Who else but Ben Stokes has saved England once again from what could have been a below-average batting performance in India? The dark cloud must have loomed, and bad memories of World Cup 2023 must be haunting England. This is a test match, but England have failed to make any supreme mark of confidence.
Glass half full or empty, England must be thinking they have done enough because at one moment at 137/6, it looked all over, but Ben Stokes rescued the sinking English ship. England properly batted well in the last few overs, reaching 246.
It was a hot and cold innings from English batters. A few of them got key starts, but unfortunately, none of them could make it count. A couple of 30s and 40s don’t help you to post a good total in test cricket. Such was the case with the English batting order.
Only Ben Stokes looked fluent. Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett provided a good start, scoring runs at a good rate in a dominant fashion. As soon as spin was introduced, things became tricky, and England lost three wickets in the space of 20 balls and 5 runs.
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England batters were quite confident against pacers; their defense and attack looked solid. However, when spinners came, it appeared that they fell behind the game. Everything looked exaggerated to them: the spin and bounce.
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin looked threatening, and there is no doubt in that, but England had no understanding of how to build a positive innings. They were stuck in extreme defense and attack, nothing in between with confidence.
This is the first match of a 5-match Test series, so there is still some time left to learn and evolve, but it appears that they have already given the home side a massive advantage.
England have to strengthen their game against spinners, or else, things will only go downhill for them. For now, India is way ahead in the game, having a motoring start after bundling out England for 246 runs.