The highly awaited five-match Test series between India and England began with a captivating first day so far in Hyderabad. Ben Stokes, leading England for the first time against India, opted to bat first upon winning the toss. England's aggressive intent was on display with Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett playing some positive strokes before falling prey to Ravichandran Ashwin's magic. Ravindra Jadeja joined the party, dismissing Ollie Pope to leave England at a decent position at 108-3 after the first session.
However, the afternoon belonged to India. Jadeja continued his wicket-taking spree, snaring Joe Root, while Axar Patel had trapped Jonny Bairstow before he could convert his promising start. Wickets kept tumbling, and with the pitch offering turn and bounce, England found themselves struggling at 215-8 by the end of the second session. Ben Stokes, however, held firm. Batting on 43, he is playing a captain's innings, combining resolute defense with calculated aggression. With the pitch expected to deteriorate further, Stokes' partnership with the last couple of batters becomes crucial for England to post a respectable total.
While 215-8 isn't a disaster on a turning wicket, England will need Stokes to add some crucial runs. India's spinners have put them in a commanding position, but the battle is far from over. The third session is sure to be as thrilling as the first two as India will look to bowl the visitors out.
Rohit's athleticism on the show!
Ollie Pope, England's vice-captain, bore the brunt of the early Indian spin onslaught. He appeared visibly nervous at the crease, his every movement betraying a lack of confidence. His tentative approach proved costly, as Ravindra Jadeja dismissed him for just one. Perhaps his struggles on the last tour were playing in his mind.
Pope, have been trying to play a tight defensive shot, nicked the ball to first slip, where Rohit Sharma, displaying remarkable reflexes, dived low to pouch a stunning catch. Sharma's acrobatic catch at first slip sent social media into a tizzy. Twitter instantly erupted with praise for Sharma's brilliance. Fans marvelled at his anticipation, agility, and sheer determination to pull off the seemingly impossible catch.