Finally, the day arrived when the No 1 team in the world, India locked horns against England in the opening day of the 5 match Test series. It was the host captain Joe Root who won the toss and opted to bat first. Quite surprisingly India went with a lone spinner in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin. Kuldeep Yadav’s exclusion was surprising especially given the fact that he was an X-factor in the limited overs series.

Openers Keaton Jennings and Alastair Cook walked out to begin proceedings. It was Umesh Yadav who started off proceedings along with Ishant Sharma. He was all over the mark and couldn’t land on the ball in the perfect area on a consistent basis. It forced Kohli to bring Ravichandran Ashwin quite early on in the innings.

However, the move proved to be spectacular as Ashwin castled Cook with a peach of a delivery. The ball pitched middle and leg and turned sharply to take the top of the off stump. It was indeed a great delivery. From there on it was Keaton Jennings and skipper Joe Root who batted sensibly and took England to a relatively comfortable position.

Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates the wicket of Alastair Cook. Getty Images)

Shami’s burst which got India back into the game

They went into Lunch on 85/1 and looked in complete control of proceedings. Speedster Mohammed Shami provided the much-needed breakthrough in the form of Keaton Jennings’ wicket. It was a loose shot which took the outside half of the bat and disturbed the timbers. It was indeed an unlucky way to get dismissed.

Shami provided the 3rd breakthrough in the form Dawid Malan in quick succession. It was a short of length delivery which breached his defence and thudded on to his pads. From there on it was Jonny Bairstow and the skipper who started the resurrecting job for the hosts. They batted quite superbly from there on and build a solid partnership of 104 runs.

India, Birmingham, England
England had a good start to the Test series. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Terrific final session for India 

Both Root and Bairstow looked in complete command and played some gorgeous shots. It was a passage of play which was largely dominated by the hosts. India looked pretty wayward and needed something exceptional to get them back into the game. It was a sensational direct hit from Virat Kohli which send back his counterpart Joe Root back to the pavilion. It was a much-needed victory and the visitors came back strongly following the wicket.

Umesh Yadav had Jonny Bairstow with a short of a length delivery. He chopped on to his stumps and England were in a spot of bother. Ashwin then wrapped Jos Buttler right in front to take India to a dominant position. He added one more in the form of Ben Stokes in pretty quick succession. It was a good little partnership between Adil Rashid and Sam Curran which looked to take England to safety.

However, it was Ishant Sharma who sent back Adil Rashid with a brilliant delivery. The ball jagged back sharply and was hit him right in front. The on-field umpire ruled it not out. However, India took a successful review and got their breakthrough. Ashwin bagged his 4th when he trapped Stuart Broad plumb in front with a quicker delivery. Sam Curran played well at the other end as wickets kept tumbling. Eventually, they finished the day on

Brief Scores 

England 1st innings  285/9 in 88 overs (Joe Root 80, Jonny Bairstow 70, Ravichandran Ashwin 4/60, Mohammed Shami 2/64)