Stokes describes England's first Test triumph over India as 'greatest victory'

The tourists bounced back from a 190-run first-innings deficit to claim a 28-run victory in Hyderabad

By Reuters

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Englands Ben Foakes celebrates with Tom Hartley, Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow after stumping out India's Mohammed Siraj to win the first Test - Reuters
Englands Ben Foakes celebrates with Tom Hartley, Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow after stumping out India's Mohammed Siraj to win the first Test - Reuters

Published: Sun 28 Jan 2024, 4:30 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2024, 11:37 PM

Test skipper Ben Stokes described England's first Test triumph over India on Sunday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad as their "greatest victory."

Since Stokes assumed the role of skipper in 2022, the Three Lions with coach Brendon McCullum at the helm, conceptualised the 'Bazball' approach which took red ball cricket by storm.

On Sunday, OOllie Pope and Tom Hartley scripted a remarkable turnaround and set up England's thrilling 28-run victory.

India had looked to be in the box seat after taking a lead of 190 but Pope's epic 196 resuscitated England, who posted 420 all out in their second innings to roar back into the contest.

That left the hosts needing 231 to win the match but Hartley's 7-62 in his debut test wrecked India, who were all out for 202 in an extended final session on the penultimate day.

"Incredibly proud," England captain Ben Stokes said of their remarkable fightback against India, who have not lost a Test series at home since 2012.

"Before the series started, we knew how much of a beast India are at home but the way we responded to being so far behind, it was testament to everything we have said and lived and breathed over the last two years."

The second match of the five-Test series, in Visakhapatnam, begins on Friday.

"Since I've taken the captaincy on, where we are and who we're playing against, it's 100 per cent our greatest victory," Stokes said..

Ollie Pope with his reverse sweep and 196 unravelled India's experienced spinners and laid the foundation of an unprecedented comeback.

With the ball, debutant Tom Hartley, earned the plaudits as he ran through India's batting set-up and ended with the figure of 7-62.

"Absolutely thrilled for everyone, Tom Hartley nine wickets, Ollie Pope first Test back after shoulder surgery,: added Stokes.

:Tom came into the squad for the first time, he's heard a lot and had a lot of confidence [instilled]. I was willing to give him a long spell regardless of what happened [in the first innings].

"Whether that was the reason he got seven wickets and won us the game, who knows? [Pope] Seen some special innings from Joe Root, but the whole innings on a difficult wicket, for me that's the greatest innings by an Englishman on the subcontinent," Stokes said.

Coming to the day's action, Pope's blitz helped England set a tricky target of 231. In reply, India batters strived hard after losing a handful of wickets in patches. The lower order showed patience with Ravichandran Ashwin and KS Bharat taking the fight against the spinners.

However, Hartley's spin proved to be a challenge that they could not overcome and ended up suffering a 28-run defeat.

"Overall, we failed as a team. We didn't bat well enough," said Indian skipper Rohit Sharma.

"I wanted them (Siraj and Bumrah) to take the game to the fifth day. The lower order fought really well there. You need to be brave enough, which I thought we weren't."

The five-match Test series is expected to conclude on March 7 after matches at various locations in India including Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi, and Dharamsala.

The last time England won a Test series in India was in 2012, under the captaincy of Alastair Cook.

What is the full fixture list and schedule?

Remaining matches

2nd Test: February 2–6, Visakhapatnam (4am start)

3rd Test: February 15–19, Rajkot (4am start)

4th Test: February 23-27, Ranchi (4am start)

5th Test: March 7–11, Dharamsala (4am start)

Brief scores

India: First innings 436 all out & Second innings 202 all out

England: First innings 246 all outn & Second innings 420 all out

England win by 28 runs

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