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Yashasvi Jaiswal and India make shoddy England pay after tourists’ collapse
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Yashasvi Jaiswal and India make shoddy England pay after tourists’ collapse

The tactics employed by England’s Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have allowed for some level of acceptable losses, but during the middle day of the third Test in this five-match series, it reached a level similar to that of the UK’s water companies.

At 7:45 in the morning, as they boarded the team bus, it was time to seize the day. Ravichandran Ashwin was unable to participate in the match due to a family emergency, and any talk of a potential replacement was put to rest by the strict ICC rules. However, with Ben Duckett’s impressive unbeaten century from the previous evening, the team had a chance to shine with a score of 207 for two in response to India’s 445.

Five hours later, after 36.1 overs, Jimmy Anderson left the field to retrieve a shoe horn and his bowling boots. The 41-year-old was the last person to be dismissed as the team collapsed to a total of 319 runs. Although Mohammed Siraj was responsible for taking him out, it was also a consequence of a larger sacrifice. By the end of the day, India had scored 196 runs for the loss of two wickets, giving them a lead of 322 and making it the most disappointing day of the Stokes era.

This was a remarkable performance from Rohit Sharma’s understaffed team. Kuldeep Yadav’s performance before lunch was exceptional as he bowled 12 overs and took two wickets for 35 runs. He effectively changed his pace, used the wrong ‘un wisely, and took on the role left by Ashwin. Siraj also shone in the later part of the game, taking four wickets with great skill.

Yashasvi Jaiswal, who had previously scored 80 and 209 in the first and second Tests, respectively, delivered another impressive performance with a 104 off 133 balls. Shubman Gill also contributed with a careful 65 not out. Jaiswal, resembling a middleweight boxer, continuously attacked England’s tired bowlers with nine fours and five sixes until he was forced to retire due to back spasms.

The English team was still struggling with their poor batting performance from earlier in the game, which reminded them of a similar situation during last year’s Ashes Test at Lord’s. This was not only due to the commentary from the media center at one end, which was reminiscent of Aardman Animations. In that previous game, they were at a strong position of 184 for one in response to Australia’s 416, but when Nathan Lyon left the field due to injury and was out for the rest of the series, they collapsed and were all out for 325 runs due to a series of failed hook shots. In this current game, with Ashwin gone back to Chennai, the manner in which the players got dismissed was the only difference.

Unfortunately, this is where the negative aspect of England’s success in the past two years becomes apparent. Joe Root, known for his expertise in playing in subcontinental conditions, has been struggling recently. This was evident in the fifth over of the day when he attempted a reverse scoop shot to Jasprit Bumrah and ended up sending the ball to third slip, resulting in his dismissal. Although it was a great catch by Jaiswal, who had sharpened his hand-eye coordination early on, it was also a repeat of Root’s dismissal to Neil Wagner in Mount Maunganui exactly a year ago.

Jasprit Bumrah celebrates after the dismissal of Joe Root.

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Root was unrepentant at the time, horse-whispered by McCullum that night, and deployed the shot in an unbeaten 153 in Wellington the following week. From 22 attempts against seamers in the last two years, his party trick has returned 60 runs and scattered slips. And yet for all the talk of execution, or of folks not being able to cheer its ­success and also lament the two failures, it was still hard to describe it as a percentage play given the situation and the angle of India’s spearhead.

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This was the initial dismissal in a span of 10 deliveries as Jonny Bairstow experienced his eighth duck in India, surpassing a number of lower-order batsmen. Kuldeep was the one responsible, with his delivery causing Bairstow to play back and get caught leg-before by the sharp spin. Duckett, whose name rhymes with Bairstow’s frustrations, was dismissed shortly after. Despite his impressive 153 runs from 151 balls, his innings came to an end when he tried to hit a rare wide long-hop from Kuldeep and ended up getting caught at cover.

Duckett likely regretted not putting in more effort – after all, he didn’t leave – but this claim could not be directed towards Stokes. He and Ben Foakes managed to calm the situation with a partnership of 39 before lunch, but both were dismissed in quick succession. Ravindra Jadeja, who replaced Kuldeep, took advantage of Stokes’ miscalculated shot on 41 and caught him out at mid-wicket, where the fielder was positioned. Foakes then played a shot that may have been affected by a rare ball sticking in the surface, resulting in an easy catch for mid-on fielder Siraj.

Afterwards, the tail fell apart, with Siraj forcing Jaiswal’s opponents back into the ring. Despite Sharma being removed for 19 lbw by Root, which was another overturned decision by Joel Wilson, it did not stop the damage that ensued. However, the most painful kind of damage was self-inflicted, as they failed to learn from last summer’s lesson in being ruthlessly efficient; a contrast to their usual approach.

Source: theguardian.com