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    Gill and Jurel withstand England's spin storm to secure India's series victory
Gill and Jurel withstand England's spin storm to secure India's series victory
Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel walk back victorious, by Getty Images

Gill and Jurel withstand England's spin storm to secure India's series victory

Bashir took two wickets in two overs after lunch, which changed the course of the game. However, England's collapse in the second innings left them with an insufficient total to defend.

India, led by the sixth-wicket pair of Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel, successfully withstood England's threat to win the fourth Test inside four days and clinched the series 3-1 with one match remaining.

After Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal initiated India's chase, they encountered a significant setback, losing five wickets for 36 runs in 20.5 overs, leaving them at 120 for 5 and requiring 72 more runs for victory. But Gill and Jurel, the latter playing only his second Test, forged an unbroken partnership to steer India to victory.

England's young spinners, Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley, bowled maturely to make India work in the second hour of the morning session as India resumed on 40 for the loss of 152. Bashir took three wickets, adding to his first-innings five-for.

However, England had left India with insufficient tasks to perform. In the first innings, Jurel's score of 90 brought India close to victory. In the second innings, England was bowled out for 145, thanks to R Ashwin's five-for and Kuldeep Yadav's four-for, setting India a target of 192 for victory with just over half a day remaining. Bazball is not just a vibe, it is an ethos with a proven Test-series record of four triumphs, three draws and no defeats - until now. The vibe, however, kept England believing almost until the end.

This may have been why India was cautious, especially after losing three wickets in 8.5 overs.

Following James Anderson's age-defying mid-air catch at short third to remove Jaiswal, who has been so impressive this series, India only managed to score 34 runs in the 19.3 overs until lunch. India possibly got nervous after the break, resulting in Ravindra Jadeja hitting a full toss straight to midwicket, giving Bashir his first of two wickets in two balls. When Ben Foakes shouted 'we're a bang-bang away, lads' with India needing just 27 more, England fans could be forgiven for thinking 'just maybe'.

India, however, has a proven track record of not having lost a Test series at home in more than 11 years.

On Monday morning, they made good progress towards their target. They added 42 runs in the first eight overs of the day. Rohit hit a six over mid-on off Anderson, taking his side past fifty and leaving them with 140 more runs to get. He and Jaiswal swept and reverse-swept Bashir and Hartley to keep the boundary count going.

Joe Root interrupted their partnership at 84 runs. He extracted some turn out of the rough with a full delivery, causing Jaiswal to mis-hit his attempt to clear extra cover. The ball took the outside edge and flew to short third where Anderson made a full-stretch grab.

Hartley drew Rohit out of his crease with an outside delivery. The ball kissed the edge before sailing into Foakes' gloves. Despite not having the edge, Rohit would have still been dismissed for 55 as Foakes whipped off the bails while he was out of his ground. The dismissal was initially thought to be a stumping, but UltraEdge revealed a faint spike.

Bashir then removed Rajat Patidar for a six-ball duck in the next over. His length ball turned from off stump into the inside edge and popped to Ollie Pope at backward short leg via the knee roll. It was a disappointing series for Patidar, who only managed to reach double figures twice and pass 30 once in six innings.

India went to lunch needing 74 runs with seven wickets remaining. But Bashir swung the momentum in England's favour. He took wickets off consecutive balls in the second over after the interval. Jadeja was caught by Jonny Bairstow off a full toss. Sarfaraz Khan was beaten by a delivery that turned from outside off, resulting in a thin edge onto the pad and into Pope's hands at backward short leg.

Jurel survived the hat-trick ball. When he drove a full, wide Bashir delivery through the covers, it marked India's first boundary off the bat in 31 overs, bringing their task under 50 runs.

From there, Jurel and Gill steadily accumulated the runs they needed. Jurel initially took the lead in their partnership, reaching 32 off 70 balls, before Gill took over with 39 off 119. With 20 runs needed, Gill hit Bashir over long-off for a six, and then, two balls later, raised his fifty by clearing the fence at deep midwicket.

Jurel contributed significantly to India's victory by hitting a four through mid-on and striking the winning runs by working a delivery from Hartley off his legs for two, along with Gill.

Jurel's first innings was also crucial, as he and Jaiswal were the only ones to pass 40 for India while chasing England's 353, which was led by Joe Root's return to form via an unbeaten century. Jurel arrived with his team at 161 for 5 and witnessed the dismissals of Sarfaraz and Ashwin before partnering with Kuldeep for a 76-run stand. He then added another 40 runs with No. 10 Akash Deep, who was making his Test debut. When Jurel was dismissed, India had scored 307 runs, reducing the deficit to just 46.

Bashir and Hartley took eight wickets during India's first innings, and England was confident of building a sufficient lead when they resumed batting. However, Zak Crawley's half-century was the only notable contribution as England's batters recorded three ducks. Bairstow was the only other player to bat beyond 20. This left India with a target that appeared to be easily achievable, with plenty of intrigue thrown in.

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