs … as well as his bat sponsor. Nothing new there for Jinny, he seems to have a different bat deal every other year.

Bairstow gets off the mark with a push down to long-on.

This is now breathless stuff, except for in the long breaks for a review. The top three gone, the spinners running amok. England have a very experienced middle order and they need them to do a job now.

05:16 AM GMT


Crawley c Siraj b Ashwin 20  Managed to shovel his fingers under the ball at mid-off to cling on to Crawley’s chipped drive.  FOW 60/3

05:14 AM GMT

Umpire review

For a clean catch at mid-off.

05:14 AM GMT

OVER 15: ENG 60/2 (Crawley 20 Root 2)

England are on trail against a ragging ball.

Biggest lesson of first hour: it is a result wicket. What is unusual is that the pitch is turning AND bouncing. Most Indian Test pitches turn like this one, at some time in the game, but not kick like this one.

05:12 AM GMT

Not out

It rolled up the face of the bat. India lose a review.

05:09 AM GMT

India review

Root lbw b Jadeja  Pinnd when sweeping but did he hit it? A feather off the gloves?

Long, long delay for the replay.

05:06 AM GMT


Pope c Rohit b Jadeja 1  He hs exuded impermanence with every stroke on his return after injury and is done straight after the drinks break by pushing forward with hard hands and nicking low to first slip’s right. He waits for conformation that it carried but it patently did.  FOW 58/2

05:05 AM GMT

Ashwin’s bunny?

That is four out of five times Ashwin has dismissed Duckett who is at least magnanimous about it when asked. “He’s so good,” he says. It’s an attitude that gives him a chance to cope over the next few weeks. Duckett can feel a little unlucky. The ball was turning so much, ball tracking had it just clipping to the top of leg. Rohit had spread the fields for England, taking a step back with his two champion spinners on, protecting them sweepers on both sides on a ragger. Odd.

05:03 AM GMT

OVER 14: ENG 56/1 (Crawley 20 Pope 1)

Crawley survives a scare when beaten by bounce and fending Ashwin just out of short leg’s reach. Pope, noticeably nervous, is struck in the midriff when sweeping but then gets off the mark with a more confident push into the gap at mid-on. Crawley collars a reverse sweep but cannot beat the fielder.

Time or drinks.

05:01 AM GMT

OVER 13: ENG 56/1 (Crawley 19 Pope 0)

Oh dear. Pope looks like a cat on a hot tin roof in his first Test since Lord’s, too busy in his movements. Jadeja finds a leading edge that flies over silly point but short of cover and then draws him into an inelegant prod. The game has changed in an instant.

04:58 AM GMT

OVER 12: ENG 55/1 (Crawley 18 Pope 0)

Ashwin moves to within nine of 500 Test wickets but, if England continue in this vein, Duckett set the tempo in his usual fashion.

04:56 AM GMT


Duckett lbw b Ashwin 35  Umpire’s call. Duckett played for spin but it was the skiddy arm ball. It wasa  perfectly reasonable use of DRS as the ball hit him in front of middle and leg from round the wicket and would have only kissed the leg bail, according to ball-tracking.  FOW 55/1

04:53 AM GMT

England review

Duckett lbw b Ashwin

04:52 AM GMT

OVER 11: ENG 53/0 (Crawley 17 Duckett 34)

Duckett pops a single round the corner that would have been catchable by a backward short leg instead of a forward one. Or as well as a forward one. Crawley uses an error in line, Jadeja bowling too straight, to claw a drive wide of mid-on. Duckett, England’s Mr 360, tucks in for successive fours, the first of them an impish sweep-ramp over his shoulder, the second a thumping sweep that races to the boundary and takes England past 50.

04:46 AM GMT

OVER 10: ENG 42/0 (Crawley 16 Duckett 24)

Turn, too, for Ashwin who has a curious field with a deep point out for Duckett’s reverse sweep. That man saves three when Duckett hammers a reverse for a single but, as KP says, he should be encouraging him to play that shot not warning him against it. Perhaps it’s a pride thing.

It’s all so novel, this style of England’s Test batting, yet it is all so traditional too. Since the dawn of Test cricket in India, the key has been for the visiting opening batsmen to get set before the spinners come on.

Just as well that England are batting first. Jimmy Anderson would have been fuming at missing out on a pitch starting with decent carry, if England had bowled first.

04:43 AM GMT

OVER 9: ENG 41/0 (Crawley 16 Duckett 23)

Ominous signs of significant turn from Jadeja who starts with a miden and beats Crawley three times with orthodox left-arm off-breaks that fizz away.

Now then. It’s time for spin, and it almost feels like England have a 41-run headstart. Curious from the seamers. They got plenty of plays and misses, especially from Duckett, but also a lot of boundaries.

04:41 AM GMT

OVER 8: ENG 41/0 (Crawley 16 Duckett 23)

We’ve had Harsha Bhogle, Sunil Gavaskar and Eoin Morgan. It’s the changing of the guard on the half-hour and in come Kevin Pietersen, Dinesh Karthik and Ravi Shastri.

Rohit sticks with pace and Crawley uses Siraj’s angle from wide on the crease to fiddle it round the corner for a single. Duckett tries to cut a shorter one but is diddled by the movement back in and can’t get it off the square from higher on the bat than he was expecting.

But one moment of mistiming does not discourage him and he will welcome the sight of Rohit Sharma double tea-potting (sugar bowling?) after the left-hander squeezes a drive behind point for four then harpoons another off a half-volley through extra for his fifth of the innings.

Rohit has seen enough and calls up Jadeja.

04:35 AM GMT

OVER 7: ENG 32/0 (Crawley 15 Duckett 15)

Bumrah applies the brakes, getting one to rear up and hit Crawley’s splice and, after a leg bye off Crawley’s thighpad from the inducker, beats Duckett from round the wicket with one that angles in and tails past the edge as the left-hander prods forward.

04:32 AM GMT

OVER 6: ENG 31/0 (Crawley 15 Duckett 15)

Duckett holds his nerve despite being beaten by a hat-trick of deliveries that beat the outside edge, all moving away off the seam rather than through the air but, after being beaten by a fourth that sounded the no-ball siren, cashes in off the extra ball when Siraj overpitches and he nails a drive through cover for four.

Ben Duckett drives

Ben Duckett starts in his usual fashion – Stu Forster/Getty Images

04:25 AM GMT

OVER 5: ENG 26/0 (Crawley 15 Duckett 11)

Bumrah comes round the wicket to the left-handed Duckett. Jadeja, still the gun fielder, pulls off a fine, diving stop at backward point to save a a certain four and after some diligent defence from Duckett he is beaten on the inside edge by one that nibbles back in and gates him as he tries to drive but whistles past off stump.

There is a very decent crowd in here, and it’s growing. The word yesterday was that Hyderabadi officials were expecting the absence of Virat Kohli to reduce the crowd by 20% and while it is far from full, it is already very loud.

04:20 AM GMT

OVER 4: ENG 25/0 (Crawley 15 Duckett 10)

Sunil Gavaskar is ragging Sir Geoffrey Boycott, contrasting his approach with the Bazballers – ‘giving the first five hours to the bowlers’ rather than the first five minutes.

Crawley uses the shape of Siraj’s inswinger to whisk two off his pads and, when given one in the slot, opens the face to smear it through point with a lovely square drive for four.

No deep point for India. Pat Cummins stood back at Edgbaston with defensive fields to counter Bazball. Rohit has kept three slips and invited the drives from England. Of course, they have taken the bait with five fours in four overs. England going at 6.25 an over. Spin soon I suspect.

04:17 AM GMT

OVER 3: ENG 19/0 (Crawley 9 Duckett 10)

No one can relax while Ben Duckett is batting. He hasn’t changed in the six months since the last Test and takes Bumrah on with a lofted cover drive for two to get going then, after defending a couple and chiselling out the yorker, lamps a wider one behind point for four, his bat a blur as it swings through the line. He follows that with a gorgeous drive between extra and mid-off, timing the pants off it so that the bat barely has to break the perpendicular.

04:11 AM GMT

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

From the ridiculous from Siraj – a pair of half-volleys that Crawley works away for a pair of fours through midwicket and then a creamy, dreamy on-drive – to the sublime, an outswinger that squares him up and has him groping outside off-stump. Another jaffa to end the over but this time Crawley doesn’t follow the one that straightened and the ball fizzes through to the keeper.

England arm in arm at the anthem with Crawley and Duckett, preparing to face the first over, standing next to each other, as is now customary. On the other side of Duckett was the willowy Tom Hartley, replacing Stuart Broad as the beanpole.

04:06 AM GMT

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

Crawley leaves the first ball which is on a good length and zips through, shaping away. As is the second ball. TNT has indeed opted for the world feed so we’ll get plenty of Gavaskar all winter. Oh, joy!

Crawley uses his bat to defend the third, drilling it to cover and, after shouldering arms again, whips the fifth ball that jags in off middle and leg behind square for a single.

Duckett is tempted by Bumrah with one that is angled across the left-hander and tries to throw everything but the kitchen sink at it and could easily have nicked off. Plenty of movement for Bumrah.

04:00 AM GMT

Out come the players

After the anthem. The ground looks about a 20th full, if that, but the school children are making a pleasing racket.

Crawley to face Jasprit, three slips and a gully.

04:00 AM GMT

The captains speak

Ben Stokes

Not sure what you’re going to get. We know the challenge India presents. This is an opportunity to do something special. Tom Hartley debuts, Rehan Ahmed plays his second Test and Jack Leach leads our spin department. We’ve got full confidence in them. Woody is that X-factor bowler.

Rohit Sharma

We would’ve batted first as well. It looks dry. We have played in these conditions a fair amount but to understand what we need to do. We have got the skills, got guys who can do the job. It will be challenging, we’re up for it. Had a few days to prepare, played in these conditions before, know what to expect. Axar is the third spinner. Tough on Kuldeep, spoke a lot about it, but Axar has done well whenever he’s played, and he gives us batting depth.

03:54 AM GMT

TNT Sports

Seems to have decided to do this without presenting from a studio in the UK. Eoin Morgan is presenting from the ground. Looks like he’ll be topping and tailing the world feed.

The broadcaster, which began coverage at 3.45am GMT,  shows the toss 25 minutes after it happened.

03:47 AM GMT

A beacon for the Test game

The game needs a good Test here in Hyderabad. There are two second grade Tests about to start elsewhere. A ragged South Africa side bereft of their big stars so they can play T20 cricket is about to take on New Zealand while a very patchy West Indies team plays Australia in Brisbane today in a day-nighter. Boards are prioritising other formats and you can’t really blame them but the Bazballers and India can show over the next six weeks Test cricket still has a pulse

03:44 AM GMT

India go with three spinners, too

India Rohit Sharma (captain), Yashavi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Srikar Bharat (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah.

The India XI is as expected. Their bevy of spin-bowling all-rounders means they can still play two seamers, Bumrah and Siraj. They are a formidable side at home, but Kohli is a huge loss.

03:40 AM GMT

Too much, too young?

A 2Tone pitch:

03:31 AM GMT

England win the toss

And Ben Stokes has chosen to bat first.

Fantastic toss to win for England, surely. Batting here will have been the easiest decision of the Stokes era. So much so that Mark Wood punched the air when it happened.

The whole England party are here, including the chef, David Pyle, who is on the outfield wearing an apron.

03:30 AM GMT

Blast off or blow up?

Good morning from the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad, which is a magnificent orange bowl. The middle has been a hive of activity for the last hour, with plenty of people peering at the two-tone pitch.

There has been an optimistic mood in the England camp this week, even in the face of some adversity given the absences of Harry Brook and Shoaib Bashir. They have picked what looks a fun and brave team that could easily backfire.

There’s a debut for Tom Hartley, who is receiving Test cap No712 from another Lancastrian, Michael Atherton, and a second cap for Rehan Ahmed. They make up half of a curious, green spin attack.

The beauty this morning is that anything could happen. The Bazballers could blast off, or they could blow up. Should be entertaining either way.

03:26 AM GMT

Shoaib Bashir has received his visa

This Indian government always seems to push these things to the brink of international outrage, maximising inconvenience, then caves just before it is about to be hit by a storm of protest.

03:24 AM GMT

England named their side yesterday

And for the first time since 1973-74 have named only one seamer/quick:

Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Bairstow, Stokes (captain), Foakes (wk), Ahmed, Wood, Hartley, Leach.

03:19 AM GMT

Preview: New year, new England

‘Melancholy were the sounds on a winter’s night.’  Now, now Virginia, let’s not start on that path. Good morning and the warmest of welcomes to our live blog of day one of the first Test between India and England from Hyderabad. Ben Stokes, the inspirational captain, starts his toughest assignment yet, hoping to emulate Douglas Jardine, Tony Greig, David Gower and Alastair Cook in leading England to victory over India in India and is having to do so without Harry Brook and, having applauded into retirement two vital members of the side that fought back so forcefully to square the Ashes series in July, Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali. No Compton-Miller medal winner either, Chris Woakes having wisely been conserved for home Tests only from now on.

A six-month break between Tests is a proper four-decade throwback but so many of the side were involved either at the World Cup or the subsequent Caribbean tours that they will not be as refreshed as their counterparts from 1981’s New Year tour of the West Indies, say, but they have been rejuvenated by Stokes’ surgery and the return of Jack Leach who looks positively ripped after hitting the weights to militate against further back injuries. Jimmy Anderson, too, who has taken 34 wickets at 29.32 across five tours of India, has a new spring in his step, a quicker approach to the wicket and a determination to rage, rage against the dying of the light.

India have a formidable home record, undefeated in a series since Cook’s side, by virtue of the captain, Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, turned the tour around to win 2-1 in 2012. Joe Root, who made his debut in that series, Jonny Bairstow and Anderson all played 11 years ago and are likely to be in the XI while India have just lost Virat Kohli but can still call on Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandan Ashwin from 2012 veteran stock.

Two of the trio, Ashwin (27 wickets) and Jadeja (15) have had field days in the four Tests played at Hyderabad and although the most recent was in 2018, we can expect the pitch to be pretty similar. Intriguingly, both Kohli and Pujara have made double centuries at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium but so has a certain Brendon McCullum during New Zealand’s draw there in 2012.

Touring India has been a hiding to nothing for all sides over the past 12 years but England, at least, will attack it as a hit to nothing given how overwhelmed they were when besieged by spin on raging turners in 2016-17 and 2020-21. Their novel, thrilling approach to their tour of Pakistan last winter will guide them here too, but one word of warning: Pakistan pitches are bowlers’ graveyards in the absence of reverse swing. India’s Test pitches are anything but even if one hopes they will degrade over five days to make it a compelling contest between bat and ball rather than ragging square from day one.

The toss is imminent and batting first would be the orthodox … and most prudent choice.

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