India will be in dreamland following the end of Day One of the first Test against England at Birmingham. The visitors lost the toss, and were made to bowl first in conditions good for batting. At one point, the hosts were comfortably placed at 215 for 3, with skipper Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow looking in fine nick. All seemed to go right for England, before Kohli and co. bounced back.
When the day came to a close, India had managed to restrict England to 285 for 9. It all began with the run-out of Root, which brought forward a major collapse. Soon, wickets started to tumble, and the hosts stared at yet another failure with the bat in the Test format. There was everything on the first day, including some brilliant strokeplay, outstanding bowling and excellent fielding. Let's take a look at the major talking points.
Ahead of the match, thee were doubts regarding the selection of Ravichandran Ashwin for the first Test. The off-spinner was facing stiff competition from fellow spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav. Further, he has a dismal record in overseas conditions. But Kohli decided to stick with the tall off-spinner, and it paid huge dividends.
Ashwin got India their first wicket with a beautiful off-spinner to Alastair Cook. He followed it up with wickets of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad late in the day. His efforts mean India head into the rest of the match in commanding position.
No, the England skipper isn't struggling with the bat. He scored a brilliant 80 before an error in judgment saw him getting run out by his counterpart Kohli. The innings had flair, class and oozed confidence. Yet, for the all eye-catching cricket Root plays, he is struggling to make it big.
Once again, he managed to get past the 50-mark, but failed to convert it into hundred. This isn't the first time that it has happened. The England skipper has 41 half centuries to his name, but only 13 centuries. While he is always getting on the scoresheet, more often that not, he fails to get a big score.
It won't be wrong to say that Alastair Cook's time in international cricket is coming to a close. The former England skipper is the leading run-getter for his nation in this format, and one of the best batsman to have graced Test cricket. But now it seems, he is no longer the same force he was a few years back.
Cook has been averaging a mere 36.42 in the past two years. During the same period at home, he has averaged a modest 40. And against India, he exactly showed why there have been call for his retirement.
Against the fast bowlers, Cook looked composed, and barely struggled. But as soon as Ashwin came to bowl, he had no clue. The former England skipper showed his struggle against spin, getting out to the Indian off-spinner yet again.
Prior to the match, pundits and experts had claimed that the pitch would hardly have anything for spinners. This prompted both set of captains to go in with just one spinning option.
But on Day One, Ashwin proved that both Root and Kohli had made a error in judgment. The Indian off-spinner took four wickets, and was the biggest threat to the English batsman. There was decent purchase for him on the wickets.