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Let’s be honest, coming from behind in any sport makes for the sweetest of victories.

England won the first Test by 28 runs and went 1-0 up in the 5 match series. That’s the summary which, in itself, is fairly unremarkable.

It’s the context that makes this victory so unbelievable. 

India have never lost at Hyderabad and this marked only the 5th time that they’ve lost a home Test in 10 years.

The manner of victory by England was the most astounding thing about the game. Trailing by 190 runs in the first innings and turning it round thanks to a stand out and scintillating 196 from Ollie Pope - a real coming-of-age innings by the vice-captain.

Ollie Pope
Ollie Pope scored a coming-of-age 196 in England's second innings

Even in the following hours of the game itself, there are almost no words left to be said about the result.

Tom Hartley’s performance on debut of 7 wickets in the second innings to win England the game was incredible for a man who, in the best possible way, got smacked about in the first innings and had journalists writing his obituary after day 1.

Even the minutiae within the game like the attacking fielding that never let up from Stokes allowed England to pressurise the Indian chase in a way that other teams haven’t been able to do…or maybe been mad enough to do. We’ve been treated to some incredible games under the Stokes-McCullum axis and this is right up there with the best of them.

I’m fully aware that celebrating victory here does not signal the theme for the rest of the series - England still need to be unbelievably consistent. One game, albeit an all-timer, does not spell glory and success for the rest of the series.

This could still be a 4-1 win to India. The result itself was remarkable because of the quality India have - R Ashwin coming in at 9 with 4 Test tonnes gives you a sense of the strength in depth of the batting card. On the bowling side their attack has over 1000 Test wickets between them.

The comparison between the two teams is somewhat when stats come into play.

Arguably the biggest impacts on the series ahead came the following day with the news that both Jadeja and KL Rahul will miss at least a portion of the series - massive hammer blows for the home side.

England for their own sorrows have lost their only experienced spinner, Jack Leach, to a knee injury for the next Test at Vizag.

Ravi Jadeja
Ravi Jadeja will be a big loss for India in the next Test and possibly longer.

A betting man still would still give you good odds on a series win by England - no side has done that since Alastair Cook’s side in 2012. To win in India, England need to play supremely well and India need to play poorly. One good performance by an Indian bowler or bat can far more easily sway the game than one from an England counterpart. 

We’ve also had false dawns before, like the Joe Root inspired first test win back in 2021. Whilst the pitch in the first Test in 2021 was flat in Chennai, England have usually struggled on the pitches doing a bit more in India which is why this Test sticks out. On a pitch that did take well to spin, England still found a way this time around to dig out a result, even when India were well on top. 

It’s one win - sure - but it’s set the tone for an almighty head-to-head over 5 Tests.


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