England stun India in thrilling 28-run victory in first Test in Hyderabad

England beat India by 28 runs in the first cricket Test in Hyderabad as Hartley takes seven wickets on debut.

Cricket - First Test - India v England - Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad, India - January 28, 2024 England's Tom Hartley celebrates after taking the wicket of India's Srikar Bharat REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
England's Tom Hartley celebrates after taking the wicket of India's Srikar Bharat [Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters]

Ollie Pope and Tom Hartley scripted a remarkable turnaround for England to set up a thrilling 28-run win in the first Test match against India.

England’s win at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday was hailed as one of their “greatest ever” and gives them a 1-0 lead in the five-match cricket series.

India had looked to be in the box seat after taking a lead of 190 in their first innings, but Pope’s epic innings of 196 runs 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 slow left-arm bowler 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.

India captain Rohit Sharma’s 39 was the top score by an Indian batter in the second innings as the hosts lost 4-24 in a mid-innings collapse.

Ravichandran Ashwin (28) and Srikar Bharat (28) added 57 runs for the eighth wicket to try to take the match into its final day, but that was not to be.

The match went into the extra half hour of the day with both sides closing on victory and India trying to avoid only a fourth home defeat in 47 Tests.

England captain Ben Stokes said he was “incredibly proud” of the performance.

“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,” he told TNT Sports after the match.

“We’ve got four Tests left. It’s about backing up this performance now. We know that India are going to come back hard at us. They are an incredibly tough team, but if we can keep standing up to them, it’s a good sign for us.

“It’s very early days, we are very proud to be 1-0 up, but there is a long way to go.”

‘Stunning win’

Former England spinner Graeme Swann hailed the result as a “stunning win” for the visitors and termed Pope’s innings “magnificent.”

Cricket writer Andy Zaltzman said it was one of England’s greatest Test wins, while former fast bowler Derek Pringle made a reference to England’s coach Brendon McCullum and said it “continues to defy convention.”

Former England spinner Robert Croft said the hosts may be regretting the type of surface they produced at Hyderabad.

“It will be interesting to see if India stick with pitches that turn this much as it brings spinners of all levels into the game,” he said in a post on X.

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

India remain without the services of Virat Kohli, who announced he would miss the first two Tests of the series due to personal reasons.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies