Zak Crawley reaches 61 at lunch as England seek consolation win against India

Zak Crawley came through a testing examination from Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj to make an unbeaten fifty for England in their fifth Test against India in Dharamsala.

England reached lunch on the opening day on 100 for two, with Crawley 61 not out, as the tourists bid for a consolation win, with India in an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

Crawley and Ben Duckett put on 64 for the opening wicket despite Bumrah and Siraj exploiting helpful seam bowling conditions to regularly test their techniques – although both India bowlers somehow went wicketless in their spells.

Left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav snared both Duckett for 27 and Ollie Pope for 11, the latter from the ball before the end of the session.

India England Cricket
England’s Ben Duckett reacts as he leaves the ground after losing his wicket (Ashwini Bhatia/AP)

Ben Stokes has suspected the pitch would be “absolutely belting” for batting so had little hesitation at what to do upon winning the toss, allowing Shoaib Bashir a little more time at convalescence after missing Wednesday’s final practice because of an upset stomach.

Ollie Robinson was back at the team hotel and with England down to 13 players, assistant coaches and ex-internationals Marcus Trescothick, 48, and Paul Collingwood, 47, were listed among the substitute fielders.

The cooler conditions in the foothills of the Himalayas initially aided India’s seamers and especially Bumrah, who went past the outside edge on a number of occasions. An 85mph delivery behaved like a leg-break; fizzing off the pitch, beating Crawley all ends up and sailing over middle stump.

Crawley had success off back and front foot, with some eye-catching drives through covers, while Duckett hunkered down as England’s opening pair dug deep to put on their fifth 50-stand of the series.

Bumrah’s figures of 7-1-24-0 hardly justified an exceptional opening salvo while Siraj had an lbw shout when Crawley was on 29 turned down, which stayed with the on-field umpire despite brushing leg stump.

Ravichandran Ashwin was introduced in the 15th over on his 100th Test and was greeted with a paddle sweep off Duckett, who undid his hard work in Kuldeep’s first over as a leading edge ballooned into the offside and was caught over his shoulder by a diving Shubman Gill.

Crawley was gradually gaining in fluency and brought up his fifty with a drive off Kuldeep for his ninth four before advancing to the ineffective Ashwin and hammering the spinner for six.

But after England moved to three figures, Pope danced down the wicket to Kuldeep, whose googly beat the outside edge and allowed Dhruv Jurel to whip off the bails in the final act before lunch.