Jaiswal stands tall and alone for India as England edge the day


India 336 for 6 (Jaiswal 179*, Bashir 2-100, Ahmed 2-61) vs England

You can only judge a pitch after both sides have Bazballed on it, or so the saying might now go, after England’s preposterous exploits in Hyderabad. On Yashasvi Jaiswal‘s watch, India appeared in the mood to make amends for their first-Test failings, thanks to a scintillating century that has met this new agenda for his team with poise and attitude aplenty.
However, in claiming six wickets on a tough day in the field, England refused to buckle when previous visiting teams might have been braced for a batting landslide, and with Shoaib Bashir settling into his first day of Test cricket with two wickets and a calm command of his attributes, they are no worse off at the close of this first day than they had been at the same juncture of the opening Test. And both sides know full well how that one turned out.
Either way, Jaiswal’s sublime 179 not out from 257 balls was the day’s outstanding hand – both the innings that he had promised amid the fluency of his first-innings 80 from 74 in Hyderabad, and the one that India desperately needed to regain their footing in this series. From his very first stroke, an unfettered slap for four off Joe Root‘s first ball, via the towering six over long-on with which he brought up his second Test century and his first on home soil, Jaiswal was a class apart – the one Indian batter who found the fearlessness required to pre-empt the sort of challenge that England are sure to offer when their own turn comes to bat.
By the final minutes of the day he was struggling with cramp, but Jaiswal still marched past his previous best of 171, made on debut in the Caribbean last year. His new career-best was secured with the fifth six off his innings off the legspin of Rehan Ahmed – another sweet connection down the ground that maintained a control percentage in excess of 90%, and ensured that he’ll resume with ambitions of significantly more on day two.
The rest of India’s batting, however, was more of a mixed bag, and as a consequence, England’s rejigged attack was able to take comfort in the struggle on what has so far been a belter of a wicket. With six men dismissed between the scores of 14 and 34, including KS Bharat in the closing moments of the day, India were in danger of similar failings to those that undermined their performance in Hyderabad, when eight of the top nine reached double figures in the first innings but no-one managed to produce the knock-out blow. At least, on that count, Jaiswal cannot be accused of pulling any punches.
Nevertheless, it was a gutsy display from England’s remarkably lop-sided attack. Having opted for three specialist spinners and just the lone quick, their line was led, perhaps inevitably, by the one man who’s seen it all before. The veteran James Anderson, back in action at the age of 41, put his Ashes struggles behind him with an ageless display of cut and guile. He picked off Shubman Gill for his 691st wicket, and thereby ensured that he has now struck in every single year since his debut in 2003, but his influence was felt in each and every one of his 17 overs across three distinct spells.

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