England 74-3 at lunch on 1st day of final test against India
AHMEDABAD, India (AP) — England top order once again stumbled against India spinner Axar Patel to reach 74-3 at lunch on day one of the fourth and final test on Thursday.
England lost both openers within the first two overs off left-arm spinner Patel after captain Joe Root won the toss and opted to bat in a test to determine which team competes against New Zealand in the World Test Championship final.
Fast bowler Muhammed Siraj brilliantly set up Root’s dismissal with a sharp in-swinger to trap the England skipper lbw as England slipped to 30 for three inside the first hour.
Jonny Bairstow was unbeaten on 28 and Ben Stokes, who took three boundaries in Siraj’s one over and also hit a straight six in Ravichandran Ashwin first over, was not out on 24 at the break to revive England innings.
Patel grabbed 11 wickets in India’s 10-wicket victory within two days at the same venue in the last test and struck immediately after captain Virat Kohli introduced spin in only the sixth over.
Patel knocked back the stumps of Dom Sibley (2) off his second ball which went straight to the right-hander before Zak Crawley (9) chipped a simple catch to mid off in Patel's second over.
India fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has gone on leave due to personal reasons and was replaced by Siraj. England made two changes with Dan Lawrence and Dom Bess coming in for Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer.
With India leading the series 2-1, a win or a draw for the home team will secure the series and a place in the test championship final.
A win for England would seriously complicate matters for the hosts and help Australia; India needs a series win to advance to the final and prevent a final between New Zealand and Australia.
England opened the four-test series with a 227-run victory. India rallied to level it in Chennai with a 317-run victory and won the third third test by 10 wickets in two days on a spin-friendly wicket at Ahmedabad.
India has not lost two tests in a home series since 2012, when England won.
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