From a debut to forget to debut to remember, Tom Hartley’s first experience of Test cricket was filled with roller coaster of emotions. Yashasvi Jaiswal smoked his very first delivery for a six and the left-arm spinner finished with figures of 2/131 in 25 overs in the first innings.
Hartley, however, made a stunning comeback in the second innings. The 24-year-old scalped seven wickets and propelled England to an impressive 28-run victory, giving them a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
“He's not the first, and he won't be the last! As a spinner, people are going to come after you. I'm fine with it if people want to come after me. I sort of have to go into a different mind-set. You look back at the ball and you think it wasn't a bad ball. If that's the way they want to play, you've just got to play with it,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Hartley as saying.
This was Hartley’s only 21st first-class game, but the left-armer has the experience of playing 82 T20s. He opened the bowling in the first Test against India, something he has been doing in T20s for a while now.
Things didn’t quite go in his favour in the first innings. So, what did he do different in the second essay? When you're playing for the first time you just run up that bit quick," said Hartley.
“And you think, well, just slow things down, let your action do the work. When I run in quick, I just tend to lose my action a bit. I just slowed it down and kept it simple, and it seemed to work."
This was only his second five-wicket haul and Hartley said he has bowled with such great rhythm and simplicity. “Only in the nets. It's the only time that it really rags like that, in the nets. But it was fantastic, it's such a nice feeling that every ball you're going to put down is going to turn quite a lot.
"You can just keep it so simple, pitch every ball on the stumps and if it skids on, perfect, and if it doesn't, if it rags one-foot, even better. It's just unbelievable."
Talking about skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum’s unorthodox approach, he said: “I've watched a bit, and they've done some rogue things. That's just the way they are, and after being in this Test match, I'm all aboard.
“Even before, I was happy with it, I was all in anyway. They're just such a great combo and they bring so much confidence and life to this team.
"When you're bowling, you look round and think 'there was a fielder there last ball and now he's gone somewhere else'. But you just put that out of your mind. You just concentrate on the bowling and he'll do the fielding for you."
The second Test in Visakhapatnam will start on Friday and Hartley can’t wait to have a go at Indian batters once again. "Coming out here, I was just looking to get a game or a couple of games. I might have a big role, but I'm more than ready for that. I want more of it."