England scored a historic victory on Sunday as they demolished India by 190-runs in Hyderabad.
After a difficult first two days, Ben Stokes’ side recovered with a magnificent 196 from Ollie Pope.
First-round spinner Tom Hartley then took seven wickets to spin his team to a 28-run win in the first Test.
England will now go into the rest of the series with momentum on their side, and will target the next win over India.
Mail Sport’s Nasser Hussain, David Lloyd, Paul Newman and Lawrence Booth discuss the iconic return and what it could mean for the rest of the series.
Joe Root cheers on England players as Indian wickets tumble in first Test
Can you place this exciting win?
Nasser Hussein: A deficit of 190 runs in the first innings and then 163 for five when Ben Stokes got out? Not many sides can win from there in India against the top three spinners in the game who have turned.
It was one of England’s best Tests on the back of one of their hundreds from Ollie Pope and then a complete turnaround from the first to the second innings by opener Tom Hartley. It was an incredible comeback and a display of faith and mental toughness in the team.
David Lloyd: It’s as good as it gets! Faith, organization, method and discipline. So all you have to add is just a few and it came up with 196 from the Pope which was really amazing.
It was one of the great test efforts and it was followed by the Ormskirk lad in Hartley, with nothing to back him up in terms of what he had done in first cricket, to win them the game. It was unbelievable.
Paul Newman: When I think of England’s biggest Test wins I’ve seen, I think of Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in 2010-11 – all by innings – and Mumbai in 2012 which featured Kevin Pietersen’s skill-driven innings.
Then there was Jamaica 1990 which I watched in wonder on TV. And I’ll give you one defeat in Wellington last year as the best Test. This is better than all of them – if the editor of Wisden says it’s the best in England, which he did in these pages on Monday, then that’s good enough for me.
Lawrence Booth: It reminded me of Brian Clough: I wouldn’t say he’s the best test scorer in England, but it’s high. Between the defeat of Alastair Cook’s team in 2012-13 and the game in Hyderabad, India have won 36 and lost three of their 46 home Tests. And the biggest first-innings lead they gave up to win at home was 65 – England led by 190!
This was an earthquake result, made possible by the nerveless captaincy of Ben Stokes, the intelligence of Pope and the intelligence of Hartley.
England batsman Ollie Pope stepped up after reaching his ton in the second innings against India
Will Ben mix up his pack for Friday’s second Test?
Lloyd: It’s very dependent and I hope my friend Dinesh Karthik can have a word in England’s ears about what to expect – it was a smart risk to get him to join the Lions. Do we need a fast runner? Mark Wood may have gone home instead of playing in Hyderabad. But I don’t see them all walking. I think we will see a similar team, with Jimmy Anderson or Ollie Robinson coming in for Wood.
Booth: With Joe Root bowling at his best – and taking five wickets, at just 2.50 an over – England need no third-stringer in Visakhapatnam, where Anderson and Stuart Broad took nine wickets between them in 2016-17.
I would probably leave Rehan Ahmed, and other spinners like Hartley and Jack Leach (if he is fit) or Shoaib Bashir. In any case, I would be tempted to rest Wood, and play both Anderson and Robinson. In five games, England need to turn their seams.
Hussein: England won the first Test of the last series in India and the home team made the last three wickets big, so it will be interesting to see what they do now.
India is already without Virat Kohli and now Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul have been ruled out, too. So England should see this as a good opportunity to go two. We know that England will not be afraid to make bold calls. They will shake up and assess the situation before them – not like previous administrations who have planned for the coming months.
Newman: Well, England surprised many of us when they went with their almost all-spin attack with Wood as the driver. But it worked, as everything he does is gloriously visible.
I agree Root, in India, should be considered as a front spinner. I’d bring Anderson and Robinson to Vizag, as long as he’s not an angry spinner, leaving Wood and Leach, if they don’t fit, or Ahmed.
England wicketkeeper Ben Foakes hugs Tom Hartley after sealing a historic victory
All this is set up for Virat Kohli to come back and win India the series, right?
Newman: Virat was missed in Hyderabad, not just his batting but also his aura in the field. He is very different from the regular Rohit Sharma. He would have inspired India and maybe picked a fight or two with the English players. But they are not back this week and if they win in Vizag, England can return to Abu Dhabi with a sigh of relief knowing the rest of the series is theirs. And there will be very little Kohli can do about it.
Hussein: Be careful, Paul! Let’s enjoy the four days that England will have without worrying because no one can take away the victory. But history tells you that India will come back strong.
Based on the series, it would be good for Kohli to return for the third Test but even without him England know that this could be tough. The hard work must continue. This is a five-Test series, remember, so there is plenty of time for individual battles, such as Ben Duckett against Ravichandran Ashwin and, hopefully, Anderson against Kohli, to develop.
Booth: Let’s see what happens in the second Test, first. If – and it is unlikely if – England win that one again, Kohli should enter Don Bradman territory: in 147 years of Test cricket, he is the only man to have inspired a 2-0 victory, against England in 1936. -37. But if India have a big role to play, you would expect Kohli, who played well in the World Cup and batted well recently when things were tough in South Africa, to give them some adrenaline.
Lloyd: True and he is one of the greatest players, but it is not easy to play Test cricket. We will not see Kohli in the next one but even if he plays third it is not given that he will score immediately. And they wouldn’t have a good look at the players they would face. Remember, England lost a great player in Harry Brook. The burning question – would Pope have played Brook if he had been around?
England all-rounder Jack Leach is a doubt for the second Test with a knee injury
Where can England go under Stokes?
Booth: Despite all that England’s Bazballers have done since Stokes took over, skeptics keep telling them that they can only be properly judged by two series: going to India and going to Australia. So far, so good.
If England can hold on over the next few weeks – and that could mean a series of draws, or heavy defeats – there’s no reason why they can’t win every Test series they play between the start of the summer and the 2025-26 Ashes. And if he gets the urn back, we’ll know he’s reached the stars. But they will need Stokes to stay fit.
Newman: To infinity and beyond! There is no limit to this. Bazball – sorry Australia – has been the biggest thing to happen to Test Cricket over the years and will continue to do so. Stokes is showing an amazing leader. A better captain than any of us could have imagined.
“When you help someone it’s amazing what they can achieve,” Ben said after the win. A person’s supervisor. What a leader. Let’s enjoy every second.
Lloyd: Yes, he does not believe in defeat. He has unwavering faith. After the first two days, they told us that they were looking for a way to win. At this point everyone thought that India would win in three days! I refer you to the new Bazball book – highly recommended – which gives an insight into when Brendon McCullum took the reins and said to everyone: ‘Do you want a ride?’ What a journey.
We in England have been afraid of failure – that’s a dirty word for this occasion! There is no limit to how high they can go.
Hussein: He has done very well since he was when Stokes took over till now and he is doing exactly what he said he would do and that makes Test cricket very interesting. There is joy in their victories – they do not digest any of them – and they are pushing themselves to win. Let’s enjoy that instead of worrying about how far he can go. It’s a plus as far as Test cricket goes.
Look back at the Gabba, and see what Shamar Joseph did for West Indies against Australia on Sunday. Test cricket is a very special sport and we have to take care of it.
England captain Ben Stokes has once again proved that he is a shrewd manager