England in Deep trouble as Akash makes memorable debut

Right-arm seamer Akash impressed immediately, sending opener Zak Crawley's off-stump cartwheeling in his second over

Reuters
Published : 23 Feb 2024, 06:52 AM
Updated : 23 Feb 2024, 06:52 AM

India seamer Akash Deep wrecked England's top order on a terrific Test debut as the tourists slumped to 112 for five at lunch on the opening day of the fourth Test in Ranchi on Friday.

The hosts' 2-1 cushion in the five-match series allowed them to rest pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, and 27-yer-old Akash became the fourth Indian to make his debut in the series.

England suffered a massive blow in losing captain Ben Stokes at the stroke of lunch and Joe Root, batting on 16, finds himself tasked with rebuilding their innings when play resumes after the break.

Earlier, Stokes elected to bat after winning the toss on a pitch which already has cracks at both ends and is likely to assist the spinners.

Right-arm seamer Akash impressed immediately, sending opener Zak Crawley's off-stump cartwheeling in his second over. His celebrations for his maiden Test wicket were cut short, however, when the no-ball siren went off.

The seamer soon got over that disappointment by striking twice in three balls.

Akash dismissed Ben Duckett caught behind for 11 with an angled delivery that prompted a tentative prod from the opener.

An ecstatic Akash waited for confirmation that he had not overstepped and beat his chest in celebration.

Two balls later, Ollie Pope stepped out but was rapped on his pad. The England vice captain was initially adjudged not out but India reviewed the decision and had him dismissed lbw.

Crawley did not look comfortable against Akash's lively pace either but he had no qualms about going after Mohammed Siraj, hitting the bowler for three fours in a row and following that up with a huge six.

Enter Akash, who ended Crawley's run-a-ball 42 by hitting the top of his off-stump.

Jonny Bairstow, 38, has been unusually subdued in the series and he squandered another start by attempting a sweep shot against Ravichandran Ashwin only to be hit on the pad.

The batter was initially adjudged not out but India's second successful review meant Bairstow had to go.

Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Stokes lbw for three with the final delivery of the session with a ball that stayed low, highlighting the nature of the surface.

England brought in seamer Ollie Robinson and spinner Shoaib Bashir, replacing Mark Wood and Rehan Ahmed.

Leg-spinner Rehan was returning home for personal reasons.