Hartley stars as England stun India in opening Test - GulfToday

Hartley stars as England stun India in opening Test


England's players greet the crowd after winning their first cricket test match against India in Hyderabad on Sunday. AP

Debutant spinner Tom Hartley took seven wickets as England pulled off a dramatic 28-run upset win over India marked by a stellar batting performance by Ollie Pope in the opening Test on Sunday.

"Since I've taken the captaincy on... it's 100 percent our greatest victory," England skipper Ben Stokes said.

Chasing 231 for victory, India were bowled out for 202 in the final over of an extended third session of play on the fourth day in Hyderabad, as Hartley got Mohammed Siraj stumped with his left-arm spin to trigger celebrations from the England camp.

Pope stood out with his 196 to bring England bouncing back from being 190 behind at the start of their second innings to lead the five-match series 1-0.

Hartley, who got his five-wicket haul after he bowled wicketkeeper-batsman K.S. Bharat, kept coming back to return figures of 7-62 and a match tally of nine wickets.

"It's unbelievable," Hartley said after the match, adding that the win was "not going to sink in" for some time.

"I'm over the moon", he added.

India came into the high-profile encounter as favourites on home soil, with an unbeaten Test series record since 2012 when Alastair Cook's England beat them 2-1.

Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said it was "hard to pinpoint where it went wrong", and congratulated England for "exceptional" batting.

"You've got to take your hat off, and say 'well played' to Pope," he said.

India started well in their chase, before Hartley struck twice in one over to send back Yashasvi Jaiswal (15) and Shubman Gill (0) in the space of three deliveries.

Rohit looked good in his knock of 39, but got rapped on the pads by Hartley's darting ball into the right-hander and walked back after his failed review on the lbw.

The left-handed Axar Patel (17) was promoted up the order and began attacking the bowling but was dismissed after the tea break and India soon slipped to 119-7.

Premier spinner Jack Leach took the field with an injured knee, after he banged it on day one and two, and bowled 10 overs for the wicket of Shreyas Iyer, for 13.

Bharat and Ravichandran Ashwin attempted to pull things back in their partnership of 57 but Hartley got them out to end India's hopes.

Rohit's team posted 436 in their first innings in response to 246 by England and had the tourists in trouble at 163-5 on day three, when Pope played an innings for the ages and struck his fifth Test ton.

Pope, who blunted the spinners with sweeps and reverse sweeps, resumed the day on 148.

He was dropped twice on 110 and 184 but his key partnerships with overnight partner Rehan Ahmed (28) and Hartley (34) after a 112-run stand with Ben Foakes (34) on Saturday proved decisive.

He finally went for an audacious reverse scoop in his attempt to get his double ton when England were nine down, but Jasprit Bumrah's ball rattled the stumps and lunch was called.

Skipper Ben Stokes played his part with a 70 in England's first innings after they elected to bat and showcased their attacking "Bazball" style of play.

"We didn't take some chances, but that can happen -- it's the first game of the series," Rohit added.

Agence France-Presse

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