Stone stood out for England on the first day of the second Test

Olly Stone stood out among England’s bowlers on the first day of the second Test in India… Joe Root took a risk with so much on the line, but it was a joy to see him back at full throttle after his injury problems

  • Joe Root’s faith in Olly Stone was soon repaid on the first day of the second Test 
  • Stone silenced the Indian home faithful after dismissing opener Shubman Gill
  • It was a joy to see Stone at full throttle in Chennai after several serious injuries 
  • He was the pick of England’s attack, alongside Jack Leach, and kept up his pace 

A bowler so quick he has been compared to a Ferrari, Olly Stone has spent more time parked in the garage than out on the road.

The Warwickshire seamer’s career in the fast lane had stalled through a series of serious injuries, most notably two stress fractures in his back.

So what a joy it was to see Stone at full throttle in Chennai, proving his worth with just the third delivery of his second Test match – and first overseas.

Olly Stone has been compared to a Ferrari and it was a joy to see him at full throttle in Chennai

Taking the new ball with Stuart Broad, the junior partner silenced the Indian supporters when he nipped one back to opener Shubman Gill, who shouldered arms and was plumb lbw.

And that wicket was just rewards for a player who recently wondered if continuing to pursue being a pace bowler was ‘the right thing to do’ given his horrendous run of luck.

It was England managing director Ashley Giles who, when in charge of Warwickshire, said his bowler was a Ferrari not an Audi and must be treated as such.

Stone silenced the India home faithful after nipping his delivery back to opener Shubman Gill

The 27-year-old, one of three recipients of a pace-bowling development contract in January 2020, has long been earmarked as the type of 90mph-plus quick England want in their ranks on an Ashes tour.

But before Saturday his international appearances had been limited to just four one-dayers – all in Sri Lanka in 2018 – and one Test against Ireland in July 2019.

He impressed with 3-29 in the first innings of that match at Lord’s, although he was not required in the second dig as the Irish were knocked over for 38 by Broad and Chris Woakes.

Then, after missing that summer’s Ashes with his latest back injury, Stone’s only other first-class appearance was in the Bob Willis Trophy last July, when he suffered a side strain.

The 27-year-old’s injury woes had continued with a side strain in the Bob Willis Trophy last year 

Given his lack of match action, to choose Stone as the injured Jofra Archer’s replacement was a real show of faith by England.

With so much on the line in this series, it would have been easy to pick the more experienced Woakes or reverse their decision to rest the in-form Jimmy Anderson.

But Stone instantly repaid Joe Root’s faith and, along with Jack Leach, was the pick of England’s bowlers on the first day of the second Test, even if his final figures of 1-42 off 15 overs did not quite do his efforts justice.

Joe Root took a risk because it may have been easier to field Chris Woakes or Jimmy Anderson

His first spell of four overs 1-8 was particularly eye-catching. As well as the wicket of Gill, he forced Cheteshwar Pujara to seek treatment after rattling his gloves with a bouncer and hit as high as 93mph on the speed gun.

It was telling Root turned to Stone for a solitary over before lunch, when he almost had Ajinkya Rahane caught at leg gully. 

And he also threw him the second new ball ahead of Broad, smashing Rishabh Pant on the forearm with the final over before the close of play.

But Stone was, along with Jack Leach, the pick of England’s attack and also kept up his pace

Throughout the day, Stone ran in with the same energy and bowled with the same control and pace, regularly topping 90mph and getting the ball reversing after tea.

He is never going to be England’s match-winner in subcontinent conditions, when the spinners bowl the bulk of the overs.

But Stone has said he wants to ‘terrorise’ batsmen in an Ashes pace trio with Archer and Mark Wood – and performances like this will go a long way to realising that dream.

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