5th Test: Jaiswal & Rohit fifties put India in commanding position after Kuldeep & Ashwin bamboozle England

Captain Rohit Sharma & Yashasvi Jaiswal smashed half-centuries to put India in a commanding position at stumps on day one of fifth and final Test against England

Dharamshala, March 7 (IANS) Captain Rohit Sharma & Yashasvi Jaiswal smashed half-centuries to put India in a commanding position at stumps on day one of fifth and final Test against England at the HPCA Stadium on Thursday.

The foundation for India’s dominating day was set up by Kuldeep Yadav’s sensational 5-72 and Ravichandran Ashwin taking 4-51 in his 100th Test match to bamboozle England for 218 in 57.4 overs. In reply, Jaiswal’s 57 and Rohit’s 52 not out took India to 135/1 in 30 overs and now trail England by 83 runs.

England were in a strong position at 100/1, before the Kuldeep-Ashwin show triggered an unbelievable meltdown. Only Zak Crawley waged a lone battle with a good-looking 79 as England flattered to deceive, falling like a pack of cards as Kuldeep scythed amazingly through the batting order.

It was a brilliant spell from Kuldeep, which also included picking his 50th Test wicket. He bowled a mix of googlies and leg-breaks while drawing the batters on both front and back foot, and is now the second spinner after Australia’s Nathan Lyon to take a five-wicket haul in Tests at Dharamshala, a venue where he made his Test debut in 2017.

Electing to bat first, Crawley and Ben Duckett had to withstand some outstanding swing bowling from a returning Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj asking tough questions constantly. The duo rode their luck as they played and missed deliveries on various occasions, while dealing with variable bounce.

While Duckett struggled, Crawley was pristine in his drives whenever he wasn’t troubled by swing and even survived an lbw appeal off Siraj. Duckett brought up the half-century of the partnership, the fifth such instance for England in the series, with a pre-mediated lap-sweep against Ashwin in the 15th over.

Crawley and Duckett took a four each off Kuldeep, but the latter tried to smash a googly over the leg-side, but got a huge leading edge and Gill ran to his right from cover to take a fabulous diving catch. Crawley was languid in using his long levers for driving in mid-off, extra cover and down the ground against the spinners to get his fourth fifty of the series.

He would also hit the first six of the match by dancing down the pitch to smack Ashwin over long-on. But at the stroke of lunch, Pope came out of the crease for a flick against Kuldeep, but the googly skidded and went past the outside edge to give Dhruv Jurel an easy stumping.

Post lunch, Crawley survived an inside edge to short leg on a leg-break from Kuldeep, as India didn’t take the review, with replays later showing a thin edge. He and Joe Root hit five boundaries between themselves, with Crawley surviving a caught-and-bowled dismissal off Ravindra Jadeja.

But his knock came to an end on 79 when he was tempted into a drive by Kuldeep, but was castled through the gate. Jonny Bairstow, in his 100th Test appearance, came out all guns blazing with his leg-side boundaries, but in an attempt to drive off Kuldeep, he sent a nick behind to Jurel.

Joe Root was next to fall, trapped lbw by a Jadeja slider and Kuldeep got his fifth wicket when his googly rapped Ben Stokes in front of the stumps. Ashwin had Tom Hartley top-edging a slog-sweep to deep mid-wicket and Mark Wood edging to slip to pick two wickets in three balls. England could have ended second session at 184/9 if Jurel had caught a thick edge of Bashir off Jadeja.

Post tea, Ashwin got his third wicket as Ben Foakes’ attempted sweep resulted in him rolling back onto his stumps. James Anderson survived an lbw appeal, but in a bid to slog against Ashwin, he mistimed it to mid-wicket, bringing an end to an England innings which didn’t even last 60 overs.

In reply, while Jaiswal was measured at the start, Rohit became the aggressor with four boundaries in the first six overs, with a hoick over fine leg for six off Mark Wood being the standout. Jasiwal got into attacking mode by smacking three sixes – on both sides of ‘V’ and cover – in first over of Shoaib Bashir.

Rohit clipped Tom Hartley twice for fours, before pulling the spinner for six, even as Jaiswal used his wrists and power to take five boundaries off Bashir, with the fourth one giving him his fifty and also became the quickest Indian to reach 1000 Test runs.

Jaiswal also went past past Virat Kohli to grab the record for most runs in a Test series against England (655), and crossed the 700-run mark of runs in a Test series. But Jaiswal fell for 57 after coming out to go big against Bashir, and was stumped easily.

Gill timed his pick-up pull and slog-sweep really well, even as Rohit got his fifty in 77 balls. Gill ended the day by slog-sweeping against Bashir and Hartley for a six each as India got a perfect day of Test cricket action after losing the toss.

Brief Scores: England 218 in 57.4 overs (Zak Crawley 79; Kuldeep Yadav 5-72, Ravichandran Ashwin 4-51) lead India 135/1 in 30 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 57, Rohit Sharma 52 not out; Shoaib Bashir 1-64) by 82 runs


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