Eng vs. Ind: 1st Test, Day 2 – England vs. Kohli

India wasted no time in finishing the England innings in the morning, it took 10 ball for India to bowl England out for 287. Mohammad Shami took just four balls in his first and only over of the day to find the edge of Sam Curran, who was caught behind for 24.

Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled full to get the ball swinging, which they’ve been guilty of not doing in the past. But even with doing that, India got off to a steady start, getting to 40-0 before Sam Curran was brought into the attack in the 10th over, with Murali Vijay on 12 and Shikhar Dhawan on 19.

England lost one of their reviews as early as the 3rd over of the innings, as they went upstairs to a Vijay LBW shout, but it was missing leg stump so he survived.

India did well to reach 50-0 but then there was the breakthrough, courtesy of a review, Sam Curran got the breakthrough and Vijay was gone for a well-played 20. That brought KL Rahul to the crease, and he got off the mark with a boundary, but then played a disgraceful shot, dragged a wide full ball back onto his stumps and he was gone for 4.

Curran had two and England had a spring in their step. What a time for captain Kohli to come to the crease, with 30 minutes left till lunch. Sam Curran wasn’t done yet, some terrible batting from Dhawan, where he edged to slip, with absolutely no footwork, gave Curran his 3rd wicket, he was gone for 26 and India were in trouble at 59-3. Sam Curran bowled an absolutely spectacular spell.

India threw away their advantage, some poor shot selection from Rahul and no footwork from Dhawan and some great bowling by youngster Sam Curran, got India to lunch on 76-3, and that was most definitely England’s session. India still trailed by 211 runs.

The post lunch session was what Test cricket is all about, and what India needed to prove to themselves and the world they can handle – good Test match fast bowling. It wasn’t easy out there and Ben Stokes had Ajinkya Rahane in all sorts of trouble. It was a very good spell of bowling by Stokes, who eventually got his man for 15.

India reached the 100 run mark, but they were four down, which soon became 5 as Stokes bowled the perfect delivery to Dinesh Karthik to get him out without troubling the scorers. This wicket was also Stokes’ 100th Test match wicket. India were in trouble still trailing by 187 runs and already had half their side back in the pavilion.

Curran got his 4th wicket of the innings shortly before tea, when he dismissed Pandya for 22 with a brutal yorker. England’s fielding was poor, they dropped two catches in two balls, and importantly for them, they gave Kohli a life on 21 and again on 52.

India got through to tea at the perilous position of 160-6 but importantly for them, Kohli was still at the crease.

The final session was one of marvel and wonder. There was cloud cover as the players came back on the field after tea, which proved vital. Anderson and Stokes bowled a very impressive spell of bowling, they had the ball moving, and it was difficult for the batsmen.

Aswhin was dismissed shortly after the tea break, and then Mohammad Shami didn’t last long either, which then saw Kohli switch into ODI mode. Kohli was brilliant, shepherding the strike and protecting the tail. He and Ishant Sharma put on 35 runs, which saw Sharma given out LBW twice, but saved on review, twice.

By the time Sharma was dismissed, with the score on 217-9, Kohli was on 97*. Could Umesh Yadav stick around long enough to help his captain reach this milestone?

The answer was an emphatic yes.

Virat Kohli and Umesh Yadav stood in a 57 run 10th wicket partnership, of which Umesh only scored 1 not out, but it was the most important single run he’ll get in his career.

He did it.  Kohli reached his 22nd Test century, and his first in England. The monkey was off his back. Kohli had arrived as a genuine Test great.

India, or rather, Kohli put on 160 runs in the evening session, Kohli amassed 149 glorious runs before he hit a short and wide ball from Adil Rashid straight to point.

India were bowled out for 274, a first innings deficit of 13 runs.

England had to bat four overs for stumps. Kohli sensing an opportunity to go in for the kill, opened with Ashwin, and it worked. Cook was bowled, in eerily similar fashion in the second innings as he was in the first. He was gone for a duck, and England reached stumps on 9-1, a lead of 22 runs. India would have felt the happier team by stumps, and with the wicket of Cook, I give day 2 to India.

This was about the best day of Test Cricket we have seen for a while, and this is what us Test lovers, live for.



Posted in The Popping Crease.