India v England 5th Test, Day 1 - 5 Talking Points

India v England 5th Test, Day 1 – 5 Talking Points

Moeen Ali England
Moeen Ali. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Chennai beat the Cyclone and all the hurdles that came their way and things were in perfect shape at the right time to start the concluding Test match of the series. Alastair Cook won yet another toss and decided to bat first. There was moisture in the wicket and the Indian new ball bowlers including Ravindra Jadeja made most of it. While the first session completely belonged to the Indians England made a swift and timely comeback after Lunch and were in control for the last two sessions to end the day in a commanding position.

Joe Root once again failed to score a hundred but did manage to score yet another half century against India. Moeen Ali also made most of the life he got and capitalized to get to his hundred. Jonny Bairstow continued his consistent form as well but fell in the closing minutes of the game. Jadeja was the standout bowler for India as the visitors’ ended day 1 with 284 runs for the loss of 3 wickets.

1. England rusty in the first session

It had rained overnight in Chennai and there was definitely some moisture in the wicket. Indian pacers Ishant Sharma who was brought in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav who has been the workhorse in the series bowled really well to start off. Ishant set up Keaton Jennings to fox him with a fuller delivery early in the day. Virat then brought in Jadeja as the first change bowler and he was on the money.

He troubled Alastair Cook and it looked certain that something was going to happen in this spell. Jadeja induced Cook into a drive and the ball took the outside edge of his bat to land in Virat’s hands in slip. England just managed 68 runs in the first session of 29 overs and in the process lost both their openers.

2. Root plants himself in

While India held an edge in the morning session Joe Root had quietly managed to score 44 runs. It was not that he wasn’t troubled but managed to hold on to his wicket and that helped England’s cause in the post Lunch session. Their approach was completely different once they walked out to bat in the afternoon. Having struggled to get runs earlier they cut loose and by scoring heavily in the initial few overs put pressure on the Indian bowlers.

Amit Mishra the third Indian spinners couldn’t deploy his experience to effect and was targeted by the English pair. Ali and Root both scored off him and then Virat Kohli was certainly forced to stop the leakage. The English vice-captain played some delightful shots and pushed the Indians on the back foot. Just when he looked good enough for a hundred he under-edged Jadeja and the DRS got him.

3. Moeen Ali gets England back in the game

After Root’s dismissal Team India looked to get things back in control but Ali was not giving it away. He was dropped when he was on naught and he made them pay every bit for it. The slog sweep which has been his major weapon against the spinners was back as he tried to disrupt their lines. He danced down the wicket and played the occasional risk shot to ensure the runs didn’t dry up.

Once he had the feel of things he was pretty much into it and got to his hundred, the 5th hundred of his Test career, the second against India and the fourth of the year. The best part was he remained unbeaten at the end of the day on 120 and that gives England a lot of assurance.

4. The partnerships

England lost 2 wickets for the first 21 runs but then added 146 and 86 runs for the next two partnerships. Ali and Root played together for almost two sessions and gave definition to the England batting today. They not only scored runs but did that in a manner that the dominating Indian spinners were no longer imposing. The 146-run stand had a share of 79 from Root and 58 from Ali.

Ali kept going despite losing Root and kept things in hand with Jonny Bairstow. The duo as fluent and looked good to take them home at stumps but though Ali was still intact Bairstow lost focus towards the end and hit a Jadeja delivery straight to KL Rahul at short cover.

5. Jadeja’s triplet

On the first day of the Test match on a wicket that had slow turn, Ravindra Jadeja troubled the visitors the most. He was accurate like he always is and was able to extract turn from the wicket. Kohli brought him in early and he gave the skipper what he was looking for; the big wicket of Alastair Cook. He bowled it fuller, invited him to drive and then got him to edge it.

He was lucky to get Joe Root, though. A widish delivery Root looked to cut it but managed just an under edge. While the bowler was not sure and the wicketkeeper had little clue Kohli felt he heard something and went for a review. UltraEdge detected a spike while the ball went past the bat, an under edge, and Marais Erasmus had to overturn his decision.

The last wicket was so unlike Jadeja, seldom does he got the batsman out caught in the circle while driving. Bairstow was batting on 49 and hadn’t made a mistake in his knock thus far, Kohli got in the extra catching fielder and Jadeja got him to drive. It went according to their plan and KL Rahul gleefully accepted a catch that came straight to him at short cover.