England commenced the first test against India with a blistering start, but a sudden downturn saw them at 108-3 during the lunch break on the opening day at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Initially, there was no indication of a setback as Ben Duckett (35) and Zak Crawley (20) displayed aggressive batting, characteristic of the Ben Stokes-led side, forming an opening stand of 55. However, India’s spinners swiftly claimed three wickets for five runs, creating a challenging situation for the visitors on a dry pitch that is expected to favor spin as the game progresses.
The responsibility now lies with Johnny Bairstow (32) and Joe Root (18) to reconstruct the innings. Touring captains are cautious about batting fourth on India’s turning tracks, making Stokes’s decision to bat after winning the toss a strategic move.
England reached the 50-mark in the 11th over, showing comfort against seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj. However, Home captain Rohit Sharma’s introduction of spin from both ends after the initial eight overs proved pivotal. Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Duckett with a delivery that didn’t turn, while Ravindra Jadeja caught Ollie Pope (one) at first slip.
Crawley fell in the subsequent over, attempting to charge against Ashwin but only managing to drill the ball to Siraj at mid-off, resulting in a low, tumbling catch.
The partnership between Bairstow and Root, contributing 48 runs for the fourth wicket, provided some relief for the English dressing room, yet there remains a considerable task ahead.
England opted for a spin-heavy attack with Mark Wood as the sole fast bowler, including debutant Tom Hartley in the playing eleven. The dynamics of the match suggest a challenging battle between England’s batting lineup and India’s spinners as the test progresses.