India vs England 2016 Test series is coming to an end and both teams confronted each other in the 4th match of the series. After maintaining a lead of 2-0 in the tournament, India was the unprecedented favorites in the game. England was looking to put some life in the dead rubber as the team is on the verge of a whitewash.
England won the toss and opted to bat first and it was a good decision because the groundsmen earlier predicted that the Wankhede pitch will favour the spinners in the second half of the game.
Visitors had a good start with debutant Keaton Jennings and skipper Alastair Cook giving their team a dream start. Both the batsmen played a calm innings by defending their stands and sending over-pitched balls straight through the boundary. Moments before the end of first session, R. Jadeja turned saviour for India and claimed the wicket of Alastair Cook (46) on the third ball of his first over.
Wanting to play an airborne shot, the England skipper came down the pitch but R. Jadeja read his mind and delivered a short ball. The ball spun and went straight into Parthiv Patel’s hands. The wicketkeeper fumbled at first but regained his composer and completed Jadeja’s effort by taking the bails off.
At lunch, England was at 117 for the loss of one wicket with Keaton Jennings (65 at that time), still at the crease.
Joe Root accompanied Keaton Jennings to the crease after Lunch and Ravichandran Aswin was seen questioning the two batsmen on many occasions. Joe Root (21) kneeled down on Ashwin’s deliver soon, making way for Moeen Ali and this was when the tables turned.
Keaton Jennings and Moeen Ali registered a 94 runs partnership for the third wicket, answering the Ashwin challenge. However, Ashwin too had his moments and the player was making it difficult for Keaton Jennings and Moeen Ali to continue their pace.
Ashwin and Jadeja continuously bowled for 17 overs before something unexpected happened.
In the 49th over, Keaton Jennings struck the ball towards square-leg for a single. Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked the ball and casually threw it towards Parthiv Patel. The throw didn’t have enough juice and landed at the back of Reiffel’s head. The umpire went down instantly and doctors were rushed to the ground. He was replaced by third umpire Marais Erasmus and the game resumed.
Kohli mixed-up his attack with spin and pace but the duo of Keaton Jennings and Moeen Ali refused to back down. Moeen Ali soon registered a fifty and Jennings scored his first test, becoming the 19th English player to score a ton on his Test Debut.
Visitors continued to dominate the second session, and England’s scoreboard was at 192 with the loss of two wickets at Tea.
It was India’s turn to roll the tables around and the post Tea session saw the England batting lineup at the receiving end of R.Ashwin’s wrath.
Ravichandran Ashwin bowled a Godly spell in the third session and claimed the wickets of Moeen Ali (50) and Keaton Jennings (112) in the 70th over of the day. After delivering two batsmen who started troubling Virat Kohli, the star spinner wanted more and sent Jonny Bairstow (14) back to the pavilion.
Ben Stokes (25*) and Jos Buttler (18*) will resume England’s innings on the second day of the 4th Test Match at Wankhede Stadium Mumbai.
After an astonishing start from the visitors, Indian Team has made a comeback in the game, all thanks to the one man army, R.Ashwin. Hosts would like to end the England’s innings before the second session tomorrow and anything above 300 runs by England lower order, will turn out to be bonus points for the visitors.
8 December 2016
Avni S. Singh