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Big Setback For England: India’s Series Victory Is A Huge Blow In Bazball Era

England has reaped the rewards of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum’s partnership, winning four of their last seven Test series before arriving on Indian shores. However, after four series wins and three draws, England’s ‘Bazball’ approach hit a roadblock on Monday, February 26, following a defeat to India in the fourth Test of a five-match series in Ranchi. This narrow defeat signifies that England is no longer invincible under the leadership of Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, who joined forces nearly two years ago.

India’s victory on Monday turned the tide on the visitors, who had claimed victory in the series opener in Hyderabad. Despite facing injuries and the absence of several key players, the Rohit Sharma-led side handed England their first series loss under Stokes and McCullum.

When McCullum initially took charge in 2022, England appeared downtrodden, having suffered a 4-0 defeat in the Ashes against Australia Down Under. This defeat prompted Joe Root to step down as captain, marking the beginning of a new era with Stokes taking over the leadership.

England has enjoyed success with Stokes and McCullum’s partnership, winning four of their last seven series before arriving in India. Their aggressive approach, dubbed Bazball, resulted in a 3-0 series victory in Pakistan and a drawn Ashes series against Australia.

However, in India, England’s Bazball approach finally met its match. India had won 16 consecutive Test series at home, with the last defeat occurring against Alastair Cook’s England in 2012. India’s current streak stands at 17-0 since then.

In the match itself, England scored 353 all out in their first innings, taking a 46-run lead after India’s 307. Indian spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav set up the victory by sharing nine second-innings wickets, bundling out England for 145 on day three.

Chasing a target of 192, Shubman Gill played a crucial role in his 124-ball innings, partnering with Jurel, who scored 90 in India’s first innings, to navigate through a mini-crisis after Shoaib Bashir claimed two wickets in two balls soon after lunch.

Despite still needing 72 runs, Gill and Dhruv Jurel calmly rotated the strike, picking off singles before Gill reached his fifty with two successive sixes off Bashir. Jurel then hit the winning runs, prompting celebrations in the Indian dressing room as they clinched victory.

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