Stokes stars as England down India in thriller

Hosts take 1-0 lead in five-Test series with 31-run win

Ben Stokes brilliant spell of fast bowling helped England registered a thrilling 31-run win in the first Test of the five-match series against India in Birmingham on Saturday.

The match started with the home side winning the toss and opting to bat first. The decision seemed a correct one as the hosts reached to 216 for the loss of three wickets, but a major collapse saw them lose last seven wickets for just 71 runs and was bowled out for 287.

Captain Joe Root finished the innings with the top score of 80 off 156 balls with the help of nine fours, whereas wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow scored 70 off 119 balls with the help of nine boundaries.

For India, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was the star of the show as he claimed four, whereas pacer Mohammad Shami claimed three scalps. In reply, visitors had a solid beginning and reached 50 without loss, but young Sam Curran’s brilliant spell reduced the Men in Blue to 100 for five. From there on, it was India captain Virat Kohli’s show, who struck an astonishing 149 off 225 balls with the help of 22 fours and one six to take his team’s total to 274. For the Three Lions, Curran was the best bowler on the show as he claimed figures of four for 74.

In the second innings, the hosts were having a torrid time after being reduced to 87 for seven, courtesy Ashwin and Ishant Sharma’s magical spell.

But young Curran once again stood up for his team, this time with the bat, to score a brilliant 63 off just 65 balls with the help of nine fours and two sixes to help his side post a fighting total of 180, setting visitors 194 runs to win the opening Test. Sharma was the best bowler on the show as he claimed figures of five for 51, whereas Ashwin claimed three wickets and gave away 59 runs. But another disappointing show with the bat saw India bowled out for just 162 on the fourth day’s morning session.

Once again, it was captain Kohli who showed his class with another brilliant 51 off 93 balls with the help of four fours. For England, all-rounder Stokes bowled a fiery spell on the final day’s morning and was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed figures of four for 40.

For scoring 87 runs and claiming five wickets, Curran was named player of the match.

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