Ollie Pope saluted "lucky charm" Aaron Ramsdale following his impressive century against West Indies.

Pope struck 121 from 165 deliveries at Trent Bridge as England began the second Test of their series against the Windies in dominant fashion.

Arsenal goalkeeper Ramsdale was a guest of Gunners fan Pope on Thursday, having also watched his double century against Ireland last year.

And after his sixth Test century helped England to 416 all out, the 26-year-old feels Ramsdale, who was part of the Three Lions squad that reached the Euro 2024 final, is a lucky omen.

"He messaged me last night and I managed to sort him a couple of tickets. He can come more often," Pope said.

"I'm obviously a big Arsenal fan, so I go to support him a fair bit. He seems to be my lucky charm on the cricket pitch as well."

Pope opened 2024 with a superb 196 against India in Hyderabad, but scored over 30 just once in the subsequent four Tests of the tour, while a contribution of 63 was his best for Surrey in this season's County Championship.

The 26-year-old was left questioning his ability, but highlighted the influence of England batting coach Marcus Trescothick on his upturn in fortunes in this series.

"I wouldn’t say I had doubts," Pope added, "but I was thinking: 'why is everyone else in the country scoring runs in county cricket, but England's number three isn't going out and averaging 50?'

"[Marcus] came to London, and we did some really good work, which has put me in really good stead for the Test summer."

To say West Indies were put to the sword might sound cliche, but that is exactly what transpired on day one of their second Test against England at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

Much like West Indies batsmen had no response to Gus Atkinson's precision in the first Test at Lord's, the Caribbean side's bowlers did little to slow England's batting onslaught on this occasion, though it was not for a lack of trying. This, as several chances were squandered in the field, and England rode their wave of fortune to post a daunting 416 all out.

Ollie Pope, who was dropped twice on 46 and 54 by Jason Holder and Alick Athanaze, plundered 121 from 165 deliveries. His knock, which had 15 boundaries and a solitary six, was backed by Ben Duckett's 59-ball 71 and captain Ben Stokes, who made 69.

Alzarri Joseph got three for 98, as Kavem Hodge (2-44), Jayden Seales (2-90), and Kevin Sinclair (2-73), a late addition for Gudakesh Motie, who woke up feeling ill, picked up the other wickets.

With the batsmen having done their part, the England bowlers will be basking in the prospects of possibly ending this contest within three days and taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Scores: England 416 all out (88.3 overs)

After winning the toss, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was optimistic of an improved bowling performance, and he would have relished his decision when Alzarri Joseph removed Zak Crawley with the third ball of the innings. However, Pope and Duckett pelted the boundary in a 105-run second wicket stand, but that was eventually broken when Shamar Joseph had the latter caught by Holder, who took four catches in total.

Joe Root (14) and Harry Brook (36) had brief stays in the middle, but Stokes and Pope added a further 80 runs for the fifth wicket to keep West Indies pinned against the proverbial ropes.

Pope was inevitably removed by Alzarri Joseph with England at 281-5, while Stokes' entertaining knock was ended by Kavem Hodge.

Jamie Smith (36) and Chris Woakes (37) chipped in with quickfire scores too, with Shoaib Bashir's dismissal in the final over of play bookending a fantastic first day for England.

Data Debrief: Speedy Duckett into the history books

Duckett needed just 32 deliveries to reach a half-century, as he kept up a pace mostly seen in T20Is.

It is the third-quickest 50 for England in their Test history, with Duckett drawing level with Ian Botham's effort against New Zealand in 1986. 

Jonny Bairstow is second on that list (30 v New Zealand in 2022), with the legendary Botham leading the way (28 v India in 1981).

“The guys are ready to go.”

That is the declaration from West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite, as his team targets a significantly improved batting performance in the second Test against England at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

After being hammered by an innings and 114 runs in the opening contest at Lord’s last week, West Indies require a win to not only level the three-match series but, more importantly, to lift their spirits and hopes of pulling off a series win in England for the first time since 1988. Whether they will produce an efficient enough performance to achieve the feat is left to be seen.

The Caribbean side only managed scores of 121 and 136 across both innings, while England only required one innings for their match-winning 371.

Despite that, Brathwaite backed his inexperienced batting line-up to bounce back, as the past few days have harboured much talk about their famous comeback against Australia in Gabba earlier this year.

"Obviously, it is a young team, and playing any Test match would always be a challenge for anyone that’s young. We’ve been here for a number of weeks now, and what is gone is gone. The first defeat is gone, the preparation period is gone, and I think the guys are in very good spirits, and mentally, it’s very important to believe in yourself,” Brathwaite said during a pre-game conference. 

“The guys are ready to go. It’s pretty simple what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to bat a lot better. Obviously, we’ve got to find a way, which we’ve had some discussions around different things we can do better as a team. We’ve just got to put runs on the board. It’s simple,” he added.

Brathwaite takes a break after a training session. (Getty Images)

With only debutant Mikyle Louis (27), Kavem Hodge (24) and Alick Athanaze (23), Jason Holder, and Gudakesh Motie (31) offering very little resistance in the first Test, Brathwaite believes the disappointment should serve as motivation for his team heading into the second encounter.

“We have a motivation – we’ve got to be better than the first Test. The batsmen have to obviously put runs on the board and that’s our focus. I think once we remain disciplined, session by session, build partnerships that will put us in a good position in the overall result of the game. A few guys did get in but didn’t go on,” Brathwaite reasoned.

He continued: “It’s just important that you go on for longer because the longer you bat, the easier it becomes, and it’s important to stay in that plan for as long as possible.  Obviously, you want to put away bad balls – that’s what every batsman wants to do – but it’s that hard work you do for 40 minutes, being able to take that to an hour and two hours.

“It’s a mixture of putting away the bad balls because when you put away the bad balls, it gives you confidence, so we just have to keep learning. I think a lot of learning would’ve taken place in the first Test, and we just have to believe in our ability and do it for longer periods.”

While he has been scrutinised for failing to lead from the front at the top of the order, Brathwaite argued that his lean spell has little to do with his captaincy.

The Barbadian, who is the most experienced player in the team with 90 Tests under his belt, has only tallied a paltry 44 runs in his last six innings.

“I enjoy captaining, I enjoy leading. I’ve been opening my whole life, so when I go out there to bat, it’s always to see off that new ball and be there as long as I can—that’s always my focus. I don’t see it as any added pressure. Yes, at times you don’t get runs, and it can be a little bit tough, but it is important to stay mentally tough and keep believing,” Brathwaite ended.

West Indies coach Andre Coley has challenged his team to draw upon their resilience from earlier this year as they gear up for the second Test against England, starting on Thursday. Following a heavy defeat by an innings at Lord's, Coley is urging his players to channel the fighting spirit they displayed in Australia, where they turned their series around with a remarkable victory.

In January, the West Indies suffered a crushing 10-wicket defeat in the first Test at Adelaide Oval. However, they bounced back dramatically in the second Test at the Gabba, thanks to Shamar Joseph's sensational seven-wicket haul in the second innings. As they prepare for the second Test at Trent Bridge, Coley is confident his team can draw inspiration from that experience and set the stage for a thrilling decider at Edgbaston.

Reflecting on the Gabba Test, Coley said, "The way we bounced back was powerful. It shows that even if you start poorly, you can compose yourself and come back strong in a series. That's the mindset we need to carry into this second Test."

Despite the defeat at Lord's, Coley believes his team has learned valuable lessons. "We've had time to acclimatize and get time in the middle. Yes, the result at Lord's wasn't what we wanted, but there's a lot to learn from it. This is a young, emerging side, and we're positive about our approach to the second Test."

Coley emphasized the importance of intensity and longer partnerships from his batters. "We need to show more intensity in the field and put together longer partnerships. There were moments in the game where we showed grit, but we need to be consistent. Our bowlers did well to restrict England, and now it's up to our batters to build on that."

The coach also highlighted the importance of mental and emotional resilience. "Test cricket is challenging, especially away from home. Our players need to be mentally and emotionally prepared. We have it within our ranks to compete with England, and we need to believe in our abilities."

Coley is confident his team can rise to the occasion. "We know the conditions will be testing, but we have the talent and the spirit to compete. Our players are in good spirits, and we're ready to take on the challenge at Trent Bridge."

As the West Indies prepare for the crucial second Test, Coley's message is clear: with the right mindset and determination, they can bounce back and keep their series hopes alive.

Joe Root labelled James Anderson as England's greatest bowler but insisted the future is bright following Gus Atkinson's sensational debut against West Indies. 

Anderson called time on his international career at Lord's on Friday, taking four wickets on his final appearance as Ben Stokes' team embark on a new era without the legendary seamer.

While replacing Anderson, who took 704 wickets in total, is an unenviable task, Atkinson shone for England after becoming the 19th male player to take 10 wickets on his Test match debut against the West Indies. 

Atkinson's figures of 12-106 were the fourth best any player has managed in their first Test, having only made his white-ball debuts in both T20Is and ODIs over the past 12 months.

"I think the future does look very bright in the bowling department," Root said.

"We've lost our greatest ever bowler but for Gus to come in and do that shows a lot about where we are as a team. We are moving in the right direction."

With two more Tests against the Windies and a three-match series against Sri Lanka scheduled for later in the summer, Root is already looking ahead to the highly anticipated Ashes clash with Australia next year.

England will be aiming for their first series win over Australia since 2015, and Root believes Atkinson could emerge as a key figure in those conditions.

"I think as a player, the Ashes is the series that you're always looking forward to, they're the ones you're always building towards.

"When teams have gone out there, what they need for those conditions is someone like Gus that can bowl in the late 80mphs, early 90mphs, and still move the ball around and make things happen at high pace."

Root, who has played 110 matches alongside Anderson, only behind Stuart Broad (138) and Alastair Cook (130) in terms of shared matches, expressed deep admiration for Anderson's remarkable career.

England's former Test captain said: "It's been an incredible tribute, hasn't it?

"The fact we only had an hour's play [on Friday] and we got a full house at Lord's just shows the impact that Jimmy's career has had on so many people. 

"These days, they're few and far between. You don't get the opportunity to celebrate such a wonderful career and someone that's done things in the game that no one else has done before.

"I think it's something that we#ll look back at and treasure. For me, all I've ever known for England is playing alongside Jimmy and that's been for 12 years."

Mark Wood has been added to England's squad for the second Test against the West Indies, replacing James Anderson after his retirement.

England's all-time leading wicket-taker Anderson signed off from his glittering red-ball career on Friday, taking a wicket on the final day at Lord's in his farewell Test.

Ben Stokes' side hammered the touring Windies by an innings and 114 runs, and England have made just one expected change to their playing squad.

Anderson's retirement has paved the way for Durham quick Wood to return, having missed the first Test after featuring in the T20 World Cup with Jos Buttler's white-ball team.

Stokes will likely stick with Chris Woakes and Gus Atkinson, the latter who impressed significantly in his first international with remarkable match figures of 12-106, leaving one fast-bowling slot available.

Wood will battle it out with the uncapped Dillon Pennington and Durham team-mate Matthew Potts for a place in the second Test, which begins on Thursday at Trent Bridge.

Should Pennington feature and make his debut, the Nottinghamshire bowler would do so on his home ground.

England men's squad for second Test v West Indies: 
Ben Stokes (Durham), Gus Atkinson (Surrey), Shoaib Bashir (Somerset), Harry Brook (Yorkshire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire), Dan Lawrence (Surrey), Dillon Pennington (Nottinghamshire), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Matthew Potts (Durham), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jamie Smith (Surrey), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

James Anderson says he never felt "great" during his career following his retirement from international cricket.

The fast bowler played his final Test match for England against the West Indies with an innings win on the third day, taking four wickets to see him finish with a total of 704 for his career.

Anderson is England's all-time leading wicket-taker, with only Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne ahead of him in the all-time list of Test bowlers.

Over a 21-year career, he won 188 Test caps for England, the most of any player, but despite his many records, he does not believe he reached the level of the "greats".

"You go so up and down," he told Sky Sports. "Some series you feel amazing and some not quite on it and a batter gets the better of you.

"Playing against Virat Kohli in the early days, you felt you could get him out every ball and then recently like you can't get him out at all. You feel so inferior.

"I have never felt great at any stage. I know that sounds strange. I have always thought 'How can I get better for the next series?'. That has helped me play for such a long time."

Anderson was given a guard of honour by both teams at Lord's on Friday before going out onto the balcony following the match to more celebratory scenes from the spectators.

Asked about the legacy he wanted to leave behind, the 41-year-old admitted he would be pleased to find out he had inspired others to take up the sport.

"The way I have loved the sport so much, I would love for there to be people out there that have taken up the game because they have watched me bowl," said Anderson.

"That people have been entertained by watching me bowl and there are kids or grown-ups who have taken up the art of swing bowling because they have seen me bowl. That would make me so happy."

Anderson will immediately move onto England's backroom staff, becoming a bowling mentor for the second Test at Trent Bridge next week.

While having no issues with investing more money in West Indies Test cricket, iconic batsman Brian Lara believes the region’s problems goes much deeper when it comes to the game’s longest format.

In fact, Lara who has never been shy about expressing his views, pointed out that the onus is on Cricket West Indies (CWI) to take the necessary steps to resolve the slippage, as the Caribbean side –ranked eighth in the ICC Test rankings –suffered a crushing innings and 114-run defeat to England inside three days in the first of their three-match series, at Lord’s.  

“If you put 100 million, 200 million dollars into the West Indies’ bank account, is it going to change the way we play the game? I’m not sure. We are not harnessing the talent that we have,” Lara told BBC World Service’s Stumped podcast.

Though the likes of Nicholas Pooran and Shai Hope possess enough ability to play crucial roles in Test, both have opted to play just white-ball cricket internationally, which enables them to play in franchise leagues across the world.

That along with the fact that other sports, such as athletics, are vying for the sponsorship dollars across the Caribbean, Lara believes has pushed cricket on the outside.

“Obviously, cricket has been diluted by the number of different sports and different opportunities for kids, but I still believe that corporate West Indies have got to get involved,” Lara said.

“The West Indies Cricket Board hasn’t done the right job in attracting these sponsors to ensure that at least grassroots, but also the academy, all the different things, the facilities, are up to standard. I think these things are very, very important,” he added.

On that note, Lara also stressed the need for more to be done to revive public interest in the longer format.

“We don’t have anybody coming through the gate. I walked in Lord’s about 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday and outside there were people waiting. That was something I was accustomed to as a kid, getting to the Queens Park Oval at 5:30 and waiting for the gate to be open.

“That’s not happening. You get there at 11 o’clock and there is an empty stadium. You could pick a seat wherever you want. We have to try to get the crowd back,” Lara shared.

“That will breathe the life back into the people of the Caribbean and let them understand what Test cricket is all about and you can get the world of money. You still need to sort of get the crowd more passionate about it and we haven’t been able to do that,” he noted.

Brendon McCullum insisted England will “come back bigger, stronger and more refined” following their 4-1 Test series defeat in India.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five aspects that should be addressed by head coach McCullum and captain Ben Stokes before England’s next Test against the West Indies at Lord’s on July 10.

Who takes the gloves?

Ben Foakes was just about flawless behind the stumps once again but he did not record a single fifty, with his career average dipping below 30, and struggles to assert himself in the fashion England want.

Jonny Bairstow is not as proficient with the gloves and also flattered to deceive in India, but he averages 59 at home under McCullum and Stokes and can marshal the tail in a way Foakes is seemingly unable to.

Knocking on the door away from those pair is Ollie Robinson of Durham and Jamie Smith at Surrey.

Jack, Tom or Shoaib?

Not for over a decade have England had such plentiful spin options.

England took a bit of a punt on Tom Hartley and especially Shoaib Bashir but the duo demonstrated they have the mettle for Test cricket.

Rehan Ahmed showed determination, too, but might be more suited to the white-ball formats for now.

Jack Leach’s fitness issues in the past 12 months mean he is not guaranteed to be inked in for the English summer, with just one spinner usually required.

Hartley may be more suited to Asian conditions but 20-year-old Bashir is someone England should invest in. Leach’s position as premier spinner at Somerset means Bashir could be sent on loan elsewhere in the early county season.

Identify a replacement for James Anderson

The evergreen swing king reached Test wicket 700 in the final Test after several months in the 690s.

Anderson has given no outward indication he is ready to slow down but time waits for no one and England must be prepared when the day comes the 41-year-old decides to hang up his spikes.

Any sign of decline after a poor Ashes showing was quietened a little with solid, if unspectacular, performances in India in unhelpful conditions.

While his longevity is astounding, wickets are his main currency and he has just 15 of them in his last eight Tests at a bloated average of 50.8.

In two marquee series against England’s biggest rivals, that is a poor return but he is not one to be kept subdued for long.

Settle on a seam attack

Anderson may well be able to keep going until the next Ashes series in 2025-26 but he has lost his long-time opening bowling partner in Stuart Broad.

That did not matter so much in India but on green seamers in England, there will be no shortage of candidates looking to step into Broad’s shoes.

Chris Woakes is likely to come back into contention although he is 35 himself, so it could be the next generation who come through.

Gus Atkinson impressed the backroom staff despite not playing in India and McCullum tipped the quick to make his Test debut in the summer.

Matthew Potts, Brydon Carse and Josh Tongue are pushing to be involved while Ollie Robinson must get to the bottom of his fitness issues.

Back Ollie Pope

England’s vice-captain had one of the more curious series of modern times.

A breakout 196, which Joe Root called “one of the best knocks that I’ve ever seen”, carried England to a stunning victory in Hyderabad.

But he did not reach 40 after that, made a pair at Ranchi and looked increasingly frenetic.

England have been encouraged by his growing confidence as an authority figure on the field as deputy to Stokes and will hope that can filter through to his batting.

Pope has already been shuffled around a lot in a 43-Test career and his talent is undeniable so he just needs to find a way of taking the edge off when he goes out to bat.

Brendon McCullum will seek to fine-tune England’s approach before the summer after admitting they went into their shells during a chastening tour of India.

England head coach McCullum and captain Ben Stokes won 10 of their first 11 Tests in charge but have lost seven of the last dozen following a 4-1 reverse in India.

McCullum and Stokes have shown a resistance to making adjustments since taking charge but they let several competitive positions slip against Rohit Sharma’s side, demonstrating a lack of ruthlessness.

McCullum did not go into specifics about how England go to the next level ahead of home summer series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka but accepted there were instances where they seemed unsure of themselves in India.

“India probably outplayed us at the style of cricket that we want to play and made us start to retreat a little bit so that’s something that we will have to change,” McCullum said.

“If anything we got more timid as the series went on. It is something we need to address because other teams will put us under pressure as well and we can’t really allow that doubt to creep into our game. We need to have total conviction in what we are doing in those pressure situations.

“We will allow the dust and hurt to settle a bit and then use that to make changes we need to ensure we are a better version of what we have started out as.

“We will have some time to reflect and come back bigger, stronger and more refined.”

McCullum and Stokes have allowed players the freedom to express themselves and that, in turn, has brought accusations there are not enough honest conversations in difficult moments.

But McCullum said: “While we’re both very relaxed and happy to make sure everyone’s enjoying themselves – they’re excited to play in big series and not anxious as such and trying to let their talent come out – let’s not mistake that for us not having a hard edge.

“We didn’t get where we’ve got to in life and in our careers without having some sort of hard edge as well.”

McCullum was similarly dismissive of the suggestion batters are not under enough pressure for their spots following several collapses in recent weeks, but added those on the fringes must make compelling cases.

“At this stage, these are the guys we believe are the best cricketers to win a series,” McCullum said. “If it doesn’t play out, of course if someone is nagging down the door you look at that.

“Certainly nothing is closed to anyone, it’s just that you have to bang the door down.”

After an innings-and-64-run defeat in Dharamsala inside three days, Stokes defiantly warned “write this team off, write me off at your own peril”.

He averaged 19.9 with the bat but made a heartening return to bowling in the last Test and should be back to being a fully-fledged all-rounder by the summer.

“I actually think he wanted it too much with the bat,” McCullum said of his captain. “He was trying to give himself every opportunity to build a big innings to ensure when the pressure moments came, which he knows how to deal better than anyone else in the world, that he was going to be the man to be there.

“It takes us away from being totally present in the moment. He tried his best and wanted it too much but he’ll be back.

“To have him back in full operation is a huge positive for us and moving forward allows us to know we can balance the team in the right way.”

England toiled despite Ben Stokes bagging a wicket with his first delivery in 251 days as hundreds from Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill saw India take an iron grip on the fifth Test.

India’s overnight pair helped them into the lead in a wicketless first session on day two but with England’s prospects growing ever bleaker, Stokes produced a beauty first up to castle Rohit for 103.

James Anderson moved to Test wicket 699 by bowling Gill for 110 but the floodgates did not open as Devdutt Padikkal’s 65 on debut and Sarfaraz Khan’s 56 lifted India to 473 for eight and a lead of 255.

Shoaib Bashir took four wickets and led the fightback in the evening but conceded 170 and was thumped for eight sixes, while Tom Hartley dismissed Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin in the same over.

Mark Wood leaked 89 from 15 wicketless overs and Anderson was also expensive in his 14-1-59-1 as England endured one of their most difficult days of the tour in Dharamsala.

A bid to end the series with a consolation win is all but over but Stokes provided a moment of magic on his return to bowling for the first time since July 1 in last year’s Ashes.

He has featured as a specialist batter since then and had surgery in November to remove a bone spur and reinforce his meniscus with stitches to try to resolve a longstanding complaint in his left knee.

Stokes had made a “pinky promise” with England’s physiotherapist Ben Davies not to bowl on this tour but he has progressed well enough in his recovery and been operating at full tilt in practice recently.

Having teased the possibility of resuming his all-rounder status in recent weeks, the England captain broke his vow to Davies and showed he was worth the wait with a scarcely credible instant impact.

England had barely had a sniff and seemed to be lacking in inspiration as Rohit and Gill put on 171, with the pair each going past three figures before lunch to carry India to an imposing 275 for one.

Stokes had an extended warm-up during the interval and unleashed himself in the second over of the session. A loosener might have been understandable, even acceptable, but Stokes’ angled delivery held its line, beat the outside edge after a flat-footed push from Rohit and thudded into off-stump.

Stokes barely acknowledged what he had done, high-fiving a couple of team-mates in understated fashion but Wood put his hands to his head and beamed in stunned disbelief.

Anderson found a hint of reverse swing to bowl Gill through the gate seven balls later and England sensed an opening. However, Stokes was frustrated at being unable to hang on to a low return catch diving forward when Sarfaraz was on two, albeit off a no-ball.

Stokes sent down a tidy spell of 5-1-17-1 and did not bowl again, keeping Sarfaraz and Test debutant Padikkal quiet. Sarfaraz took just nine off his first 30 balls but a rash of boundaries after Stokes excused himself brought up a fifty off only 55 deliveries.

Padikkal was a useful foil but Bashir ended a 97-run union when Sarfaraz guided the first ball after tea to slip.

Padikkal became the last of India’s top five to go past 50 in this innings but he was caught on the crease and Bashir beat a defensive poke to peg back off stump.

Hartley found sharp turn to have Jadeja lbw after a laboured 15 while Ashwin, on his 100th Test, followed in the same over for a duck when he was beaten with an arm ball and bowled.

Kuldeep Yadav (27 not out) and Jasprit Bumrah (19no) added gloss to India’s total and, perhaps to their relief, England did not have to bat the final few overs.

India earlier advanced an overnight 135 for one to 264 without further loss in the opening session, with both Rohit and Gill imperious, while a couple of misfields on the boundary hardly helped England, who had collapsed from 175 for three to 218 all out the previous day.

Rohit offered a glimpse of a chance on 68 after glancing Bashir fine but Zak Crawley, perhaps unsighted at leg slip, was too late to get in position as the ball flicked off his fingertips and away.

England were unable to exert much control, with Gill disdainfully thrashing Anderson back over his head for six before carting Bashir twice over the rope. Rohit reached his ton first while Gill did in the next over with a slog sweep for four off Bashir to get to the milestone off 137 balls.

NB: Catch the action from the fifth Test between India and England on Sportsmax!

 

 

Ben Stokes bagged a wicket with his first competitive delivery since surgery on his knee last year although England remain behind the eight-ball in Dharamsala.

England’s prospects were growing increasingly bleak after centuries from India pair Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill on the second morning of the fifth Test but Stokes stepped up in jaw-dropping fashion.

Having teased a return to bowling for the past few weeks, the England captain showed he was worth the wait by beating the outside edge of a flat-footed Rohit and clipping the top of off-stump, sending his opposite number back in the second over after lunch for 103.

James Anderson moved to Test wicket 699 by castling Shubman Gill through the gate for 110 but India remain firmly in charge after going to tea on 376 for three, putting them 158 ahead of their opponents.

Sarfaraz Khan was unbeaten on 56 off just 59 balls, while Devdutt Padikkal ended the session on 44 not out as England’s hopes of a consolation victory at the end of the series continue to recede.

Stokes, though, provided the magic moment 251 days since he last bowled on July 1. He has been used exclusively as a batter since then and went under the knife in November to remove a bone spur and have his meniscus reinforced with stitches to try to resolve a longstanding complaint in his left knee.

He had made a “pinky promise” with England’s physiotherapist Ben Davies not to bowl on this tour but he has progressed well enough in his recovery and been operating at full tilt in practice sessions.

Even in a career full of highlight-reel moments, this was still scarcely credible from Stokes. England barely had a sniff as Rohit and Gill put on 171 and the pair each went past three figures to carry to an imposing 275 for one in response to England’s 218.

There was no loosener from Stokes, whose angled first delivery held its line and beat Rohit’s tentative push before disturbing the stumps. Stokes barely acknowledged what he had done but Mark Wood had his hands on his head in disbelief, while Brendon McCullum cupped his hand to his mouth on the sidelines.

Anderson found a hint of reverse swing to send back Gill eight balls later and England sensed an opening. However, Stokes was frustrated at being unable to hang on to a low return catch diving forward when Sarfaraz was on two and while it was a no-ball, it was a let-off for the batter.

Stokes sent down a tidy spell of 5-1-17-1 as Sarfaraz and Test debutant Padikkal started cautiously. Sarfaraz took just nine off his first 30 balls, kept quiet by Stokes and initially Wood, before exploding with a rash of boundaries to bring up his fifty off only 55 deliveries.

Padikkal was a useful foil as their partnership advanced to an unbroken 97 in just 131 balls as India ended the session firmly in command.

England’s batting collapse on day one left them needing wickets on the second morning but India advanced an overnight 135 for one to 264 without further loss in the opening session, with both Rohit and Gill imperious.

Rohit offered the merest of chances on 68 after glancing Shoaib Bashir off his hip but Zak Crawley, perhaps unsighted at leg slip, was too late to get in position as the ball flicked off his fingertips and away.

England were unable to exert much control, with Gill disdainfully thrashing Anderson back over his head for six before carting Bashir twice over the rope. Rohit was the first to his century off 154 balls while Gill did so in the next over, off 137 deliveries, with a slog sweep for four off Bashir.

England’s bowlers toiled without any reward as unbeaten centuries from India pair Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill snuffed out hope of a fightback in Dharamsala.

A batting collapse on the opening day of the fifth Test left England behind the eight-ball and India advanced an overnight 135 for one to 264 without further loss to move 46 ahead on the second morning.

Zak Crawley got fingertips to a chance presented by Rohit but it was otherwise one-way traffic as India’s captain reached three figures just before Gill on the stroke of lunch.

Rohit ended the session on 102 not out, with Gill unbeaten on 101 in an unbroken stand of 160 and England’s hopes of a consolation win at the end of this series are growing ever more bleak.

Mark Wood bowled in excess of 90mph regularly and was perhaps a tad unfortunate to concede 60 in nine overs while Shoaib Bashir was also expensive. Tom Hartley offered a degree of control but was non-threatening while James Anderson sent down just three overs, leaking 16 runs.

England started the day needing quick wickets and while Bashir started with a maiden, he was carted back over his head twice by Rohit for six-four while Gill disdainfully stepped down to Anderson and launched the veteran seamer over the rope.

Rohit offered the merest of chances on 68 after turning Bashir off his hip but Crawley, perhaps unsighted at leg slip, was too late to get in position as the ball flicked off his fingertips and away.

India’s first 50 runs came off 56 balls and while England were able to briefly slow up the scoring rate, they were unable to exert any pressure. Wood drew the outside edge of Gill but the ball flew wide of the lone slip and the batter middled one through point for four later in the over.

The 100-run stand came off just 149 balls after Rohit stepped to leg and smashed Wood through vacant mid-off for four, while a 94mph attempted yorker was driven straight for another boundary by Gill.

Bashir, whose first 17-over spell yielded 86, was greeted back into the attack with a six by Gill which took India into the lead while another maximum left the young off-spinner with his hands on his head.

It was just a question of who would reach their hundred first, with Rohit winning the race with a single into the leg-side off Hartley, while Gill slog swept Bashir for his 10th four, to go with five sixes, to bring up his ton.

England assistant Marcus Trescothick was unable to put much of a positive spin on their latest batting collapse but insisted they are not “dead and buried” in Dharamsala yet.

With the Test series in India already lost, England are searching for a consolation win and Zak Crawley made a battling 79 but the tourists unravelled from 137 for two and 175 for three to 218 all out.

Kuldeep Yadav collected five for 72 while Ravichandran Ashwin marked his 100th Test with figures of four for 51 as all 10 England wickets fell to spin in chilly conditions before India closed on 135 for one.

The in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal muscled three sixes in his 57 off 58 balls while Rohit Sharma went to stumps on day one of this fifth and final Test on 52 not out to leave India just 83 runs behind.

“It’s been a disappointing day,” Trescothick said. “We were hoping for a lot more with winning the toss. We’re a bit behind the game, it’s not quite the score we wanted.

“We got to lunch quite nicely, had a bit of luck here and there and managed to get to that point where we were OK and the afternoon was where it all changed.

“Kuldeep spun the ball hard, more than we’ve seen from anyone else so far. Of course we’re disappointed to not quite match up to what we expect.

“But you never look upon it as ‘we’re dead and buried’. Everyone will take a look at themselves and potentially go, ‘All right, I can be better than I’ve been’ and hopefully we can put that right.”

While the dismissals of Jonny Bairstow, on his 100th Test, Joe Root and Ben Stokes within eight balls was the turning point as England dramatically crumbled, Ollie Pope had another forgettable outing.

Pope’s brilliant 196 underpinned a famous England triumph in Hyderabad in the series opener but he has made just 100 runs in his eight other innings and often appeared skittish when at the crease.

England head coach Brendon McCullum said recently the key for Pope is “to not have played his innings before he goes out there” but he was again ill-at-ease in his 24 balls here.

In the final over before lunch, Pope rashly charged at Kuldeep but seemingly failed to pick the left-arm wrist-spinner’s googly and was stumped by a long way by wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel for 11.

“Ollie Pope is someone who cannot stay still at the crease for a long time,” Kuldeep said. “His style is such that he steps out a lot and tries to dominate the spinners by hitting them down the ground.

“He had stepped out early, so it was easy for me to change the variation. It was not that I had planned in advance. When I saw him coming out, I changed it.”

Trescothick, though, threw his backing behind England’s number three.

“Getting into an innings is always challenging over here, and facing high quality spin,” Trescothick said. “That is part of his game he is looking to improve on.

“I think we’d all agree that after his 196 in Hyderabad we had seen an improvement and we saw parts of his game that are definitely getting better. Let’s keep allowing that to happen.

“The more we knock down and put pressure on people, the challenges will come. He’s definitely improving, as are many other players in our team.”

While Shoaib Bashir recovered sufficiently from a stomach upset to take the field, Ollie Robinson was still feeling unwell and left at the team hotel, bringing England’s number down to 13 fit players.

Trescothick and fellow England assistant Paul Collingwood have been drafted in as substitute fielders at 48 and 47 years old respectively. Trescothick, though, hopes to avoid fielding duties.

“If I do, I’ll be standing at long-leg or something like that,” the former Somerset opener said. “I think Colly’s chomping at the bit to get on there!

“I think we’ve worked out a plan; it’s not going to happen, we’re not going to get on the field, we’ve got enough reserves in place.”

England were left in a spin after Zak Crawley’s battling 79 as their final assignment on a long tour of India threatened to go awry in Dharamsala.

Seeking a consolation win in a series they trail 3-1, England endured a chastening opening day to the fifth Test after crumbling from 137 for two before Crawley’s dismissal to 218 all out in 57.4 overs.

From 175 for three, England lost Jonny Bairstow, on his 100th Test, Joe Root and Ben Stokes in eight deliveries, the first three of five wickets to fall for eight runs in a frenzied afternoon session.

The most recent first-class match at the HPCA Stadium saw all 36 wickets fall to seam but it was the spinners in clover on a turning pitch as Kuldeep Yadav collected five for 72 and Ravichandran Ashwin, also celebrating his 100th Test, polished off the lower order to finish with four for 51.

India rubbed salt into the wound through Yashasvi Jaiswal’s 57 off 58 balls while fellow opener Rohit Sharma went to stumps on 52 not out as the hosts closed on 135 for one – just 83 adrift of England.

Crawley had earlier shown plenty of grit after being tested by seamers and spinners alike and gradually gained fluency before Kuldeep found prodigious turn to prise him out. England seemed unable to pick the left-arm wrist-spinner’s variations as Ollie Pope, Bairstow and Stokes all fell to the googly.

Before play, a tearful Bairstow stood with his mother, sister and partner who held their infant child at an emotional cap presentation conducted by Root in the team huddle.

While Shoaib Bashir was fit to play, Ollie Robinson remained unwell which meant England assistants and ex-internationals Marcus Trescothick, 48, and Paul Collingwood, 47, were among fielding substitutes.

Stokes’ prediction this week of an “absolute belter” of a batting strip was not initially borne out as Crawley and Ben Duckett were given a working over by the returning Jasprit Bumrah, as well as Mohammed Siraj, who exploited extravagant seam movement in the cooler conditions of the Himalayan foothills.

Bumrah may have wondered how he ended his spell with 7-1-24-0 despite often challenging the outside edges of both openers. Kuldeep had no such misfortune as Duckett undid his good work by hoicking into the air on 27 and Shubman Gill’s over-the-shoulder diving catch ended a 64-run opening stand.

Pope was again skittish and misguidedly advanced to Kuldeep in the final over before lunch, deceived and stumped by wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel by a long way for 11.

Crawley, though, had success off front and back foot as all 11 fours were through the offside while he danced down the wicket to Ashwin and dispatched him for six.

India failed to detect a thin edge when Crawley was on 61 after lunch while Jadeja shelled a caught-and-bowled chance on 78 but there was no third reprieve for the opener, who missed a big drive and was castled by a ripping Kuldeep delivery that landed outside off and crashed into leg stump.

Bairstow’s frenetic 29 off 18 balls included two sixes as he moved past 6,000 Test runs and a drop off Kuldeep, who then outfoxed the Yorkshireman with a wrong’un which grazed the edge on the way to Jurel.

Bairstow reviewed in vain, as did Root after he was beaten on the inside edge and struck on the front pad for 26 in Jadeja’s next over. When Stokes turned to DRS after playing back to Kuldeep, the on-field lbw decision was again upheld and England’s captain departed for a six-ball duck.

England lost their middle-order engine room in eight balls and used all their reviews, with Ashwin sweeping in to hoover up the tail after Ben Foakes’ 24 took the tourists past 200.

England’s bid for quick wickets to put pressure back on India was hampered by James Anderson and Mark Wood being unable to find anything resembling the assistance Bumrah and Siraj had in the morning.

Rohit settled into his work by using Wood’s express pace against him with a meaty pull for six off a bumper before overturning a caught-behind decision on 20 after Anderson thought he had strangled India’s captain down leg.

The in-form Jaiswal was watchful against England’s two seamers but peeled off three mighty sixes in four balls when Bashir came into the attack.

Jaiswal continued to attack but succumbed to a rush of blood and was stumped off Bashir but Rohit and Shubman Gill, unbeaten on 26, finished strongly.

Page 1 of 73
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.