Thursday, 20 January 2022

England struggle in first India Test

BIRMINGHAM:  England were 285 for nine after winning the toss at stumps on the first day of the first Test against India at Edgbaston on Wednesday. Joe Root, the England captain, made 80 before his run out sparked a collapse that saw the hosts lose three wickets for eight runs in 25 balls in what is their 1,000th Test match.

At stumps, Sam Curran was 24 not out and James Anderson unbeaten on nought. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took four wickets for 60 runs in 25 overs while paceman Mohammed Shami had two for 64 in 19. This is the first of a five-match series.

Root looked on course for his first hundred at this level since he made 136 against West Indies in last year’s day/night Test at Edgbaston. But, not for the first time, he failed to convert a century into a hundred, although the fault lay as much with Bairstow as Root.

Wicket-keeper Bairstow played the ball to midwicket for a single and then set off for what always looked a tight second, with Root, who responded to the call, comfortably run out by opposing captain Virat Kohli’s direct hit from midwicket to end a 156-ball innings including nine fours. It was the 11th time that Root had made a Test fifty since that Edgbaston hundred last year without going on to three figures.

Kohli then rubbed salt into the wound by blowing kisses in the direction of Root and putting his finger to his lips, as if to quiet the crowd. He also did the ‘mic drop’ gesture in imitation of Root’s celebration of his one-day series-clinching hundred against India at the batsman’s Headingley home ground last month.

But it is the suggestion that Kohli may have sworn in Root’s direction that could land the India skipper in trouble with match referee Jeff Crowe, the former New Zealand captain. As has often been the case, a needless dismissal was also the spark for a collapse.

England lost three wickets for eight runs in 25 balls as a promising 216 for three was transformed into 224 for six. Bairstow played on to paceman Umesh Yadav for 70, trying to cut a ball that was too close to him. And England, in their 1,000th Test, then saw Jos Buttler lbw for a second-ball duck to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as he played across the line.

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