Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Left-arm spinner Axar Patel’s twin strike and Mohammed Siraj’s prized scalp of English skipper Joe Root on Thursday morning helped India gain an upper hand against England on Day One of the fourth Test here at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
At the lunch break, England had reached 74/3 in 25 overs with Jonny Bairstow (28*) and Ben Stokes (24*) batting at the crease. The duo has added 44 for the fourth wicket and are looking to bring the visitors back into the game after early inroads from the Indian bowlers.
Electing to bat, England openers Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley saw off the first five overs bowled by the Indian pacers — Ishant Sharma and Siraj, who has come into the side in place of Jasprit Bumrah. However, the introduction of Axar in the sixth over brought immediate reward for the hosts as the spinner clean-bowled Sibley (2), reducing England to 10/1.
The 27-year-old struck again in his second over as he had Crawley (9) caught at mid-off. The right-handed batsman tried to go over the top to create more pressure on the bowler, but ended up mistiming the ball and handed a simple catch to Siraj. Immediately after the first drinks break, England skipper Root (5) was trapped in front by Siraj and the visitors got reduced to 30/3 in the 13th over.
Stokes and Bairstow, however, then got together at the crease and the duo resurrected the innings. Both batsmen played cautiously and in between made sure they collected runs at a decent pace to not get under pressure. The duo have stitched an unbeaten partnership of 44 and the England team would hope that they continue to bat for as long as possible.
England have made two changes to their playing XI which last featured in the third Test. They have brought in Dominic Bess and Dan Lawrence in place of Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer.
Brief Scores: England 74/3 (Jonny Bairstow 28*, Ben Stokes 24*, Axar Patel 2-21) vs India