India savaged over 'rubbish' fourth Test pitch amid England spinner's epic feat

The backlash over the Ranchi pitch comes after an incredible display from England's Shoaib Bashir.

Seen here, England spin bowler Shoaib Bashir against India.
Shoaib Bashir's four-wicket spell on a treacherous day two pitch in Ranchi left India in trouble against England in the fourth Test. Pic: Getty/Fox Cricket

England cricket greats Stuart Broad and Michael Vaughan have led the criticism against India over the decision to prepare such a volatile pitch in Ranchi for the fourth Test. England spinner Shoaib Bashir ripped the heart out of India's batting line-up on day two after taking figures of 4-84 to restrict India to 7-219.

That came after Joe Root led England's remarkable turnaround from a precarious position on 5-112 on day one. Root finished with an unbeaten 122 before the tourists were all out for 353. Bashir's heroics on day two gave England a lead of 134 runs going into day three on a treacherous pitch that has often seen balls stay low and bamboozle batters.

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India's in-form opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (73) copped one such eye-opening delivery to fall victim to Bashir, who produced the longest bowling spell by an Englishman in 11 years. Bashir's 31-over spell yielded four wickets and was an outstanding display of patience and endurance not seen by an Englishman since Graham Swann in 2013. It was also the longest spell by any bowler in a Test match in India since Anil Kumble in 2005.

Dhruv Jurel (30) and Kuldeep Yadav (17) provided late resistance for India with a 42-run partnership for the unbroken eighth wicket. However, Root suggested that Bashir would have an even greater role to play in the rest of the Test as England look to level the series at 2-2 on a pitch that is only likely to get trickier for the batters.

"He was brilliant. He is a great young lad to have in the group," Root said of Bashir. "He should take a lot of confidence for the rest of this game and going forward as well. It looks like the pitch will keep getting worse. If we can get three early wickets, hopefully that puts us in a really strong position."

India cop backlash over Ranchi pitch

India's decision to prepare such a pitch has come under fire from England legends Broad and Vaughan. Both men suggested that the nature of the wicket gave a massive advantage to the team batting first - in this case England. And that criticism was shared around the cricket world as fans questioned why India would leave their fate to chance and the flip of a coin.

Yashasvi Jaiswal bangs out another 50

India wobbled early in their first innings after skipper Rohit Sharma edged James Anderson to be caught behind for two. The wicket was Anderson's 697th in Test cricket, leaving him on the cusp of joining Muttiah Muralitharan and the late great Shane Warne as the only men to reach the 700-Test wicket milestone.

Jaiswal was fluent at the crease for India and the nearest England got to dismissing him before his half-century was when Ben Foakes grabbed an edge. However, replays confirmed the ball had touched ground before the wicketkeeper collected it. Shubman Gill (38) got off to a decent start but could not capitalise on it, falling lbw to Bashir. Rajat Patidar (17) fell in the same manner to the spinner, while Jadeja (12) was caught at short leg off Bashir's bowling.

Yashasvi Jaiswal kept his run of form going with another half century for India. Pic: Getty
Yashasvi Jaiswal kept his run of form going with another half century for India. Pic: Getty

Jaiswal, the leading scorer of the series after two double centuries, passed the 50-mark for the fourth time in seven innings. But the left-hander fell just when he was looking good for another century, and his exit put England in charge.

Jaiswal rocked back wanting to play Bashir through the off-side, but the ball stayed low and hit the toe-end of his bat before hitting the stumps. India were reeling at 5-161 when left-arm spinner Tom Hartley dismissed Sarfaraz Khan and Ravichandran Ashwin until Jurel and Kuldeep frustrated England with their dour rearguard action.

with agencies

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