IND Vs ENG FIRST TEST AT CHEPAUK 2021
And when the world’s Numero Uno Pace bowler Jimmy Anderson cartwheeled the woodwork twice in his first over on the fifth day with his finesse art of Reverse Swing, he dented India’s semblance of hope for a victory. As the well set rookie opener Gill didn’t have any clue of the unknown art of Anderson stunned only to see his stumps uprooted and India’s vice captain the phlegmatic Rahane followed suit in the similar fashion in the same over after surviving a confident LBW appeal. Rahane didn’t disturb the scorers. It was all over.
England broke the hegemony of India at home. Joe Root, the leader par excellence of the Pommies led from the front and his bowlers delivered it. And Kohli staring at the defeat for the fourth time consecutively. After a resounding success at Down Under, Indians were expected to be brimming with high confidence to take on the English team which won the series in Srilanka, in their own backyard. But, alas, they were done in by England by their excellent professionalism on the field.
Joe Root’s juggernaut continued his fine batting display after a wonderful series in Srilanka, hitting a double century in helpful conditions of the pitch at Chepauk , Chennai and his top order and middle order batsmen helped to pose an imposing total of 578 runs in their first innings.
Joe Root picked up his form of taking on the spinners right from the word go as he played the sweep shot with consummate ease. His paddle sweep and reverse sweep were the hallmark shots of his batting in the first innings. He didn’t allow the spinners to settle down and his vice captain Ben Stokes also had a go at indian spinners.
India were struggling at 73/4 in the first innings when the fledgling Rishab Pant joined Pujara all the hell broke as they played freely especially Pant taking on the English spinners. Jack Leash, the left armer bore the brunt of the brutal attack of Pant and the England’s offie Dom Bess who already claimed the vital wickets of India’s captain and vice captain cheaply, broke the 119 runs partnership for the 5th wicket with a clever delivery which spun viciously and Pujara’s defensive shot only lobbed up by shortleg fielder. And the unlucky Pant again missed his century when he holed out to Bess at the deep mid off fielder. Of course another rookie Sundar with his lusty hits together with the veteran Ashwin did add 80 runs for the 7th wicket, India conceded an imposing 241 runs lead for England.
And though India did well in the second innings of England by restricting them with just 178 runs with the India’s ace spinner Ashwin picking up 6 wickets, it was an herculean task for India to chase 420 runs on a turning track.
In the second innings it was the turn of the left arm orthodox spinner Jack Leach of England turn who bowled like a man possessed and got the initial break through of breaking the defence of Rohit sharma and claimed 4 wickets and it was Jimmy Anderson’s fine spell of reverse swing ended India’s hope and England romped home with a massive win of 227 runs in the first test. And England captain hailed his premier bowler Anderson as”GOAT” in the game.
In spite of the criticism that the SG Balls seam was coming out even in 40-50 overs was bizarre according to Ashwin and the same sentiments were expressed by the Indian Captain Kohli in his post match meeting , England played better game and won the test. And the pitch also played truant on the 4th & 5th day and it became like a “ dustbowl”.
* It was Joe Root’s 100th Test and what a great moment to score a double century. Incidentally , he made his debut against India in 2012-13 series at Nagpur.
* Ashwin’s first ball wicket in the second innings of England is a world record ( he had England opener Burns snapped up by the slip fielder) in Test cricket
* It was also Root’s 26th win as England Captain and he joins with Michael Vaughan for most test wins for England as captain.