Kuldeep five-fer sets off England’s downfall

In the process of taking his fourth five-wicket haul in red-ball cricket, Kuldeep Yadav became just the third wrist spinner in Test history to reach 50 wickets. On the first day of the fifth Test match between India and England at Dharamsala, the 29-year-old put on a masterclass in spin bowling during the post-lunch session, putting India well ahead. England dropped dramatically, from 175/3 to 183/8 in just 37 deliveries.

After lunch, Zak Crawley returned to the pitch with ease and appeared to be headed for a well-deserved hundred runs until falling victim to a superb set-up from Kuldeep. Kuldeep unleashed a big-turning leg break that drifted and spun sharply to beat the opening on the drive, past the inside edge, after changing his pace and lengths against Crawley with the occasional googly thrown in between. Considering how easy Crawley had appeared at the crease during his 79-run innings, it was a huge wicket in the context of the day’s play.Sarfaraz, however, made a catch at short leg and was lucky to escape; Rohit Sharma refused to consider his request for a review. UltraEdge experienced a small uptick, but India wasn’t severely hurt by it.

The Dharamsala surface began to help spin in the afternoon after providing significant assistance to the seamen in the morning. But as Crawley’s innings demonstrated, it is by no means a rank turner. Because of his skill, Kuldeep was able to extract a noticeable turn, and Ravindra Jadeja probed the batters with the pitch by using the skid and hold in. The other major blow of the day was delivered by the later of the two, when Jadeja got England captain Joe Root leg before wicket after the latter misjudged a slider. The momentum was drastically reversed by these wickets, and Kuldeep began to perform at a high level, which made it challenging for England’s hitters.In an attempt to get out of difficulty, Jonny Bairstow struck out once before nicking a googly against Kuldeep. Before he was trapped LBW to one that spun in, Ben Stokes made a miserable face while he battled to read the variations.

Ravichandran Ashwin did not score in his opening period in his 100th Test match, but he returned in his second burst to take two wickets in one over. Tom Hartley’s reckless stroke caused him to hole out to long-on, while Mark Wood’s first-ball duck dismissal further set back England. Ben Foakes hovered around with a fair amount of confidence, but the England wicket-keeper bat has a lot of work ahead of him with just Nos. 10 and 11 for company. The tourists have faltered from a position of power several times in the series.

Brief scores: England 194/8 vs India (Ravichandra Ashwin 2-39; Kuldeep Yadav 5-72, Zach Crawley 79).

© Cricbuzz

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