India survived a late England charge to claim a tense draw on the final day of the first Test in Rajkot on Sunday (13 November). The hosts were set a target of 310 for victory from 49 overs when their opponents declared in the afternoon on 260-3, but lost six wickets before eventually being seen through to the finish by a fine knock from captain Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja.
Returning on day five at 114 without loss with a lead of 163, England reached lunch at 211-2 after a brilliant 106 from Alastair Cook. Talented teenage opener Haseeb Hameed, who yesterday marked his debut with a confident half-century, made 82 before being caught and bowled by Amit Mishra with what appeared to be a no ball. Joe Root quickly fell for only two runs when he was caught behind by Wriddhiman Saha.
The tourists eventually declared when Cook, who had earlier notched his 30th Test ton from 194 deliveries, eventually fell for 130 thanks to a combination of Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja.
India endured a difficult start to their run chase when the veteran Gautam Gambhir guided a Chris Woakes delivery to Root stationed at second slip. They were reduced to 47-2 before tea when Cheteshwar Pujara was given out lbw off the bowling of Adil Rashid despite replays showing that the ball actually seemed to pitch outside leg stump. The review was declined.
Rashid struck again thanks to an excellent catch from Hameed at short leg to remove Murali Vijay for 31 and England were given real hope when Ajinkya Rahane was beaten by a Moeen Ali delivery that spun off a big crack in the pitch. Ashwin joined Kohli at the crease and looked to have helped guide India towards a hard-fought tie before being sent packing for 32. Root took the catch off Zafar Ansari at short cover.
Needing five more dismissals with 10 overs left to play, England brought Rashid back into the attack and the Yorkshire spinner claimed the final wicket with the help of a review when Saha chipped a ball straight back to him. However, a draw quickly became inevitable as the minutes ticked down, with Kohli finishing one shy of his 50 and Jadeja adding 32.
"A really tough five days, but we played good cricket," Cook told Sky Sports after the match. "When you score 530-odd like we did in the first innings, then you're always in the game. I'm really proud of the lads – we were relentless with the ball, and picked up crucial wickets time and time again, but right at the end they just held on."
Opposite number Kohli added: "We have been a side recently that has always played positively and looked for a result, so to be tested like that, with the momentum going against us, is good for our development if we want to be a successful team. We could have been much better on days one and two – we dropped too many catches, and when that happens at this level, the opposition will take the game away from you."
The five-match series now moves on to Visakhapatnam, where the second Test gets underway on Thursday (17 November).