England vs India, 1st Test, Day 1, Review: Late resurgence helps India ace a hard-fought day
Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers for India with 4 wickets to his name.
Updated - Aug 1, 2018 11:41 pm
What a fascinating day of Test cricket we witnessed at the Edgbaston! There were partnerships from the batsmen, a classical offspinner’s dismissal and a moment of brilliance from the visiting side’s skipper which turned the game on its head. When things were looking bleak for Team India, Virat Kohli caught his counterpart Joe Root short of the crease with a direct hit and then the world number 1 Test side pounced on the opening.
England were reduced to 243/7 from a comfortable 216/3 in the matter of 12 overs. Jonny Bairstow played one on to his stumps from Umesh Yadav while playing a cut shot on 70. Jos Buttler was caught plumb in front of the stumps by Ravi Ashwin who was indeed a surprise package of the day picking wickets for his team from the word go. The same bowler sent back the struggling Ben Stokes who has been a pale shadow of himself since coming back to international cricket.
The third session, in which Root and Bairstow were smashing runs at 6 runs per over, suddenly belonged to India and it was only due to the partnership between Sam Curran and Adil Rashid that England could add some vital runs in the end. The latter though was soon dismissed and so was Stuart Broad as both of them were caught leg before by Ishant Sharma and Ashwin respectively.
They finished the day on 285/9 thanks to Curran who was impressive as he remained unbeaten on a promising 24 along with James Anderson.
Root shows his class yet again
Earlier on the day, India surprised one and all by leaving out Cheteshwar Pujara from the playing XI for KL Rahul as Shikhar Dhawan retained his place in the side. After all the talk around Kuldeep Yadav, he wasn’t included as well and India decided to go in with three seamers, an all-rounder and only spinner Ashwin.
Umesh didn’t use the new ball wisely and leaked runs in his three-over spell to the openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings. Meanwhile, the latter was dropped on 9 in the slip cordon by Ajinkya Rahane and the fears of failure like previous tours resurfaced. But Kohli played a masterstroke by introducing Ravi Ashwin in the seventh over. He castled Cook with a slow loopy off-spinning delivery which pitched around the leg-stumped and turned right across the left-hander to hit the top of his off-stump.
Everyone was stunned with the magical delivery but Joe Root strode out then much to the delight of the hosts. He and Jennings played some delightful shots and didn’t let the dismissal deter their plans. Root was absolutely brilliant with his selection of shots and looked a class apart. He just continued in the same vein from where he had left in the ODI series.
However, a pigeon interruption disrupted the concentration of his partner post lunch as Jennings inside-edged a short ball from Shami directed towards his body onto his stumps and the ball rolled on the ground only to hit the stumps. Dawid Malan was then pinned in front of the stumps by Mohammed Shami with a corker of a delivery and even a review couldn’t save him.
However, Bairstow and Root joined hands to rebuild the innings and added 105 runs for the fourth wicket. But their misjudgement of taking on Kohli – the fielder cost them big time and India finished the day on top.
England 285/9 after 88 overs (J Root 80, J Bairstow 70; R Ashwin 4/59, M Shami 2/64)