England paceman Jofra Archer will require a fortnight of rehabilitation after undergoing surgery on his right hand.

Archer was ruled out of the recent ODI series defeat to India with an elbow injury and underwent an operation on his hand on Monday, repairing damage done when he was cleaning a fish tank in January.

The quick will miss the start of the Rajasthan Royals' Indian Premier League campaign as he recovers from the procedure.

"England pace bowler Jofra Archer underwent successful surgery to his right hand on Monday. A fragment of glass was removed during the operation to his middle finger on his right hand." an ECB statement said.
 
"He will now commence two weeks of rehabilitation. The consultant will review him before returning to training.

"Further update on his elbow injury will be provided once he has returned to bowling to assess the effectiveness of his recent injection.
 
"Archer suffered a cut to his hand while cleaning at his home in January shortly before flying to India to prepare for the Test series.

"The ECB's medical team managed the injury throughout the tour, and it did not impact on his availability."

The Royals start their IPL campaign against Punjab Kings on Monday April 12.

Justin Langer says there is "no captaincy position available" for Steve Smith after the former skipper expressed his desire to lead Australia again.

Smith's reign as Australia captain ended when he was banned from international cricket for a year and prevented from taking a leadership role for his country for two years due to the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

Tim Paine took over as Test skipper and Aaron Finch white-ball captain, but Smith stated that he wants another chance to take charge again.

"I've certainly had a lot of time to think about it and I guess now I've got to a point where if the opportunity did come up again, I would be keen," the 31-year-old told News Corp.

"If it was what Cricket Australia wanted and it was what was best for the team at the time, it's certainly something I would be interested in now, that's for sure,"

He added: "Time keeps moving forward, and I've learnt so much the last few years about myself and grown as a human being.

"I feel as though I'd be in a better place if the opportunity did come up. If it doesn't, that's fine as well and I'd support whoever is in charge the same way I've supported Tim and Finchy. I haven't always felt like I wanted to do it again. That's only come in the last little bit."

Yet Australia head coach Langer says both Paine and Finch are secure in their positions.

"We have two very good captains and two important competitions coming up – an Ashes and a T20 World Cup. Our future looks good," he told the ABC.

"Despite the media chatter there is no captaincy position available."

Jason Holder had excellent figures of 5-27 as the West Indies took full control over Sri Lanka on the opening day of the first Sandals Test match on Sunday.

Rohit Sharma feels India have "a lot of work to do" before they challenge for T20 World Cup glory as they prepare to face top-ranked England in a mouthwatering five-match series.

India are on a high after beating England 3-1 to secure a place in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

A strong England squad led by Eoin Morgan will be looking for revenge at the Narendra Modi Stadium, but face a huge test against an India side who have won six and drawn one of their previous seven series in the shortest format.

India sit second in the rankings and are eager to make a statement seven months before the T20 World Cup begins on home soil.

Vice-captain Rohit knows they are not the finished article ahead of the first match in Ahmedabad on Friday, with Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tewatia in line to make their debuts.

The in-form batsman said: "It's nice for the fans also to look forward to something because it's not every second year you are playing the World Cup, otherwise the charm of the World Cup goes away.

"The freshness of the World Cup remains and it's going to be an exciting World Cup as it is being played in India. We are all looking forward to that but before that, we still have a lot of work to do."

England, who whitewashed South Africa 3-0 late last year, have not lost a T20 series since they were beaten by India in 2018.

 

Malan is the man

There will be an array of outstanding batsmen on show in what should be a pulsating series and it is Dawid Malan who comes into it as the best in the world in this format.

The left-hander was named man of the series in a whitewash of the Proteas, making a magnificent 99 not out in the final match at Newlands on the back of another half-century.

England have an embarrassment of riches in the batting department, with the likes of Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Sam Billings in the squad.

Liam Livingstone will also get the opportunity to make his mark after some explosive knocks for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League.

Kohli closing in on historic landmark, Pant returns

India captain Virat Kohli needs only 72 more runs to become the first man to reach the 3,000 mark in T20Is.

The prolific skipper averages 50.5 for his country in the shortest format and has more runs than anyone in matches between these two nations (346).

England will also need to remove Rishabh Pant before he gets into full flow, as the wicketkeeper-batsman demonstrated when he made a scintillating century in the final Test.

Pant, who has not played a T20 for India since January 2020, averages just 20.50 at international level in this format but that figure will surely be on the rise before long.

Key Opta Facts

- Kohli has dropped more catches than any other fielder from a Test-playing nation in men's T20Is since the start of 2019 (seven), three of which were rated as easy chances.

- Malan has the highest batting average of any man to log 10 or more T20I innings (53.4 from 19 knocks). Her has reached 50 in seven of his 12 overseas knocks.

- KL Rahul recorded 670 runs from his 14 knocks in the 2020 IPL. He comes into this series having scored more runs in men's T20Is than anyone else since November 2019 (643).

- Yuzvendra Chahal is responsible for the best figures ever recorded against England in a men's T20I (6/25 in February 2017). The spinner is the leading wicket-taker in this fixture (nine), but has only claimed 15 scalps at an average of just 42.1 since the start of 2019.

Australia are keen to reschedule their postponed tour of South Africa "as soon as possible".

A three-Test tour that was scheduled to start this month was pulled due to "an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to players, support staff and the community," according to Cricket Australia (CA), amid fears over a new variant of COVID-19.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) responded by seeking redress from the International Cricket Council (ICC) for costs incurred in preparation for Australia's visit.

Speaking on Tuesday, CA interim chief executive Nick Hockley told the Nine Network he was keen to see the matches rearranged as a means of mending relations with his South African counterparts.

"We would like to reschedule it as soon as possible, providing it is safe to do so, and there is time available in the calendar," he said, with Australia having also withdrawn from trips to Bangladesh, New Zealand and Zimbabwe during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Now, that's not a simple task. Through the pandemic and quarantine periods there is a lot of cricket that has been rescheduled.

"But we’re right in the middle of constructive discussions and hopefully those discussions will be resolved soon."

Should the series take place, Australia will play their first Test matches in South Africa since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal that led to then-captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft serving bans from cricket.

South Africa won the series 3-1.

Joe Root expects England to learn from a Test series defeat to India in which he admits mistakes may have been made with selection.

India hammered the tourists by an innings and 25 runs on day three of the fourth and final match of the series at the Narendra Modi Stadium to secure a 3-1 victory.

The brilliant Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin took five wickets apiece to bowl England out for only 135 in their second innings and secure a place in the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

England face a home series versus India before travelling to Australia for the Ashes in a hectic schedule this year.

Root says there were positives to take from a series they started with such an impressive victory following a 2-0 win in Sri Lanka and expects his side to show a positive response to the defeat.

Asked if the loss could leave any lasting scars, the captain said: "I think first and foremost, time will look after that and it's a great opportunity to play a lot of cricket between now and then. I also think we've got to remember a lot of the good things we've done on this trip.

"To be out for six games and perform excellently in four and still in these last couple of games there have been a lot of things we've done excellently. It has been disappointing and frustrating to finish the series on the low that we have, but we've got to keep looking forward as a team.

"We've got to make sure that we keep working as hard as we are and that's one thing I'm very proud of, the work ethic and willingness to learn and get better in these conditions.

"That's all we can ask for from the guys. Keep looking to upskill themselves, keeping looking to take the experience from these guys and better themselves. As long as we do that we will become a better team.

"I think that's going to be a very important aspect of dealing with what is to come in the next 12 months."

Root accepted England may have got it wrong with some of their selections but there is no point in dwelling on that.

The skipper said: "It's easy to look at selection in hindsight when things haven't gone our way. It's obviously something that will be looked at. At times the wickets may not have played as we thought they would have.

"We might not have read them as well as you would want to, but that is part and parcel of the game and as captain, and as a team you have to take on the chin.

"You have to understand every now and again you are going to make mistakes. It's easy to look back now and say that was the case."

Virat Kohli believes India delivered on the challenge to show "fearlessness" against England as the hosts scorched to a series-clinching victory in Ahmedabad.

A crushing win by an innings and 25 runs at the Narendra Modi Stadium sealed a 3-1 triumph for India, capping an impressive recovery after going down to defeat in the opener.

The first two Tests were played in Chennai, with the third and fourth in Ahmedabad, and once India were jolted to form by their early setback they found dominant form.

"I think the comeback pleased me the most," Kohli said. "I think the first game was a bit of an aberration, in the way that we play as a team.

"There was just a hiccup and I think England outplayed us. From the next game onward it was more exciting cricket and we got into the game early."

India have booked a showdown with New Zealand in the World Test Championship final, which is due to take place in England in June, at Lord's if COVID-19 conditions allow.

"Now we can accept we are in the final," Kohli said. "It was more of a distraction until now for us, because we are a side that is very committed to playing Test cricket and these extra things can be a distraction.

"Now we are in the final which we can't wait to be a part of."

India had a host of star performers against England, with a number of outstanding contributions in the final match. Rishabh Pant was named man of the match after his stellar century and Axar Patel took nine wickets to reach 27 from his first three Test appearances, having forged an outstanding spin partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin.

Kohli pointed to Rohit Sharma's 161 in the first innings of the second Chennai match as the most telling contribution in the series.

"Ashwin's obviously been a banker in the last six, seven years in Test cricket – his numbers speak volumes for what he's done in the last few years," Kohli said, speaking at the post-match presentation.

"But I think Rohit's knock was the defining moment in us coming back into the series, getting 160 on that pitch is as good as a 250 on any good batting wicket

"It's definitely one of his best Test knocks, if not the best, and that gave us the kind of momentum we needed as a side and really got us into the contest. It was an outstanding innings."

Kohli explained: "After the first game, we had to up our body language. We spoke about the fact that nothing's a given whether you're playing at home or away.

"Every team at international level is a quality side and we need to be at our A game to be able to beat them and that's exactly what our mindset is.

"I know in future we'll have hiccups, we'll have a few things that will be of concern, but we'll have to keep ironing them out and that's been the hallmark of our team.

"Our bench strength is as strong as it's ever been and that's a great sign for Indian cricket.

"The idea was to have youngsters who come in and perform with fearlessness, take the situations on, so when the transition happens eventually it's not difficult for Indian cricket and the standard doesn't fall below what we have set in the last few years."

He pointed to Pant, Washington Sundar and Axar showing tenacity with the bat in India's innings in the fourth Test. 

"These are the kind of situations where individuals stand up and say, 'Okay, I'm going to make a mark and make a name for himself and be that player that can be counted on', and that's exactly what they've done," Kohli said.

India showed England no mercy as they wrapped up an innings victory in the fourth Test and a 3-1 series triumph behind another mesmerising display from Axar Patel.

The relentless Indian spin cycle has left England a ragged shadow of the team that coasted to a 227-run win in the first Test, and it was fitting the series should end with Axar and Ravichandran Ashwin running amok, taking five wickets each.

The third Test was a two-day shock to the tourists' senses, while England headed into day three of this latest match in Ahmedabad knowing it would take something special to stave off one final heavy beating.

Test newcomer Axar and Ashwin have tortured the England batsmen in this series, and they were again the destroyers in a total of 135 all out, Axar with 5-48 and Ashwin taking 5-47 to nail down the win by an innings and 25 runs.

From 294-7 overnight in their first innings, leading by 89 runs, India scuppered English hopes of a quick burst through the tail as Washington Sundar and Axar led them to 365, at which point England finally took the three wickets they had been craving.

Axar made a useful 43 before he was run out, while Sundar was left frustratingly unbeaten on 96 as he ran out of partners, with the last three wickets going down in the space of five balls. Ben Stokes removed Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj to post figures of 4-89.

India looked to have effectively batted England out of the match by building their 160-run lead, given the brittle nature of the tourists' top order, and so it proved.

Those expecting an immediate England batting calamity were duly not disappointed, with Ashwin having Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow caught at first slip and leg slip respectively. That put England on 10-2, with Bairstow making his third duck in four innings in this series and a sixth in his last nine Test innings against India.

Dom Sibley was unlucky when a sweep shot off Axar struck short-leg fielder Shubman Gill on the knee, looping up for Rishabh Pant. Stokes was caught by captain Virat Kohli at leg slip, Axar again the bowler.

Captain Joe Root (30) and Ollie Pope (15) showed a touch more aptitude against the spinners, but Pope was stumped after coming forward to meet an Axar delivery that turned past the bat, and two balls later the skipper was pinned in front by Ashwin.

Dan Lawrence and Ben Foakes took England past the 100 mark before a sharp low catch at slip by Ajinkya Rahane saw Foakes perish for 13 to Axar, whose fifth wicket of the innings arrived when Dom Bess mistimed a heavy-duty sweep and edged behind to Pant.

In a lost cause, all that was left for England was for Lawrence to chase a second Test half-century, and a pair of lusty blows to the boundary off consecutive balls from Axar made his intentions clear. Lawrence got to 50 with a single, but his was the last wicket to fall, a resigned hoik at Ashwin resulting in the ball beating the bat and clattering middle and off stump, the cue for India to celebrate.

 

Axar makes startling Test impact

With 27 wickets in his first three Tests, Axar has made a breathtaking start at this level, with the left-arm spinner bamboozling England's batsmen time and again. Fellow Indian Narendra Hirwani holds the record for the most wickets in the first three outings of a Test career, having taken 31 in 1988, including 16 on his debut against West Indies. Unlike Hirwani, who was 19 years old when he broke into the team, Axar has been around the block several times in his career, playing 49 limited-overs games for India. Now the 27-year-old has a foothold in the Test team, watching his progress will be fascinating. The World Test Championship final now awaits India, with New Zealand to be their opponents.

Dismal trip for England batsmen

There are question marks over a number of players after this series. Sibley began with 87 but then had seven successive failures and averaged 16.75, while Pope, Crawley and Rory Burns all averaged less than 20. Bairstow's dismal effort with the bat meant he averaged just 7.00.

Rishabh Pant has revealed he took on a jaw-dropping reverse sweep against James Anderson because he felt it was a day when he could do no wrong.

Test cricket's most prolific pace bowler was staggered to be carved away to the boundary in such an unorthodox manner, as India got the better of England on day two in Ahmedabad.

Anderson had only just taken the new ball and had seen it already thrashed to the boundary by Pant from successive balls.

On his way to 101, Pant decided the moment was ripe to paddle Anderson over the England slips for one of the most remarkable shots likely to be played in a Test.

The fourth and final match of the series is leaning heavily India's way after they reached the close on 294-7, with a first-innings lead of 89 runs. 

Pant said of his special shot: "You have to premeditate that, but when everything is going your way you can try your luck sometimes."

Quoted in the Times of India, he said: "I get the license most of the time, but I have to assess the situation and take the game head on. I like to make the team win and if the crowd is entertained by that, I'm happy."

Pant came to the crease with India in trouble on 80-4, and they were also stumbling at 146-6, but his alliance with Washington Sundar (60 not out) turned the momentum of the game.

Anderson eventually took revenge, having Pant caught by Joe Root to end a 118-ball innings, but it was the batsman's day after he began with a cautious approach.

"If the bowlers are bowling well, respect it and take the singles, and that was on my mind," Pant said. "I like to play the situation and I just see the ball and react - that's the USP of my game.

"The team plan was to get to 206, past the England total, and then get as many runs as possible after that as a batting unit."

England are confident spinner Dom Bess will rediscover his rhythm after being left frazzled by India's batsman and his own wayward line on day two of the fourth Test.

India reached 294-7 thanks to a stunning 115-ball century from Rishabh Pant, who helped the hosts establish an 89-run lead, after surviving a big lbw shout from Bess shortly before tea.

Bess finished without reward, with figures of 0-56 in 15 overs pointing to a lack of threat from the 23-year-old off-spinner. He bowled with a lack of control at times, throwing in far too many full tosses, and will want to get among the wickets on Saturday morning and put a bad Friday behind him.

He was recalled for this contest in Ahmedabad having been left out for the second and third Tests, both of which England lost after making a winning start to the series in Chennai.

England spin coach Jeetan Patel said Bess had "needed a break" and was "jaded" by his experience of that opening match.

But Patel trusts Bess is capable of troubling batsmen again, and said of his disappointing performance so far in this match: "It's no real one thing, it's just a fact it didn't work out for him today.

"There's still room for him to improve, like everyone in this group, but Bessy's still very young. He's still learning how to bowl red ball at Test level which is very difficult. He'll be better for these experiences going forward.

"There's some things with Bessy that we'd like to get into. He's got time after this Test match to get back and look at that, but right now he's got a job to do and that's getting those three wickets tomorrow.

"He would have liked to have bowled a lot better today and liked to have given a lot more to the group, and it didn't work out for him. They played him very well. They sat on him and looked for balls to score off when they could.

"Right now he will be quite down and quite tired, but the beauty of this game is the fact there is another opportunity tomorrow."

Ben Stokes, by contrast, was hailed as England's 'Superman' by Patel. 

Stokes took 2-73 in 22 overs to follow up his 55 with the bat on Thursday, and at stumps he appeared exhausted, having been running in amid searing heat.

"Stokesy's your man. He's the guy you want to go to for anything really," Patel said. "He's almost like a Superman with this sort of stuff. He really does enjoy the tough battles.

"He bowled a lot of overs today. He almost bowled the whole first session and he got some crucial wickets for us on the way.

"He's pretty cooked as you can imagine, but he's a warhorse and he loves it. He loves when it gets tough and he loves when it gets hot and tiring, and that's when he stands up most. Hopefully we see the best of him again tomorrow."

Patel said Pant's innings was "pretty special" but claimed the match was "still quite in the balance".

"He came out after that tea break and took it to us," Patel said of Pant's effort. "Hats have to go off to how they played that."

Rishabh Pant conjured a dashing century to drag India away from danger and into a position from where they can push for victory over England in the fourth Test.

On a baking-hot afternoon in Ahmedabad, Pant made England suffer in the sun as he helped India recover from 80-4 and later 146-6 to reach 294-7 at the close.

The 23-year-old reached his century, his third for India and a first on home soil, with a slog-swept six off Joe Root. That was the 115th ball that Pant faced but he perished to the 118th, miscuing a pull James Anderson to Root at midwicket.

And angry though he was to toss away his wicket in such a fashion, day two of this final match in the series was emphatically Pant's day, India establishing a first-innings cushion of 89 so far as they attempt to build on their 2-1 lead.

From 24-1 overnight, India were dealt two major blows midway through the morning session when Cheteshwar Pujara was snared lbw by Jack Leach, soon followed back by captain Virat Kohli, caught behind off Ben Stokes without scoring. England snatched another big wicket immediately before lunch, Stokes taking the slip catch off Anderson to remove Ajinkya Rahane.

Losing Rohit Sharma for 49 was another significant blow to prospects of going significantly beyond England's 205, Stokes trapping him with a delivery that nipped back sharply off the pitch and struck the batsman above the back pad.

When Ravichandran Ashwin fell for 13 to Leach, England had a first-innings lead in their sights, but those hopes soon faded. Stokes threatened another breakthrough, but Pant's derring-do chop outside off stump cleared second slip, racing away to the boundary to take India past the 200 mark.

Pant pulled Stokes to the boundary to bring the teams level, and when the England all-rounder dropped the ball on his run-up in the same over, it summed up his frustration when he booted it away.

With wind in his sails, Pant audaciously took on the new ball as Anderson entered the attack, giddily clubbing the first two deliveries to the boundary, and in Anderson's next over he reverse-swept the paceman over England's slip cordon and to the ropes. Washington Sundar (60 not out) provided capable company in a partnership worth 113.

Pant was upset with himself for getting out so soon after reaching three figures, giving Anderson a third wicket, but by that stage the young batsman owed nobody an apology.


India turn up the heat

As the temperature climbed above 40 degrees Celsius, England wilted. Which is not to say the effort levels went down, because Stokes most notably was charging in with familiar elan, but India were at ease in the scorching conditions, and the more escapes that the hosts enjoyed, the more the heat took its effect on those in the field.

Misfortune combined with searing heat is a fatiguing combination, while Dom Bess' struggles meant England lacked a reliable off-spinning option. Throw Pant's brilliance into the equation and it proved a wearing late afternoon for the tourists.

Pristine Pant

Or almost pristine, anyway. He lived dangerously at times, offering glimpses of chances to England, but this was quite a coming-of-age moment for Pant as he celebrated a first Test century in India. The likelihood is that plenty more will come from the wicketkeeper-batsman, who struck 13 fours and a pair of sixes in his knock, changing the complexion of this contest blow by blow.

South Africa have announced the appointment of Dean Elgar as Test captain, while Temba Bavuma is to take charge of the Proteas in limited-overs cricket.  

The announcement of the duo to their respective roles comes after Quinton de Kock had led South Africa in all formats on a temporary basis, though Heinrich Klaasen was in charge for last month’s Twenty20 series in Pakistan due to the wicketkeeper-batsman's absence.  

Cricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith thanked De Kock for his efforts as skipper, while made clear he will continue to play an “integral role” as part of the leadership group.  

Opening batsman Elgar – who has played 67 Tests and scored 13 hundreds in the format - will be skipper through the next cycle of the ICC World Test Championship.  

Bavuma, meanwhile, is to lead South Africa in the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cup tournaments, as well as the next 50-over World Cup, which takes place in India in 2023. He will also serve as vice-captain in Test cricket, too.

"We as CSA are pleased with the appointments of Temba and Dean and believe that we have the men who will lead the Proteas back to their winning ways of old," Smith said in a statement. 

"The pair bring the required stability in both leadership and form to turn the ship in the direction that will eventually bring trophies back to the cabinets. 

"Temba has been a strong and influential voice in the team in recent times and has shown consistency on the field in all formats, solidifying his place as a leader. He also has the trust and backing of the players and coaches around him.” 

On Elgar, he added: “Dean has made no secret of his Test captaincy ambitions over the years and we are pleased to have a leader who is ready, willing and able to step up to the massive task of turning our Test cricket fortunes around.  

"His role as a leader in the Test team has never been in doubt and I know that he relishes the prospect of captaining the Test team. We are confident that he will bring the same grit and determination to his captaincy as he has brought to his many performances on the field over many years."

Ben Stokes said his heated exchange with Virat Kohli was an example of "two blokes who care what they do" after the England all-rounder was accused of hurling abuse at an India bowler.

Paceman Mohammed Siraj claimed he was targeted after bowling to Stokes, which led him to call captain Kohli to deal with the situation.

Kohli stepped in and words were exchanged before the umpires intervened, with the episode occurring before lunch on day one of the fourth Test in Ahmedabad.

Stokes went on to make 55 in England's 205 all out, with India reaching 24-1 at stumps in reply.

England star Stokes attempted to defuse the situation by declaring it a case of "two professionals showing they care about the sport they love and enjoy".

He added: "A lot gets said nowadays when two guys seem to come to words out in the middle. Completely nothing untoward. Two blokes who care what they do.

"Nowadays in cricket it's a massive talking point when you see two opponents having a word with each other. People seem to not lose their heads but seem to think it's all wrong.

"Look at it from a different way - it's two, three guys who care about what they're doing, care about who they're representing, playing against each other.

"We're competitors so we're not going to back down to anyone, whoever it may be."

Stokes was suffering with a stomach upset on day one but managed to get through his duties, which including serving as an opening bowler for the first time in a Test match.

England selected only one frontline paceman in James Anderson, with Stokes ready to step in whenever seam at both ends may be order of the day.

Given he was feeling unwell, Stokes admitted it was a day of mixed blessings.

"I won't go into details but I've had better days," the 29-year-old said in a post-match news conference.

Asked whether he could continue to play uninhibited for the rest of the match, Stokes said: "I'll just to have see, day by day."

England's latest disappointing day with the bat was one that Stokes did not shy away from.

After being swept aside in two days in the third Test, also in Ahmedabad, England can still salvage a series draw but must win this week.

"I think we're more than capable of scoring 300 on a wicket like that, so it's frustrating," Stokes said, "but we can't dwell on it too much.

"It was nice to get a wicket there at the end of the day.

"I know it's a much better wicket than it was in the last game we played here."

Ben Stokes fought off a stomach upset to prop up another dismal England batting effort as India dominated day one of the fourth Test.

The all-rounder battled his way to 55 in a team total of 205 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, with England's hopes of drawing this series now seemingly in the hands of their bowlers.

James Anderson snatched the wicket of Shubman Gill from the third ball of India's reply, with the home team reaching stumps on 24-1.

After heavy defeats in Chennai and then inside two days last week in Ahmedabad, the second match of the series to be played at this stadium looked to be following a depressingly familiar pattern for England supporters.

England at least passed 200, having not done so for five successive innings, but that was small consolation as they again proved fragile against India's spinners. They need a win in this final match to draw the series.

There was much to enjoy for the Indian crowd, who savoured the sight of Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley and captain Joe Root all back in the hutch with just 30 runs on the board in the morning.

Axar Patel made the first incursions, bowling Sibley (2) off a slight inside edge as the England man waited for the turn that never came. That was from Axar's second ball of the match, and having taken 11 wickets in the previous Test, it was a foreboding message to England.

The left-arm spinner snared his second victim of this match when he had Crawley caught at mid-off, the batsman on the charge but hoisting the ball with a lack of control.

Root's recent hot streak very much ended in Chennai, and his pair of cheap dismissals in last week's third Test in Ahmedabad was emblematic of England's wider failings. His struggles continued when he was removed for just five this time, pinned lbw by Mohammed Siraj.

Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes began to rebuild for England, before Bairstow (28) went the same way as Yorkshire colleague Root when Siraj struck for a second time.

Stokes, shrugging off his stomach complaint, had been going through his repertoire, sweeping, reverse-sweeping, and looking in good shape, until Washington Sundar trapped him in front.

Ollie Pope (29) and Dan Lawrence (46) made starts but could not stay out there long enough.

The tourists scraped their way above 200, but former captain Andrew Strauss, analysing for Channel 4, lamented what he described as "a poor batting performance from England, there's no two ways about it".


New role for Stokes

With Jofra Archer ruled out by his ongoing right elbow problem, England elected to name James Anderson as their one frontline seamer, deciding the pitch would be most receptive to spin and pairing Jack Leach with Dom Bess. It was therefore Stokes to whom England turned as an opening pace partner for Anderson. Stokes has fulfilled various roles in his storied England career but this was his first stint as an opening bowler. With the all-rounder perhaps not in the best health for it, it was little surprise when he was taken out of the attack after bowling two overs.

Axar and Ashwin put England in a spin... again

Three lbw verdicts to spin in England's innings told its own story. Stokes, Bess and Leach could not pick the straight ball, with Axar, Ashwin and Washington Sundar getting a wicket each that way. Axar finished with 4-68, Ashwin took 3-47, and England must hope their own spin squad of Bess, Leach and perhaps skipper Root can inflict similar damage on day two. India took advantage of some poor batting from England though, and a better-focused India effort could see them take the match away from the tourists. Axar, remarkably, has 22 wickets at 10.81 in his Test career to date.

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