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Gill and Jurel lead India to fourth Test and series win over England

  • Jurel, Gill clinch victory
  • India secures five-wicket win
  • England misses opportunities

There were turns and uncertainties, with supporters of both teams chewing their fingernails along the way, but England did not pull off a miraculous victory. India achieved their four-day target of 192 in Ranchi to secure a five-wicket win and a commanding three-and-a-half-point series lead with one test remaining.

Considerations of a potential decider in the Himalayan hill station of Dharamshala had begun to circulate two days into the match, with England appearing to be in complete command of their own fate. With seven wickets down and 134 runs in arrears on the first innings, their hosts had squandered an opportunity as good as any a visiting side can get in India.

However, after a disastrous third day in which Dhruv Jurel skilfully marshalled the tail and they collapsed at the hands of India’s spinners, Ben Stokes and his team had begun to diverge. On day four, at 1.38 p.m. local time, Jurel, who was participating in his second Test, interrupted Tom Hartley’s final two runs by fooling him into the leg side.

Jurel and Gill Seal Victory

Handshakes broke out at 37 not out for Jurel, a 23-year-old right-hander whose correct technique evoked thoughts of Virat Kohli. He had contributed 72 runs as part of a match-winning sixth-wicket stand. It was Shubman Gill, who was one year older than his wicketkeeper, who had amassed an unbeaten 52 off 124 deliveries while batting at No 3.

The two individuals had merged at 120 for five after lunch, with Shoaib Bashir, another youth, having dropped consecutive deliveries that dazzled Ravindra Jadeja and Sarfaraz Khan in the 38th over, thereby instigating suspicions of an English theft. The pressure mounted as Jadeja delivered a full delivery to Jonny Bairstow at midwicket and Sarfaraz Khan fidgeted a bat-pad to Ollie Pope at short leg, without a boundary being hit by India since the sixteenth over.

However, after a period of cautious accumulation with Gill, Jurel guided Bashir through cover in the 47th over, breaking the drought and enabling him to score the necessary runs for the target of 50. Ollie Robinson was completely disregarded, and Jimmy Anderson was substituted off the pitch with a reported tense quad muscle injury; Bashir and Tom Hartley were unable to instigate another twist.

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However, after initially attempting to reach the target, it was Gill and Jurel’s responsibility to provide a concluding flourish for their devoted audience. Gill scored his only boundaries by lifting Bashir for two sixes in the 60th over. Bashir concluded the tour with match figures of eight for 198, three of which came on the final day, serving as their primary source of inspiration.

India Overcomes, England Falters

The outcome lived up to initial expectations, although a growing sense of apprehension emerged when Rohit Sharma dismissed Anderson for six from midwicket in the third over of the day. India’s captain, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and the wunderkind resumed 40 runs into the target and issued an early declaration of intent.

Stokes was in control of the situation, taking three wickets in the space of nine overs (two off eight deliveries) to leave the hosts at 100 for three in the 27th over. Not that heads dropped in the middle, though. Anderson initially dismissed Jaiswal for 37 runs off Joe Root via a brilliant catch at backward point, followed by Hartley and Bashir each taking a wicket.

Ben Foakes caught Sharma behind for 55 after the tiniest of nicks indicated it was not a stumping; Hartley’s was a gem; Pope made an additional flying catch under the helmet to dismiss Rajat Patidar for a duck; and Bashir received his first delivery from Pope.

Although England’s two novice spinners approached their captain with unwavering confidence and without ever shaking their heads, they were unable to replicate the level of panic that Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav had generated twenty-four hours earlier.

Had India been striving to surpass the 231 they were unable to do in Hyderabad, the outcome might have been different. As a result, England’s decline to 145 on the third day and Robinson’s fumbled catch from Jurel for 59 runs contributed significantly to his match-changing 90 along the tail. In this match, England had opportunities but India seized them.

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