Flying start to England’s tour of India

Cricket Wednesday January 31, 2024 By: Duncan Hughes

England’s Cricket team kicked off 2024 with a heart-stopping test victory over Indian in Hyderabad. In a 28 run victory that went down to the wire, they began their tour of India in impressive style. A thrilling encounter saw stunning displays from Ollie Pope with the bat and debutant Tom Hartley with the ball. Ben Stokes termed the test match win as the best since he became captain.

However, it wasn’t all plain-sailing for England. The tourists found themselves in difficulty after a first innings deficit of 190, but it was Ollie Pope’s second innings display of 196 that anchored England into position to snatch the result from the hosts, setting them 231 to win. The work wasn’t done yet though, as Tom Hartley, in his test debut, outdid the Indians on their own pitch as his 7-62 sealed the victory for Ben Stokes’ side.

Described by many as one of England’s best ever away wins, they began their tour of India with a fairly average first innings having been 155-7 at one point. That was before a trademark Ben Stokes rally saw them surpass 240 before being the last man out.

India came out to bat, high on confidence after a good bowling display and they batted like it. With Jaiswal, Rahul and Jadeja all hitting over 80 runs, England were on the ropes as the Indians posted 436 with a lead of 190.

In the second innings, it was looking pretty miserable for England once again as they slipped to 163-5. That was until Ollie Pope stepped up with arguably the best innings from an overseas player on an Indian pitch, scoring 196 to stabilise the ship for the tourists. England were 420 all out with India needing 231 to win.

So, could the home side do it? Well England came out firing with Tom Hartley taking the first four wickets of the innings to have the hosts 95-4. There was further misery for India as they slipped to 119-7 with the 6th wicket being courtesy of some brilliant Ben Stokes fielding to run Ravindra Jadeja out much to his side’s dismay. However, a 56-run eighth-wicket stand sparked a glimmer of hope and was enough to heighten England nerves. With that said, ultimately it was Tom Hartley’s spin bowling that sealed the victory, seeing India’s final wicket tumble on 202. The debutant finished on superb figures of 7-62.

Hartley is only the sixth player ever to take a seven-wicket haul on debut and the first Englishmen since Dominic Cork in 1955 against the West Indies. Only 24 years of age, Hartley certainly stamped his name in the mind’s of selectors as the spinner looks to cement his place for the remainder of the tour and beyond. Not to mention, his first delivery of the game was smashed over the rope for six; not the warmest of welcomes to test cricket.

A 28 run victory for The Tourists sets Ben Stokes and his side up well for the remainder of the series, with a journey east awaiting them on Friday, as they travel to Visakhapatnam for the second test. It’s safe to say, morale in the England camp will be high and they will be confident of another victory on the Asian continent to once again unsettle the home side.

Can England go 2-0 up in the series? Or will India be more eager to get revenge? Either way, this series has all the hallmarks of a thrilling contest and perhaps a classic. Want to see England play live from the best seats in the house this summer? Check out Engage Hospitality’s range of options to watch the cricket in style.

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