There is a lot of enthusiasm around the five-match Test series between India and England. The first day of the much anticipated Test series lived up to the expectation as fans were treated to three sessions of gripping cricket in which the momentum kept shifting sides.
England 285-9 (Joe Root 80, Jonny Bairstow 70; R Ashwin 4-60, Mohammed Shami 2-64) vs India
The day began with both teams picking just one spinner in their playing XI. India made a surprise move of dropping Cheteshwar Pujara and going in with all their three openers, out of whom KL Rahul would expectedly bat at No. 3 and take Pujara's place.
England won the toss and had no qualms about batting first. When Virat Kohli was asked what he would have done had he won the toss, he said that he was pondering about having a bowl. This, however, seems more of a response after losing the toss than the actual thought process of the Indian team management.
English openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings played cautiously and stiched a 26-run partnership. Given the overcast conditions at Birmingham, they did quite well not to give their wicket away against the Indian new ball bowling combination of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.
However, once off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin came into the attack, things started to change. Ashwin bowled a peach of a delivery that pitched on leg and middle and took Cook's off stump. This moment left both the teams contemplating about the decision of not playing an extra spinner. As the day progressed, Ashwin would come in handy time and again, taking crucial wickets of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.
England seemed to be getting ahead in the match when Jonny Bairstow (70) and Joe Root (80) put up a 104-run stand. Apart from an odd play and miss, they were looking quite comfortable in the middle.
Once Root was run-out while attempting a suicidal double, thanks to Virat Kohli's acrobatic direct hit, the England batting lineup stumbled with wickets falling in quick succession.
Here comes the breakthrough.— BCCI (@BCCI) August 1, 2018
There was never a two there as Bairstow goes for the tip and run. A superb chase and throw on the turn from Kohli and it's a bullseye at the bowler's end.
Root departs for 80. England 217/4. pic.twitter.com/RCs2nPwUcX
On the second last ball of the day, Mohammad Shami bowled a beautiful outswinger which took the outside edge of Sam Curran's bat. Dinesh Karthik leaped to take a one handed catch but failed to pouch it. This soured India's hopes of cleaning up England on Day one of the first Test.
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