Moment of magic from Kohli stops England in its tracks
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — A moment of magic from Virat Kohli stopped England in its tracks and helped give India the upper hand on the opening day of the first cricket test at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
The home team was in command after winning the toss in its 1,000th test match, but captain Kohli swooped on the ball with the score on 216-3, running out opposite number Joe Root for 80 with a direct-hit throw on the turn from midwicket after Jonny Bairstow had called for an ambitious two.
Root’s dismissal sparked a collapse as England lost six wickets for 67 runs to end the day on 285-9.
Behind Root as he walked back to the pavilion, Kohli celebrated by blowing a kiss, mouthing some fruity advice and putting his finger to his lips.
He also produced a ‘bat-drop’ mime to mock a similar gesture last month from the England captain, after he had helped clinch the one-day series in Leeds with a second successive hundred for the hosts.
Bairstow, who had shared a stand of 104 for the fourth wicket with Root, chopped a ball from Umesh Yadav on to his stumps for 70 before Jos Buttler was trapped lbw by spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for nought.
Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad then also fell cheaply, leaving Sam Curran 24 not out at stumps alongside James Anderson (0).
Curran was given a lucky let-off when he was dropped by the diving wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik off Shami’s penultimate ball of the day.
Ashwin was the chief destroyer for India, taking 4-60, while fast bowler Mohammed Shami chipped in with 2-64 on a wicket of even pace and true bounce that was good for batting.
India’s powerful top-order will now be expected to pile on the runs when they bat.
Root was extremely disappointed to fall 20 runs short of his 14th test century, but he achieved a notable milestone, displacing Alastair Cook as England’s quickest to 6,000 runs in this format.
Only Cook (13) fell in the first session of the day, his front-foot defense defeated by a perfect off-break from Ashwin as he was clean bowled in the seventh over.
Keaton Jennings survived on nine when Ajinkya Rahane dived in front of Kohli in the slips, but could not hold the edge.
The return of Shami for his second spell did for Jennings (42) and ended a 72-run second-wicket stand with Root in curious circumstances.
The opener pushed the ball down into his crease and then on to his foot before it trickled back on to the base of the stumps.
Dawid Malan then fell lbw to Shami for eight to leave England on 112-3.
“It is an opportunity missed,” Jennings said of England’s batting display. “It was a mixed-bag day. Hopefully we can come out tomorrow and land the ball in the right area.
“Unfortunately, that’s cricket,” he added of Root’s run out. “It was a little bit sombre (in the dressing room after).”
India caused a surprise at the start by picking only one spin bowler.
“You can’t say that we will miss an extra spinner,” said Ashwin. “We have to play with what we have got, believe in the team selection and work harder, without thinking of what you are missing.”