|Second Test, Visakhapatnam (day one of five):
|India 336-6: (Jaiswal 179*; Ahmed 2-61, Bashir 2-100)
|England: Yet to bat
England admirably clung on to India, despite Yashasvi Jaiswal making a sublime century on the opening day of the second Test in Visakhapatnam.
Opener Jaiswal batted throughout the day for his 179, leading the home side to 336-6.
The left-hander’s knock prevented India, 1-0 down after losing a thrilling first Test, from completely wasting their advantage of winning the toss and batting first on a good pitch.
Jaiswal shared in three separate partnerships in excess of 50, but his team-mates wasted starts. The six men dismissed were all out for between 14 and 34.
Shoaib Bashir, the 20-year-old on debut, was the best of England’s four spinners and picked up his maiden Test wicket when Rohit Sharma was caught at leg slip.
James Anderson, now into his 22nd consecutive year as a Test cricketer, bowled brilliantly as the sole seamer and claimed the wicket of Shubman Gill.
Bashir nipped in late in the day for his second, having Axar Patel caught at point, then Rehan Ahmed did the same to KS Bharat to leave England with real hope of limiting India to something manageable.
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England battle through day in the dirt
If England’s win in Hyderabad was remarkable, then this long day in the field was more typical of a tour of India. For the tourists to take six wickets perhaps means they had the better of it.
Bar Anderson, this England attack is vastly inexperienced. This was only the second time in Test history that England have had two bowlers – Ahmed and Bashir – under the age of 21.
And yet, England stuck to their task. There was the occasional bad ball and error in the field, but it says much about their spirit they were able to chip away at the other end, while Jaiswal compiled his masterful knock.
Perhaps mindful of the wasteful way they batted in the first innings in Hyderabad, India ground it out, often below three runs an over. One wonders how England might have approached their batting in such conditions.
The pitch currently seems true, with the potential to deteriorate quickly later in the match. When England come to bat, they must make their first innings count.
Ultimately, India were indebted to Jaiswal and, even despite his knock, England could yet run through the lower-order and then bat well enough to earn a first-innings lead.
Latest step on Jaiswal’s rise to superstardom
Jaiswal is the rising star of Indian cricket, one with a backstory to match his incredible talent. At the age of 12 he moved to Mumbai to further his cricket and sold street food to get by.
Spotted by a coach playing at one of the famous maidans, he was set on a course to be player of the tournament at the 2020 Under-19 World Cup, after which he signed a huge deal to play for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
Now he is illuminating the Test format. This was his second hundred in only his sixth Test, laced with handsome strokes through the off side. Two of his four sixes were glorious lofts over extra cover and another, over long-on off Tom Hartley, took Jaiswal to three figures.
Bar a flurry of 41 runs off 30 balls in the run-up to his century, Jaiswal’s scoring was measured. He added 90 with Shreyas Iyer and 70 with debutant Rajat Patidar. Joe Root, at slip, got fingertips on flashing edges when Jaiswal had 73 and 155.
When Axar somehow cut Bashir to point deep into the evening session, England had the opportunity to make it their day.
KS Bharat arrived and attacked but he too fell to a loose one from Ahmed, leaving Ravichandran Ashwin to support Jaiswal to the close.
Bashir’s bright start
Bashir’s route to Test cricket matches the romance of Jaiswal’s. Released by Surrey and picked up by Somerset, he was playing club cricket last summer. After being spotted on Twitter by Ben Stokes he was identified as an option for this tour, but a visa delay meant him he did not arrive until Sunday.
Even then, Bashir was comfortably England’s best spinner, showing just why he was given a debut after only six first-class matches. He needed less than four overs to find the turn that persuaded Rohit Sharma to push to leg slip and the 20-year-old celebrated with a howl to the sky.
In contrast to Bashir’s youthfulness, 41-year-old Anderson is the oldest seamer to ever play a Test in India. He was excellent throughout – controlled, skilful and miserly. He drew Gill into an edge behind.
Hartey could not match his heroics of Hyderabad, but at least had Shreyas brilliantly taken off an under-edge by Ben Foakes. Root opened the bowling but bowled like a batter, while Ahmed was tidy enough when he was finally used, causing Patidar to play on.
England could have flagged as Jaiswal and Axar inched on, but Bashir was rewarded for his persistence, with one of his worst deliveries claiming the wicket of Axar.
Ahmed’s dismissal of Bharat was almost a carbon copy and, with the lower order exposed, England have the second new ball available on Saturday should they require it.