Saturday, 17 Apr, 2021


English Lions  Castled On Dusty Turning Track 

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2021-02-25 12:00:20
English Lions  Castled On Dusty Turning Track  [photo collected]

ICC Test Championship 
India VS England Series 
Day Night Test Match at “Narendra Modi” Stadium Played on February 24 -28, 2021
Brief Scorecard at Stumps Day One 
England 1st Innings 112 All Out (Zack Crawley 53, Joe Root 17, Axar Patel 6/38, Ravichandra Ashwin 3/26) 
India 99/3 in 33 Overs (Rohit Sharma 57*, Virat Kohli 27, Jack Leach 2/27) 
India trails by 13 runs with 7 first innings wickets at hand. 

On day one of the historic “Narendra Modi” Stadium of Sardar Ballab Vhai Patel Mega Sports Complex in front of 50,000 cheering Teranga crowd Indian spinners caged English Lions.  Axar Patel and Ravi Ashwin exploited the gripping, turning and unevenly bouncing newly laid red clay wicket emanating dust from the first session of day one. England could bat only 48.4 overs before crumbling to pathetic 112 all out. Of that elegant looking Zack Crawley alone scored graceful 53. India responding managed 99/3 by stumps. The dry wicket did not have any tinge of grass and outfield was also bare. But these cannot be any excuse that English batsmen showing suspicion succumbed to tentative strokes. From 74/2 primarily from the belligerence of Zack Crawley playing some classic drives, England lost 8 wickets for 38 runs. Between Patel (6/38) and Ashwin (3/26) Indian spinners took 9 wickets. The only other wicket was taken by Ishant Sharma appearing in his 100th test. India appeared with 3 spinners and two pacers. On the contrast England played 3 pacers and Ben Stokes and a lone spinner. 

This superbly refurbished stadium is the largest in matter of capacity (120,00) larger than iconic MCG was half filled for COVID restrictions. Indian President formally inaugurated the giant stadium renamed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi (overnight decision). But the huge complex retained the name Sardar Patel. The stadium possesses state of the art modern technology in matters of rainwater harvesting, water drainage facilities, LED lights instead of tower mounted flood nights. India made auspicious start of their second day night test at home. 

Root won the toss and elected to bat.  The logic of English team management appearing with Anderson, Broad, Archer along with Stokes and lone spinner Jack Leach was not understood. They must have red the wicket wrong. The pink SG ball started swinging prodigiously right from the start. Ishant Sharma playing his 100th test celebrated striking an early blow. Dom Sibley fell to a smart catch by Rohit before opening his account. Although Ishant and Bumrah kept English batsmen guessing a bit impressive Zack Crawley played some delightful strokes. Kohli introduced Axar Patel as early as the 7th over. He struck with his very first delivery trapping Bairstow plumb in front for a duck. England was down 2/27 by the 7th over. Root joined Crawley. He looked tentative as puff of dust appeared surprisingly in the very first session. On a gripping and turning wicket Indian spinners can work like snake charmers. Though Crawley was looking great miseries of English batting could be felt. Crawley raced to his half century indicating some lights in the gloomy English batting. But soon was undone by a beautiful Patel delivery for 53. His stand out innings had 10 gorgeous strokes to the fence. From there on Indian spin duo Patel and Ashwin ran through English innings crashing them to 112 all out. The fate of the match was written firm. 

It was not that batting was at all easy on the wicket. But on the surface perhaps England lost the trick of not playing extra spinner. Anderson and Broad were bowling on line and length and Archer got rid of Gill early. But their delivery strides were harming the wicket. The lone spinner Leach struck gold breaking Indian Wall Pujara early and towards the end of the day managed to take the prized wicket of Kohli. But prolific Rohit was still there on 57. India was 99/3 only 13 run behind. The batting depth of India places them on command already in the test. If India takes more than 100 lead this test may not last beyond day three. If India wins the chances of England playing in the final at lords would be evaporated. 

When England lost to Bangladesh at SBNCS Dhaka on a similar turning track ICC raised a concern about the state of the wicket. This surface is no better at the modern Stadium. It will be interesting to see how ICC or ECB react? 

IT WAS A REPLAY OF Bollywood BLOCKBUSTER “LAGAN “on day one at Norendra Modi Stadium. 

BDST: 1140 HRS, FEB 25, 2021

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