England dismantle India to win thrilling first Test on day four – as it happened | England in India 2024

Key events

Time for me to leave the laptop, go for a walk and work out what the hell happened today. Thanks for your company, correspondence and expressions of bemused delight. India are still favourites to win this series, but they won’t be able to do it in a hurry. The two sides meet again in Visakhapatnam on Friday, when the OBO will be back around 3am GMT. Ali Martin’s match report from Hyderabad will be with you soon. For now, I leave you with a view of a famous victory that you could only get from the Guardian. See you next weekend.

What a game Test cricket is. Cut to the bone but still a different level to every other format. Its death is a paradigm of dumb consumerism. Money and margins tell you to make a worse product. At the end of which you have money, for a while, and a worse product for ever

— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) January 28, 2024

“One of the things that people don’t really get yet,” says Mark Beadle, “is that this positive approach by England has an effect in the opposition’s mind as well, particularly over a long series. We saw some very skittish reactions from the Aussies after the first couple of Tests.” True. And this time England haven’t made the mistake of going 2-0 down. Today’s result, a narrow win after batting first, is what they would have managed in the first Test of the Ashes had it not been for that fine rearguard action from Pat Cummins.

“One of the most incredible Test matches since Headingley 1981,” says Colum Fordham. “And it had to happen at a city starting with H, Hyderabad, and with the helping hand of Hartley. Happiness!

“Almost time for some hooch to celebrate – actually some fine Italian wine. Hic!”

Andy Zaltzman, as well as being witty, is often wise.

One of the great days in Test cricket history, all round. Two genuinely amazing away wins, two 7-fors for Test rookies, Pope playing one of England’s greatest innings.

— Andy Zaltzman (@ZaltzCricket) January 28, 2024

“Tim,” says Jeroen van Esch, “your comparison is slightly off. Stokes doesn’t do draws, he consider them as losses! Recalculate please!” Ha.

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“I checked the odds half way through India’s first innings,” says James Taylor, “and England were around 40 to 1. Should have had more faith!”

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“Been up since 3am watching this,” says David Bertram. “How do you explain this sort of sport to a non-cricket fan?”

I’m rather hoping that’s a rhetorical question.

This was Ben Stokes’s 20th Test as England captain, and his first in India. He has now won 14 Tests and lost five, so his win-loss ratio is 2.8. Among England captains who have lasted for 20 Tests, that puts him second, behind only Mike Brearley, the guru’s guru.

Brearley captained England in 31 Tests across two spells, winning 18 and losing only four. But then he had some weakened opponents, because of the Kerry Packer schism, and never led England against West Indies, the most fearsome team at the time. Plus, he had Ian Botham in his pomp, whereas the only proper all-rounder Stokes has at his disposal is himself – and he isn’t fit to bowl.

The way Stokes conjured wickets in this game was right up there with Brearley. England’s motley collection of spinners – one rusty, two rookies and a Rooty – took 18 wickets between them. Their opposite numbers, including the great Ashwin and Jadeja, took only 14.

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Here’s the great Rob Smyth, armed with a sense of history. “The last time India and Australia lost simultaneous home Tests,” he reports, “was January 1977, to England and Pakistan respectively. They started on the same day (14 Jan) but finished on different days (18 and 19). The last time they lost at home in the same month was November 2012.”

Three minutes later, he’s back with another email. “I’m 99.94 per cent sure it’s the first time India and Australia ever lost home Tests on the same day. The closest was those games in 1977. Both started on 14 Jan. Pakistan won in four days (plus a rest day) at Sydney; England won in five days (plus rest day) at Chennai.”

Correction! The player of the match is Ollie Pope after all. The cheque Tom Hartley collected a few minutes ago must have been for something else – best recovery from an embarrassing start to a Test career, perhaps.

Here’s Ben Stokes, introduced by Bhogle as “one of the most charismatic people” playing cricket today. Charisma does help a visiting captain in India, as Tony Greig showed in 1976-77. Asked where this game ranks among his triumphs as a captain, Stokes says: “Since I’ve taken the captaincy on, (given) where we are and who we’re playing against, it’s definitely, 100 per cent, our greatest victory. My first time coming out here and being captain in these conditions.”

And he’s not finished with the superlatives. What about Ollie Pope’s 196? “We’ve seen some special innings from Joe Root, but, for me, that was the greatest knock by an Englishman on the subcontinent.”

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And the player-of-the-match award goes to … Tom Hartley. Understandable, but shouldn’t it have been shared with Ollie Pope?

Rohit Sharma is talking to Harsha Bhogle. Asked to say what went wrong, he is generous in defeat: “Exceptional batting – Ollie Pope played a brilliant knock … one of the best I’ve seen in Indian conditions.” He doesn’t feel his bowlers did badly. “We didn’t take some chances with the bat, but it’s (only) the first game of the series.” There’s a subtle warning for England in those words, as they went 1-0 up last time they played a Test series in India, under Joe Root, only to lose 3-1.

No touring side had ever won a Test before in India after falling 100 behind on first innings. The previous record was set by Australia, who overcame a 65-run deficit back in 1964. England have stretched that to 190, so the record is not merely broken, it’s smashed to smithereens.

@TimdeLisle Two extraordinary matches, with incredible individual performances. At its best, Test cricket is unbeatable, a sport of infinite possibility and constant shifting of probability.

— Michael Hann (@MichaelAHann) January 28, 2024

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Another fine precedent.

One of England’s greatest Test wins. Up there with Jamaica 1990, for me. A staggering performance.

— Andy Zaltzman (@ZaltzCricket) January 28, 2024

All that was so exciting that I never gave the final score. Apologies!

India 202 all out (Siraj st Foakes b Hartley 12). England win by 28 runs and India fall to only their fourth defeat in the last 48 home Tests. It’s the greatest fightback ever by a visiting team in India – England were 190 behind on first innings. And it’s a reversal that could have come from Botham’s Ashes, except that England were playing at home then.

And here is the man of the moment, Tom Hartley, proudly wearing his England cap. The first thing he is asked could be a tough one for a northern Englishman – “Please flash your smile” – but he manages to oblige, a little shyly.

What was he thinking after the first innings? “This is hard work!”

What’s it like working with Ben Stokes? “There’s never a dull moment to be honest. I’m always looking round and thinking ‘is there a fielder who wasn’t there last ball?’. But we’ve all bought into it.”

Asked about his batting, which was also crucial to England’s win, Hartley says he was “really nervous” at first. “But getting a few runs always helps. It put my nervousness at ease and told me a few things about the pitch too.”

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A good point.

147 years of Test Cricket and two of the top ten most amazing matches finish within six hours of each other @TimdeLisle.

— Gary Naylor 85 (@garynaylor85) January 28, 2024

Tom Hartley finishes with seven for 62 off 26.2 overs. What a performance. Those are the best figures by an England spinner on Test debut since 1933, when James Langridge took seven for 56 against West Indies at Old Trafford. It’s a triumph for Hartley, for Ollie Pope whose magnum opus made it possible, for Ben Stokes who somehow squeezed 20 wickets out of a flimsy-looking attack, and for the England boss Rob Key, who plucked Hartley from nowhere and picked him because he was tall.

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Siraj couldn’t resist going for a big hit. Hartley turned the ball past his outside edge and Foakes, who has appealed for about eight stumpings in the past few overs, finally gets one.


It’s a stumping! And England have a truly famous victory.

The final scene of a thriller! Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

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69th over: India 202-9 (Bumrah 6, Siraj 12) Stokes takes Rehan off and brings back Mark Wood, who threatens to end the match – not with his bowling, but with his fielding. First he kicks the ball onto the batter’s stumps, a fine finish for a centre-forward, but not quite quick enough to bring a run-out. Then he uses his hand to flick a drive onto the non-striker’s stumps, only to find that Siraj has stayed in his crease. India need another 29, and these two have already added 25 off just 34 balls. One over to go!

After Will Jacks and Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley becomes the third England spinner to claim a five-wicket haul on Test debut under Ben Stokes. Remarkable husbandry from the England captain

— Ali Martin (@Cricket_Ali) January 28, 2024

68th over: India 199-9 (Bumrah 5, Siraj 12) Siraj, facing Hartley, plays a slog-sweep for four! Then Foakes again thinks he’s got a stumping, but after several replays Marais Erasmus decides that Siraj’s back foot was just brushing the ground. Hartley, feeling the tension, bowls a no-ball. Siraj plays a flick into the leg side and takes on Stokes’s arm, which is bold, but he just scrambles back for two. The crowd are making a fabulous noise now, the sound of 20,000 people whooping in unison. India need another 32.

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67th over: India 191-9 (Bumrah 5, Siraj 5) Rehan continues, which is brave from Stokes as he no longer has many runs to play with. Bumrah, mostly befuddled, manages a slog for two. Foakes appeals for another stumping, again in vain. It’s all not happening.

66th over: India 189-9 (Bumrah 3, Siraj 5) Bumrah, facing the demon Hartley, tries to play a big pull, misses and then does a little dance of frustration. Foakes spots this, whips off the bails and appeals for a stumping. Bumrah’s foot is just back down on the ground. That would have been a fitting end to this improbable drama.

65th over: India 188-9 (Bumrah 2, Siraj 5) The floodlights are on and the rabbits are threatening to get caught in them. As Stokes feels confident enough to bring back Rehan, Siraj flails and edges, flamboyantly, but the ball eludes Ben Duckett at backward point. Just for good measure, Siraj does it again, with the same result. Rehan tries the googly, deceiving Siraj but also defeating Ben Foakes, who lets the ball through for four byes. India need another 43. England need one wicket.

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64th over: India 180-9 (Bumrah 2, Siraj 3) So India have nothing left up their sleeve bar their two rabbits. They may as well be positive and they are, helping themselves to five runs off the last four balls of Hartley’s over. But his figures (now 6-53) are the best by an Englishman on Test debut in India since another left-armer, John Lever, took 7-46 in 1976-77.

Ashwin suddenly changed his strategy, charging down the track in search of a big hit. All he managed was a big miss and a generous gift to Ben Foakes, who gleefully completed an easy stumping. Tom Hartley has six for 48. And it’s another little triumph for Ben Stokes, who had just decided to take the extra half-hour to press for a win tonight.

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WICKET! Ashwin st Foakes b Hartley 28 (India 177-9)

One brings two! And Hartley has a six-for!!

63rd over: India 177-8 (Ashwin 28, Bumrah 0) Root comes straight back, replacing Leach. It’s partly because Leach is creaking and partly because Root nabbed Bumrah in the first innings for a golden duck.

62nd over: India 176-8 (Ashwin 27, Bumrah 0) That was another fine bowling change from Stokes, who took Root off to give Hartley one more spell before the close. He even gave him two slips, who were standing so close together that they could hold hands if they’d felt like it. Bowlers need captains to show faith in them, and here that faith has been rewarded with a five-for from a bowler who was spanked all round the field on the first day.

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This was a beauty. The ball from Hartley was angled in, pitching on middle, maybe even middle-and-leg, and it turned sharply to hit the top of off. He may look like Christopher Cazenove, but he’s bowling like Monty Panesar at his peak.

WICKET!! Bharat b Hartley 28 (India 176-8)

The breakthrough! And a five-wicket haul, on debut, for Tom Hartley!

Tom Hartley does it again! Photograph: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters

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Fifty partnership!

61st over: India 173-7 (Bharat 28, Ashwin 24) Rehan goes off, understandably, but his replacement, Jack Leach, is just as pricey. Perhaps stiff from that sore knee, he starts with a wide and then drops too short to Ashwin, who loves the cut and cashes in with a two and a four. Up comes the fifty partnership, now 54 in 20.4 overs, so these two have batted for a third of the innings. They’ve done so well, first steadying the ship, then grabbing the wheel. India need only 58 more.

“Being Australian,” says Rowan in Hobart, “I’ve never barracked for England before, but this has been a wonderful and inspiring performance by England in conditions that are pitch perfect for India (pun intended). And to add to my apparent confusion, I found myself incredibly pleased for the Windies and their fantastic fighting spirit – for such an inexperienced team as the current Windies group to beat Australia at home in a Test match is a sensational achievement.
Great contests are irresistible.”

60th over: India 164-7 (Bharat 27, Ashwin 17) Root returns in place of Hartley and the batters pick up three singles. It’s been noticeable all game that the Indians have treated England’s senior players with exaggerated respect, the new boys not so much (until Hartley demanded it with his stirring start to this innings). Makes you wonder what Jimmy’s figures might have been… 24-15-21-2, maybe.

“Hartley actor?” says David Cross, not wasting his words. “Christopher Cazenove?” Good call.

59th over: India 161-7 (Bharat 25, Ashwin 16) Rehan is making things happen, as advertised, but not in the manner Stokes was hoping for. He tosses one up and Bharat, out of his shell now, whacks it over mid-on for four. Bharat has scored 14 off 14 balls from Rehan, only 11 off 41 from everyone else. India need 70. It’s torture, in a glorious way.

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58th over: India 155-7 (Bharat 20, Ashwin 15) Suddenly the batters are living more dangerously. First there could be a run-out, if Pope’s throw was a better one, and then there’s another edge from Bharat from another failed attempt to leave the ball. It drops short of Root, who makes a fine stop by diving from slip to the vacant gully. Not for the first time, Bharat shows some resilience by following a narrow escape with an attacking shot, a thump for two to midwicket.

57th over: India 153-7 (Bharat 18, Ashwin 15) The home crowd have been getting noisier as the shadows lengthen and now they have something to cheer as Rehan drops short and Bharat cuts for four. That’s his first boundary off his 41st ball, and he picks up another one inadvertently as he tries to get out of the way of a lifter and gets a toe-end that flies over Root at slip. India need to make another 78. They couldn’t, could they?

Bharat and Ashwin, eking out a few too many singles for England’s liking. Photograph: Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

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56th over: India 144-7 (Bharat 9, Ashwin 15) Hartley continues and keeps Ashwin honest with a maiden. But these two batters have quietly done very well, hanging in there for 15 overs, chipping out 25 runs and reducing the target to 87.

And here’s Colum Fordham, striking a cultured note. “Just been marvelling at the sculptural feats of Phydias in an exhibition,” he says, “but when I glanced at the OBO, my jaw dropped even further. Ye gods! By Athena, Zeus and Minerva, what a victory this would be for England! I can Hartley believe it. Sorry.”

55th over: India 144-7 (Bharat 9, Ashwin 15) Right on cue! Wood gives way to Rehan, a cricketer in Stokes’s own image – all-rounder, good fielder, strong character, makes things happen. He bowls one ball in this over that could easily take a wicket, an over-spinner (I think) that turns into a rip-snorter, almost a bouncer. Bharat does well to get his nose out of the way.

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54th over: India 143-7 (Bharat 9, Ashwin 14) Hartley lures Bharat into an edge, but his hands are soft and the ball falls short of Root at slip. As this partnership stretches to an hour or so, Stokes needs to do something. He may want to bring Rehan Ahmed back before it’s too late to risk him.

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53rd over: India 142-7 (Bharat 9, Ashwin 13) While we’re on the subject of unlikely roles, Wood seems to be England’s stock bowler. He bowls a maiden to Bharat and has now gone for just 14 in seven overs. India need another 89.

52nd over: India 142-7 (Bharat 9, Ashwin 13) Root gets a breather as Hartley returns. In the first innings, one of the commentators is saying, he had the most expensive figures from a Test debutant (25-0-131-2). I suspect that’s the most expensive for England, rather than for all-comers, but the point stands – in a spectacular transformation, Hartley now has a majestic 19-4-42-4. He may look like a posh English actor from the 1970s, but the role he has been cast in is a humble one: Cinderella.

51st over: India 140-7 (Bharat 9, Ashwin 11) Wood shows why he got the nod from Stokes by finding some reverse swing, but it’s fairly mild and Ashwin can handle it. A few minutes ago a caption informed us that when India do lose a home Test, the average spin is more pronounced than when they win. A Bunsen burner can turn even a modest spinner into a menace.

“Incredible performance by Shamar Joseph in the other Test,” says Simon Gates, “but didn’t Australia hand it to them with their first-innings declaration? I seem to remember England doing something similar recently…”

50th over: India 138-7 (Bharat 9, Ashwin 10) As the shadow of a large stand creeps towards the crease, Root bowls to Ashwin, one off-spinner to another. Five dots and then a two, cut past cover, to take Ashwin into double figures. He is a good enough batter to win this, but he will need sterling support from Bharat, with only Bumrah and Siraj to come.

“Evening Tim,” says Phil Withall, “from an oppressively humid Queensland. I woke this morning to the news that Tooting and Mitcham United had won 5-0 and Ipswich Town had been knocked out of the FA Cup by Maidstone. Then the Australians were magnificently beaten by an inspired West Indies performance. Now England are on the cusp of an unlikely victory. All I need to reach sporting nirvana is for Norwich to beat Liverpool in the early hours of tomorrow morning and I may well have had the greatest sporting day of my life.”

49th over: India 136-7 (Bharat 8, Ashwin 7) Stokes replaces Leach with Mark Wood, although he doesn’t give him a slip. Where is he expecting a wicket to come from? Maybe clean-bowled, with a yorker, or chipped to mid-off, with a cutter. Neither materialises, although Wood does keep the pressure on by allowing only two singles. India need 95. These two batters have steadied the ship, surviving for 8.4 overs so far, without bothering England too much.

Ravichandran Ashwin plays a defensive stroke just past Ollie Pope at silly mid-off. Photograph: Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

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48th over: India 134-7 (Bharat 8, Ashwin 7) Root continues and goes up for a big appeal against Bharat. It was a good ball, and Bharat flirted with danger by playing no stroke, but Stokes decides against the review. He feels it was too high and he’s right. The pitch may be a turner, and two-paced, but it’s not dead. Bharat bites back with a slog for two into the wide open spaces beyond midwicket, where the ball is collected by the sub fielder, Jimmy Anderson. Remember him?

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Drinks! England in charge (whisper it)

At drinks England’s ropey attack are right on top, with four wickets in the hour since tea – one of them a sensational run-out from Ben Stokes, who has juggled his resources in masterful fashion. Can he finish the job? Can India really lose a home Test for only the fourth time in the last 47? Time will tell. England could win it this evening, whereas India need to take the game into the fifth day.

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47th over: India 131-7 (Bharat 5, Ashwin 7) Leach drops short and Ashwin rocks back to cut for four. That’s the first boundary for 54 balls and only the second off the bat in 20 overs. India need exactly 100.

“Have just come home from walking the dog,” says Diana Luther Powell, “to see this bemusing scorecard. Ashwin – well, we all know what he can do … I can always take the dog out again!” Ha. So you don’t take the phone with you on the dog walk?

46th over: India 125-7 (Bharat 4, Ashwin 2) Stokes gives Hartley a breather. With the batter just trying to survive, this could be the moment to recall Rehan Ahmed, who bowled one over for 13 earlier. But Stokes, who does sometimes play it safe, brings back Root, the man he trusted with the new ball today. He concedes a couple of singles.

45th over: India 123-7 (Bharat 3, Ashwin 1) Leach almost gets through Ashwin with a dart that only turns a little, Axar-style, but Ashwin is going right back and he just has time to jab the bat down on it. India need another 108.

“If England see this through today, after trailing by 190 on first innings,” says Simon McMahon, “it’ll be up there with the great Test victories. That would make two of them on the same day, after events in Brisbane earlier. Now, can Manchester United Newport County make it a hat-trick of underdog upsets in the FA Cup later?” Ha.

44th over: India 122-7 (Bharat 2, Ashwin 1) Another over of five dots and a single, from Hartley this time. And here’s Richard Sandall with a question for you. “Who else gets up in the morning,” he wonders, “and does a one-hand squinty poke to get to page 1 of the OBO without seeing the score? Real jeopardy, accelerated. And joyful this morning!”

43rd over: India 121-7 (Bharat 1, Ashwin 1) Leach, playing through the pain of a bruised knee, keeps the pressure on with an over that goes for just a single. He’s bowled seven overs in the innings now, finding plenty of turn and taking one for 17. “This team,” says Kevin Pietersen, “is so together.”

42nd over: India 120-7 (Bharat 0, Ashwin 1) Stokes gets something wrong now as Hartley and Foakes persuade him to review for caught behind against Ashwin. The ump shook his head and UltraEdge backs him up, showing no spike as Ashwin attempts a sweep, so England lose a review.

41st over: India 120-7 (Bharat 0, Ashwin 1) Not content with pulling off an inspired run-out, Stokes continues to switch his bowlers craftily. An attack that looked unspeakable at the start of the match – one seamer, one rusty spinner, two rookies and a Rooty – is looking unplayable now.

“If I’m honest,” says Will Vignoles, “this has already slightly exceeded my expectation for the tour given the horror show last time out. If England do win, will people finally accept that maybe Stokes and McCullum know a bit about what they’re doing?

“Also what a performance from the West Indies, wrapped up to one of nature’s great sounds – Ian Smith going berserk.” Ha.

Stokes replaced Root with Leach – and off his second ball, Leach persuaded Shreyas to guide the ball straight into Root’s hands at slip! For an attacking batter, that was rather a tame dismissal. India need 112; England need just three wickets.

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WICKET! Shreyas c Root b Leach 13 (India 119-7)

Another one!

Jack Leach gets in on the act! Incredible cricket from England. Photograph: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters

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40th over: India 119-6 (Shreyas 13, Bharat 0) Jadeja went off feeling his hamstring, which could be even worse news for India, adding injury to insult. And his dismissal means that India have only one experienced batter left, in Ashwin. Surprisingly, they don’t send him out now, so for the moment India’s fate is in the hands of two relative novices, Shreyas in his 13th Test and Srikar Bharat in his sixth. Mind you, they are facing a fellow rookie in Tom Hartley, who bowls a maiden to Bharat, finding plenty of turn. He has the figures of his dreams: 16-3-40-4.

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