Sterling bowling performance by Ashwin bring India back into the game: By claiming the wickets of the debutant centurion Keaton Jennings, Joe Root, Moeen Ali and the wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow, the Indian offie, Ravichandran Ashwin brought India back into the game in the fourth and the penultimate Test match of the ongoing series against Englland, being played at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
Winning the toss and electing to bat, the visitors went off to a good start given by their skipper, Alistair Cook and Jennings, who replaced the injured Hameed.
Being handed over the Test cap by the legendary Ian Botham, the young Jennings survived a scare in the fourth over when he was dropped by Karun Nair in the gully when he (Jennings) tried to keep low an Umesh Yadav delivery but failed to do so. The ball came off high of the bat and flew towards gully. It was a difficult chance.
Having recovered from the shock the youngster added 99 runs for the first wicket alongwith Cook (46, 60b, 5*4).
In the 26th over the left-arm spinner, Ravindra Jadeja, bowled one short of the length that sharply turned. Cook came out of the crease to meet the ball but was beaten. An alert and agile Parthiv Patel from behind the stumps was quick enough to gather the ball and dislodge the stumps before Cook could retrace his steps.
The batsman ‘in form’, Joe Root was done in by Ashwin in the 39th over when Root was lured to drive an ‘outside the off stump’ delivery but ended up in giving a catch to the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli in the slips. Kohli had to move to his left to convert the difficult chance.
At the stage of 136 runs for the loss of 2 wickets, Moeen Ali joined Jennings in the middle. The duo added another valuable 94 runs for the third wicket.
In the process, Jennings reached his maiden Test century that came in 186 balls with 12 hits to the fence and became the 19th English batsman to notch up a maiden Test ton.
However in the 71st over, Moeen Ali, trying to sweep an Ashwin delivery, succeeded only in getting a top edge and ended up giving a simple catch to Karun Nair in the midwicket region.
Ali scored 50 runs off 14 balls with the help of 4 fours and a six.
Two deliveries later in the same over, Jennings, who was drawn forward by Ashwin, with a good length delivery outside the off stump, ended in getting a thick edge and the ball flew to Cheteshwar Pujara at deep gully, who took a very low catch.
Jennings’ brilliant innings (but for one flaw early on) came to an end but not before he scored 112 runs off 219 deliveries studded with 13 hits to the ropes and became Ashwin’s third victim.
The team score at this stage was 230 runs for the loss of 4 wickets.
Ashwin further went on to pick up the wicket of Jonny Bairstow (14) in the 81st over of the innings.
With no further loss, England ended the day with 288 runs for the loss of 5 wickets.
Ravichandran Ashwin ended the day with the figures of 28-3-75-4 while Jadeja, the other wicket-taker, finished with the numbers of 20-3-60-1.
The young debutant centurion Jennings, speaking at the day’s end of play said, “Couldn”t be happier, couldn”t be prouder. A life early on, got the beans going. Just chatting to my uncle, trying to approach like I would any other game. Woke up at 5 am this morning, thinking I missed the bus. No video, try to chat with other batters to see what it”s like. After lunch, it started to turn. Virat”s captaincy was superb.”
First day honours was shared equally between the two teams, with England getting the runs with a centurion in the ranks and Ashwin bringing back India into the game with a ‘four-wicket’ haul.