4th Test: Gill & Jurel steer India to series victory with hard-fought five-wicket win over England

Ranchi, Feb 26 (IANS) Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel joined forces to overcome massive pressure and nerves to steer India to a series victory with a hard-fought five-wicket win over England on Day four of fourth Test at the JSCA International Stadium on Monday.

Resuming from 40/0, India slipped from 84/0 to 120/5, including losing captain Rohit Sharma for 55, as England threatened to make a late comeback. But Gill, who remained unbeaten on 52 and Jurel, who made 39 not out, kept their calm to stitch an unbroken and decisive 72-run partnership for the sixth wicket, to complete a tricky chase of 192.

Jurel had also played a terrific hand in the first innings with a career-best score of 90. The result also means India have sealed the series with an unassailable 3-1 lead a game to spare in Dharamshala, starting on March 7, especially after losing the opening Test in Hyderabad.

While India completed their 17th straight series win at home, it is also the first series defeat for England under the leadership of Ben Stokes and coaching of Brendon McCullum. But the visitors’ can take a lot of heart from off-spinner Shoaib Bashir’s match haul of eight wickets, including five in the first innings, which wasn’t enough to stop India from winning the series.

In the morning, Rohit took India past fifty by timing a lofted flick off Anderson over wide long-on for six. He and Jaiswal would take a boundary off Bashir, before the latter survived an lbw appeal off Hartley.

Jaiswal collected a few fours via reverse-sweep, sweep and cut before his attempt to clear extra cover off Root resulted in a thick edge caught by forward diving short third man. Rohit reached his fifty off 69 balls with a brace off Hartley, but was stumped on 55 after being drawn out of the crease by the flighted and wide ball from the left-arm spinner.

Bashir joined the wicket-takers column by getting some turn and drift to catch the inside edge of Patidar and the ball lobbed to short leg taking a catch to his right, with the batter dismissed for a six-ball duck.

From there, England kept Gill and Jadeja on a tight leash for last 45 minutes of a gripping morning session, after taking three wickets in 16 balls to derail India’s morning. Shortly after lunch break was over, Bashir struck twice in two balls of the second over. He had Ravindra Jadeja caught at mid-wicket off a full toss.

On the next ball, he had Sarfaraz Khan caught at short leg for a golden duck. From there, Gill and Jurel were watchful under immense pressure, but also placed balls in the gaps to rotate strike and keep the scoreboard ticking.

Jurel, who came out to bat on a hat-trick ball, also got India’s first four after 31 overs, when he creamed the drive off an overpitched delivery from Bashir. Just like his compact and terrific show in the first innings, Jurel was precise in his footwork, played with soft hands and adjusted his wrists late to pick length and play spin well to push the ball into gaps.

As India began inching closer to victory, Gill cut loose by thumping Bashir with a free swing of the arms over long-off for six, also his first boundary. A ball later, he got his fifty by dancing down the pitch to swing over mid-wicket for six.

Jurel quickly pulled Hartley for four and took a brace through the leg-side on the last ball of the 61st over to take India over the line in a thrilling chase. His stubborn stand with Gill helped India grab a series win and continue their home dominance in Tests, despite many first-choice players.

Brief Scores: England 353 and 145 lost to India 307 and 192/5 in 61 overs (Rohit Sharma 55, Shubman Gill 52 not out; Shoaib Bashir 3-79, Joe Root 1-26) by five wickets

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