The Financial Express

England inflict 227-run defeat on hosts India

| Updated: February 11, 2021 12:04:27

England inflict 227-run defeat on hosts India

James Anderson and Jack Leach bowled England to a famous 227-run victory against India on the final day of the first Test in Chennai.

Anderson inspired England with 3-17 and Jack Leach took 4-76 as England inflicted just a second home defeat on their hosts in eight years, reports BBC.

India made a decent start in their pursuit of a world record 420, before Anderson swung the game in devastating fashion when introduced.

He bowled Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane in an incredible over of reverse swing and had the dangerous Rishabh Pant caught soon after.

Virat Kohli held England up in the afternoon session with 72 but he was bowled by one that scuttled low from Ben Stokes.

Leach claimed the key wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara at the start of the day and saw off Ravichandran Ashwin, who put on 54 with Kohli.

Jofra Archer sealed the win by having Jasprit Bumrah caught behind 35 minutes before tea.

England, heavy underdogs before the series began, take a 1-0 lead into the second match of the four-Test series, which begins on Saturday at the same ground.

They have also jumped to the top of the standings in the World Test Championship but must win the series 3-1, 3-0 or 4-0 to reach this summer's final.

This victory must rank as England's greatest in recent years in Test cricket.

There have been landmark successes: the Ben Stokes-inspired victory in the 2019 Ashes, a historic win in Cape Town 13 months ago and a fine comeback against Pakistan last summer.

But this is India in India. Kohli's side had lost one of their last 35 home Tests, a run going back to their last series defeat on home soil - England's victory under Alastair Cook in 2012.

There were questions about the tourists' tactics on the fourth day, and Kohli delayed things for a while, but Anderson and Leach ensured those whispers were irrelevant.

In truth, it was almost the perfect performance from England, who are unbeaten in 11 Tests under Joe Root's captaincy. Root has also equalled Michael Vaughan's record of 26 Tests wins as England captain, doing so in 47 Tests as opposed to Vaughan's 51.

There were stand-out performances from experienced players like Root, whose first-innings 218 set up the win, Stokes and Anderson but also contributions from their emerging young players.

Opener Dom Sibley made a crucial 87 on day one, Dom Bess, although disappointing on the final day, took 4-76 in the first innings and Archer bowled well on a tired pitch.

An India win was always unlikely but when Gill and Kohli were batting in the morning session, it was not out of the question. A draw was a decent bet.

Leach had removed Pujara 25 minutes in with a fine ball that turned and bounced, but Gill was eye-catching in making 50 from 81 balls while Kohli exerted his authority with positive play.

What followed, 50 minutes into proceedings, was one of the great overs in recent memory.

Anderson's second ball bowled Gill, his fourth saw Rahane narrowly survive an lbw appeal and a fifth sent the India vice-captain's off stump cartwheeling as Gill's had moments before.

They were three perfect inswingers that capitalised on uneven bounce and reverse swing.

England had batted on during day four, perhaps wary of the attacking talents of Pant, but Anderson removed him too. This time he cleverly bowled a cutter and had the left-hander miscue to extra cover.

Leach had been targeted by Pant earlier in the match with a brutal onslaught but he responded in impressive fashion.

He bowled accurately all day and was the main spin threat with Bess regularly bowling full tosses.

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