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The test series between India vs England is complete, with India coming out on top in the four match series winning 3-1. There was a lot of talking points throughout the series, from umpiring decisions to unfair surfaces.

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The Indian side celebrating winning the Anthony de Mello Trophy.

First test: Joe Root Masterclass

The first test of the series took place in Chennai and was the only game in the series where there wasn’t a crowd. It was a very special test match for England captain Joe Root who was playing in his 100th test match for England. Going into the game he had a very impressive series against Sri Lanka where he scored 426 runs in a two match series.

Going into the game the Indian side was very confident after an incredible test series win in Australia. India also had their captain Virat Kohli returning to the side after missing the majority of the test series in Australia.

England won the toss and choose to bat on a very flat pitch. Root was able to celebrate his 100th test match with a double century, the first man to ever to do so on his landmark test. Root was able score 218 runs before being dismissed, with Sibley (87 runs) and Stokes (82 runs) doing well in supporting their captain, as England finished their first innings with 578 runs.

India responded with 337 runs which meant they was 241 runs behind England at the halfway stage of the game. Rishabh Pant was the star of the Indian innings scoring 91 runs off 88 balls. The wicketkeeper batsman repeatedly took on England spinner Jack Leach, consistently hitting him for six. Pujara and Washington Sundar also scored half centuries for their side (scores of 73 and 85 not out respectively). Jofra Archer did well for his side getting rid of the two Indian openers before Dom Bess took four wickets, including the vital wickets of and Kohli and Pant.

England added 178 runs to their lead which meant India needed 419 runs to win the game from their second innings. Root again was the top scorer for his team with 40 runs. Ravichandran Ashwin was India’s star bowler with six wickets in the innings. However the Indian side couldn’t reach the England total as they were all out for 192 runs as England took a 1-0 lead in the series. The Indian batsmen could not handle Jimmy Anderson when the ball was reverse swinging, and Leach was able to get four wickets. Root was deservedly given the MOTM award for his performance with the bat.

Second test: Ashwin Stars with Ball and Bat

Going into the second test England were very confident as they had won three games in a row in a short space of time. Both sides made a lot of changes due to the busy schedule they have in 2021. England brought in Ben Foakes, Moeen Ali, Olly Stone and Stuart Broad in place of Jos Buttler, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer and Jimmy Anderson. India made three changes to their side with Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and the debutant Axar Patel in place of Shahbaz Nadeem, Jasprit Bumrah and Washington Sundar.

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India’s test debutant in the second test.

India won the toss and choose to bat and the India batsman Rohit Sharma destroyed England in the first day scoring 161 runs. India at one stage on the first day were 86-3 but finished the day on 300-6. Rahane and Pant did a good job supporting Rohit Sharma during India’s first innings.

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England got completely outclassed in the first innings as they were all out for 134 runs. Ashwin was the star of the Indian bowling attack, getting a five wicket haul. England could not handle the spinning pitch in Chennai as the Indian spinners were able to turn the ball a lot. Ashwin was able to add to his five-wicket haul with a century in India’s second innings. Ashwin showed England how to bat on a spinning surfaces, coming in as a number eight and scoring 106 runs. Kohli did well in the second innings scoring 62 runs after getting out for a duck in the first innings.

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England again collapsed in the second innings as they were all out for 164 runs. The Indian debutant Axar Patel was the star with the ball, getting a five wicket haul. Patel became the ninth Indian player to get a five wicket haul on his debut. No England batsmen was able to handle the spinning pitch apart from Moeen Ali who scored 43 runs in 18 balls. India won the game by 317 runs and levelled the series 1-1 going into the two games in Ahmedabad.

Third Test: Two day shootout

The third test of the series was a day-night test, the second one to take place in India. England made four changes to the team that lost the second test and had four pace bowlers to the one spinner. The players coming into the side were Zak Crawley, Johnny Bairstow, Jofra Archer and Jimmy Anderson in place of Rory Burns, Dan Lawrence, Moeen Ali and Olly Stone. India only made two changes to the team that won the second test with Bumrah and Washington Sundar back in the side, replacing Yadav and Siraj.

England won the toss and yet again collapsed, as they whole team were out for 112 runs and Crawley being the only player showing some fight with 53 runs. Patel caused further chaos for the England batsmen as he got six wickets for his team. At the end of the first day India were 99-3 and seemed in complete control with Rohit Sharma on 57 runs. Then at the start of the second day Root got his first ever five-wicket haul in cricket, going for an incredible 5-8 as India was all out for 145.

England thought they were back in the game but Patel was able to get two wickets in the first three balls of England’s second innings, the two batsmen were Crawley and Bairstow. Patel and Ashwin went through the England team again as they crumbled to a score of just 81 runs. Patel was able to get a ten-wicket haul for the match as he picked up another five wickets in the second innings. India only needed 49 runs to win and succeeded as they won by ten wickets. This was the first time since 1935 that a test match finished in under two days.

Fourth Test: Pant’s Power rounds off series

Going into the fourth test India knew if they avoided defeat they would qualify for the Test World Championship final against New Zealand in the summer. India made one change to bring in Siraj for Bumrah. England went with a team that consistent of eight batsman (including one all-rounder and the wicketkeeper) and only three bowlers. Dan Lawrence and Dom Bess were back in the side, with Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad dropped for the final test.

England won the toss and collapsed yet again as they were all out for 205 runs. Ben Stokes offered up some resistance as he scored 55 runs but couldn’t give his side a good first innings total. The England bowlers got off to a good start in India’s first innings. At one stage India were 146-6 and England had a chance to get back in the game, but the partnership of Pant and Washington Sundar changed the game. Pant was able to get his third test century in the first innings with Washington Sundar supporting the Indian wicket-keeper batsmen well. India finish 365 all out with Washington Sundar scoring 96 runs not out. England knew they had to get a big total if they had a chance in getting back in the game but failed miserably as they were all out for 135 runs and lost the game by an innings and 25 runs. Both Indian spinners caused problems for the England batsmen again as they both picked up five-wicket hauls.

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Since Patel’s debut during the series, England struggled to play against spin for the rest of the series. Root was the only player to score a century in the series for England as the rest of the team struggled with the bat. Another glaring difference between the sides was the level of the Indian spinners compared to the England spinners. Leach, Ali and Bess are nowhere near the level of the Indian spinners, Patel and Ashwin. The test series between the two teams in the summer will be interesting as England will be playing in conditions that suit them more.

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April 2024