Debutant Tom Hartley delivered one of the greatest overseas wins in England’s history, claiming a magnificent seven to down India in the first Test at Hyderabad and complete a classic comeback.
Earlier in the match Hartley had seen his first ball as a Test cricketer launched for six but he showed huge reserves of steel to bounce back with stunning figures of seven for 62 in the fourth innings to seal a dramatic 28-run victory.
The unheralded 24-year-old, selected for this trip as a hunch pick, came into match with a career-best haul of five for 52 for Lancashire and left it a hero after he wrapped up the last wicket in the final over of the fourth day.
England looked on course for a thumping defeat after conceding a 190-run first-innings deficit but refused to back down with bat or ball and condemned India to just a fourth home defeat in over a decade.
Ollie Pope provided the platform with a heroic 196, leaving India with a tough chase of 231 on a worn pitch, and with lead spinner Jack Leach restricted by a knee injury Hartley stepped up in unforgettable fashion.
India are used to having things their own way on their own soil but at times seems gripped by a collective malaise, frozen in defence as England swarmed to bowl them out for 202. Hartley, fittingly, grabbed the winning moment when Mohammed Siraj was stumped by Ben Foakes on a wild jaunt down the track.
In doing so he became the first spinner since the great Jim Laker to claim seven-for on debut, a feat made all the more impressive by his chastening first spell on day one that left some questioning his selection.
England’s fielding was also razor-sharp, Pope following his game-changing knock with two fine close catches off Hartley and captain Ben Stokes pulling off an instinctive run-out to pile on the pressure.
Starting on 316 for six, England added another 104 to finish 420 all out – their highest second-innings score in India since 1961.
Pope was unbeaten on 148 overnight, an effort hailed by team-mate Joe Root as an “absolute masterclass”, and added another 48 before he was last man out. He perished in fitting style, attempting to reach a deserved double century with an over-the-shoulder ramp but losing his off stump to Jasprit Bumrah.
He had earlier enjoyed a vital stand of 80 with none other than Hartley, who made a enterprising 34 to kick off his unforgettable day.
England almost enjoyed the perfect start to their hunt for 10 wickets, Mark Wood coming close in a solitary over with the new ball when he took Rohit Sharma’s edge. Agonisingly, the catch slipped through Zak Crawley’s fingers at slip and skipped through for four.
Stokes still took the seamer off and threw Hartley straight into the action against Yashavi Jaiswal, the man who had launched his first Test delivery into the stands on Thursday evening. Unbowed by those memories, Hartley established a groove and savoured a moment of redemption when Jaiswal flicked one firmly into Pope’s hands at short-leg.
Two balls later the pair teamed up again to send Shubman Gill packing for a duck, Hartley tossing it up and Pope staying low to hang on at silly point. England were buzzing but the presence of Sharma gave cause for concern.
India promoted Axar Patel from number nine to five, steering their way to tea at 95 for three, but four balls after the restart Patel fed a low caught-and-bowled straight back to Hartley.
KL Rahul, having scratched out 22, stayed back in his crease and was lbw to Root, taking a review with him for good measure. India’s options were thinning by the minute and when Stokes brilliantly dived and threw down the stumps to run out first-innings top-scorer Ravindra Jadeja for just two, it was a hammer blow.
Shreyas Iyer prodded a struggling Leach to slip for 13 but at 119 for seven, with little room for further error, India finally regained their composure through a 57-run stand between Srikar Bharat and Ravichandran Ashwin.
With stumps just around the corner Hartley forced his way back into the spotlight, ripping one past Bharat’s outside edge and into the top of off. That was enough encouragement for the umpires to grant the extra half-hour which gave Hartley the stage to complete his underdog tale.
Within seconds Ashwin was stumped charging down the track, a mistake Siraj would replicate with only four balls left in the day to spark joyous celebrations.