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England make same mistakes as latest batting collapse in India sees another chance squandered

England lose seven wickets for 43 runs - including three for none and five for eight - as familiar mistakes from tourists leave India on top after day one of fifth Test in Dharamsala; "Don't hide behind Bazball, try and improve your own game," says Sky Sports Cricket's Nasser Hussain

Ben Stokes, England, Dharamsala (Getty Images)
Image: India spinner Kuldeep Yadav has had England captain Ben Stokes' number in the Test series

England started well before India dominated. That was the story on day one of the fifth Test and has been the story of the series.

When England pulled off a heist in Hyderabad, winning the first Test thanks to Ollie Pope's sweep-laden 196 and Tom Hartley's seven-for on debut after trailing by 190 on first innings, belief was high.

They had the momentum and India had the problems. No Virat Kohli. No Mohammed Shami. No Ravindra Jadeja (for the second Test). No KL Rahul. The hosts' unbeaten run in home Test series, which still stretches back to 2012, looked in jeopardy. England had a golden opportunity.

But it is an opportunity the tourists have squandered. Not necessarily in the second Test in Vizag, when Jasprit Bumrah was unplayable at times, but certainly in the third and fourth, in Rajkot and Ranchi respectively. Now they have potentially thrown away the opportunity of departing with a narrow 3-2 defeat.

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Nasser Hussain says the England players cannot hide behind 'Bazball' and need to look at their own game

A 4-1 India win looks the likeliest outcome after they ended day one in Dharamsala on 135-1, just 83 runs behind England's 218, which featured the latest in a long line of batting collapses. The main frustration is that England are making the same mistakes.

"The repetitive nature of England's batting has become a concern," lamented Sky Sports Cricket's Nasser Hussain after Ben Stokes' side lost their last seven wickets for 43 runs - including sequences of three for no runs and five for eight runs - from a healthy 175-3.

"That second session between lunch and tea was probably the most disappointing on this tour."

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Collapses cost England in India

Zak Crawley was the first of the seven to fall, having passed fifty for the fourth time in the series and looked a million dollars while doing so, save for some early plays and misses and lbw scares and then an edge to short leg on 61 that India failed to review.

But for the fourth time in the series, he was unable to press on and score a game-changing daddy hundred, in stark contrast to Indian counterpart Yashasvi Jaiswal.

We then had the obligatory middle-order collapse, with this 7-43 in the foothills of the Himalayas following 4-34 in Hyderabad - one England admittedly got away with thanks to Pope and Hartley's heroics - 6-68 in Vizag, 8-95 in Rajkot and 7-35 in Ranchi.

Crawley and opening partner Ben Duckett have shared five fifty-plus partnerships in the series but things have often unravelled once their alliances have been snapped.

England's Zak Crawley (Associated Press)
Image: Zak Crawley has four fifties this winter but no hundreds

Pope has looked incredibly skittish since that terrific hundred in Hyderabad, a knock ranked up there with England's greatest of all time.

He bagged a pair in Ranchi and danced past a delivery from Kuldeep Yadav in Dharamsala on the stroke of lunch to be stumped. A whopping 66.21 per cent of Pope's runs in India came in one hit.

Speaking afterwards, wrist-spinner Kuldeep said of removing Pope: "He is someone who cannot stay still at the crease for a long time. His style is such that he steps out a lot and tries to dominate the spinners by hitting them down the ground.

"He had stepped out early, so it was easy for me to change the variation. It was not that I had planned in advance. When I saw him coming out, I changed it."

Jonny Bairstow (Getty Images)
Image: Jonny Bairstow has fizzled out after promising starts

Jonny Bairstow has reached double figures seven times out of nine but failed to pass 38, offering cameos but no more when he really needs something substantial to quieten the notion that his Test career may be coming to an end.

The captain, meanwhile, is having somewhat of shocker with the bat. Stokes' record in the series after his six-ball duck on Thursday is 21.88 from nine innings with just one fifty-plus score and he seems unable to pick Kuldeep.

He has now fallen twice in a row playing back to Kuldeep - bowled in Rajkot, lbw in Dharamsala - having also been trapped leg before by fellow spinner Jadeja at the first of those venues. Joe Root has notched one hundred, but little else.

England's skipper Ben Stokes top-scored for his side with 70 off 88 deliveries
Image: Stokes is averaging 21.88 in the Test series

'Don't hide behind Bazball'

Asked whether England's Bazball philosophy needs reworking, Hussain added: "With the batting, it's an individual, 'look at your own game and try to work out how to improve'.

"The most important voice is not the coach or the captain's but your own, your own thought process. How can you become better?

"Hopefully by the end of this tour everyone will look at themselves. Don't hide behind Bazball, try and improve your own game."

Stokes and Root were quick to point out before the Dharamsala Test that England have evolved in this series and that not everything should be judged solely on results. They are right to a large extent.

England spinner Shoaib Bashir (Associated Press)
Image: England spinner Shoaib Bashir's emergence is something to savour from the tour of the subcontinent

The emergence of Hartley and Shoaib Bashir - men who headed to India as Test novices but who could now conceivably be chief spinners at home this summer - plus the continued consistency of Crawley - the only member of the batting line-up to average over 40 in the series - are things to savour.

As was Pope's 196. So, too, Duckett's 153 in Rajkot.

If England do go down 4-1, it will not have the same feel as when they were trounced 3-1 in 2021. On that occasion, they were blown away after winning the first Test. This time around they have arguably thrown it away after winning the first Test.

That will perhaps make it even more galling for England fans. Being outclassed is one thing, wasting opportunities is another. Stokes' men had the chance to do something special in India but similar errors have seen that chance slip away.

Follow text commentary from day two of the fifth Test between India and England live on and the Sky Sports App from 3.50am on Friday (4am first ball).

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