Swindells digs in on England debut

Harry Swindells played an important role, supporting a fine century from Surrey’s Will Jacks, as England Under-19s scored 284 on day two of the second Youth Test in reply to India’s of 292.

The Leicestershire wicket-keeper, who took two catches in the first innings, made 16 off 60 balls on debut as part of a sixth wicket stand worth 72 with Jacks.

India reached 24 without loss by the close, extending their lead to 32; at the halfway stage of the game, with England requiring a victory to level the series, an exciting one-innings game lies in wait.

It was a disciplined and attritional day of cricket that only really came to life in the final session.

India bowled well throughout while England were patient – set on pushing for a first-innings lead that could set them up for victory. It was testament to India that they couldn’t get their noses in front, but a feather in the cap of Jacks that they got so close.

Few England batsmen found it easy, especially when it came to accelerating the scoring, and India were always able to take wickets consistently enough to prevent the hosts from getting away.

It was only Jacks who seemed at ease. Long-levered and clear-headed, he reached 50 from 81 balls before opening his shoulders to reach three figures just 19 balls later.

With Henry Brookes up at No.8 – he was No.10 for the first Youth Test at Chesterfield – it seemed Jacks knew his time had come. Six sixes later he had an excellent ton to his name and his side were almost at parity.

Prior to Jacks’ enterprising innings, England had been reliant on the steel of Max Holden and George Bartlett. Opening bat and captain Holden, who’s appearing for the final time in a Youth Test, was unflustered for his 71. Happy to leave and wait for the balls in his areas, he had to be patient with India unerringly accurate.

He lost yesterday’s star man Ryan Patel, leg before to the very English medium pace of India’s captain Himanshu Rana for 24, but found a good ally in Somerset’s Bartlett. Bartlett, taller than his skipper, was made to work hard for his runs but was rewarded for his efforts as his innings progressed. Two big sixes gave an indication of his versatility.

When Holden was dismissed, lbw to nagging left-arm spinner Ashok Sandhu, Bartlett continued his good work, despite losing Warwickshire debutant Liam Banks. But on the stroke of tea he lost his wicket to Nagarkoti and England went in at 170 for 5 – still 122 behind.

It was then that Jacks, backed up by Swindells (pictured being presented with his cap by ECB Performance Manager David Graveney), who led England’s resistance. Together they helped to take the score to 242 for 6. Then, with Nos. 8-11 not contributing a run, Jacks added a further 42 to give his side a chance of levelling the series.