England recorded an impressive 28-run win over India in the opening Test in Hyderabad, thanks to the momentum sparked by Ollie Pope's determined efforts and newcomer left-arm spinner Tom Hartley. India's quest for 231 runs took a drastic turn for the worse when Hartley's mesmerizing performance (7/62) destroyed India's top position and triggered a collapse that saw them bowled out for 202 runs in the last over of the day. With this win, England takes a 1-0 lead in the five-game series.
The defeat is India's fourth defeat in home Tests since 2013 and their first ever loss in Hyderabad, which is spread across two venues in the city.
India's approach during the chase was in stark contrast to Pope's aggressive stance against Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Although the spin duo was impressive, it failed to wreak havoc on a surface that wasn't particularly spin-friendly. India captain Rohit Sharma believed that the home team was in the game for a long period of time and he was not wrong. India took a 190-run lead against England in the first innings before Ollie Pope's aggressive 196-run knock proved game-winning for the England team.
“Cricket is played over four days so it is difficult to say where something went wrong. With a lead of 190 we thought we were fully in the game. (It was an) exceptional knock (from Ollie Pope), one of the best I have seen in Indian conditions from an overseas batsman,” Rohit Sharma said in the post-match presentation.
The Indian captain believed that the target of 231 runs was achievable on a track that didn't turn much, but stressed that the batting performance in the second innings was poor.
“I thought 230 was achievable, there wasn't too much on the field. We didn't bat well enough to get the score. I checked where we bowled, we bowled in the right areas. At the end of the day, analyze what went well and what didn't.
“The bowlers executed the plans really well but you have to take your hat off and say to Pope, ‘Well played.’ That was a big blow,” Rohit said.
After the collapse in the upper and middle order that left India reeling at 119/7, KS Bharat (28) and Ravichandran Ashwin (28) led India's defense and after their dismissals, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah worked for another 25 -Run stand that raised eyebrows in India's hopes for a while. Siraj was finally dismissed in the last over of Day 4.
“We didn’t bat well enough to get this result. I wanted them (Siraj and Bumrah) to take the game to the fifth day. 20-30 runs, anything is possible. The lower class fought really well there and showed the upper class that they have to keep up. You have to show character, you have to be brave enough, which I didn't think was possible. We wanted to take a few chances, but we didn't take any chances with the bat. But that can happen. It’s the first game of the series, I hope the boys can learn from it,” Rohit said.
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