England fast bowler Jofra Archer said the pitch on Day 5 of the first Test against India in Chennai was “the worst I have ever seen.” Archer said England were confident of taking the remaining nine India wickets on the final day of the Test and he expected the game to finish “not long after afternoon drinks.” As things turned out England defeated India by 227 runs, bowling the hosts out for 192 in a chase of 420 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series. The match finished in the second session on Day 5.
“On the fifth day it was probably the worst surface I’ve seen – its orange colour, bits missing, rough patches for the bowlers to aim at,” Archer wrote in his column for Daily Mail.
“When we walked out in search of nine wickets on the fifth day, I was very hopeful we would complete the job – although these India players have big reputations and are at home, so should be able to cope with conditions better than anyone.
“So, I didn’t expect us to skittle them. Equally, I didn’t expect it to finish not long after afternoon drinks.”
Needing 381 runs to win on the final day, the Indians fell prey to menacing spells of fast bowling by James Anderson, who dismissed a well-set Shubman Gill, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant in the morning session.
India captain Virat Kohli held the fort with his 72, but he was bowled by Ben Stokes on a delivery that kept low and sneaked under Kohli’s bat.
Archer hailed Anderson’s “brilliant over of reverse swing” and called the wickets of Gill and Rahane the turning points of the innings.
“Jimmy Anderson’s brilliant over of reverse swing was decisive and it was the second time in the game we had taken two wickets so close together, after Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane earlier in the game,” Archer wrote.
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