Day 1 review

As we enter August, the much-anticipated test series between England and India has begun. After the limited overs leg in conditions unexpectedly favoring the visitors, it looked like India would dominate England in the Tests as well. However, just before the start of the first test, England must have been delighted to see the cloud cover over the ground. The pitch in spite of a little moisture looked very good for batting. Joe Root had no hesitation opting to bat first after winning the toss.

Eyebrows rose straight-away as we looked down India’s eleven. There was no Pujara and no Kuldeep Yadav. If you have followed Kohli’s captaincy, it should not surprise you. His aggression is in his expressions as much as in his captaincy and team selection! He opted for the in-form and more fluent KL Rahul over Pujara at No.3. I think Kohli believes that he needs someone more aggressive at no.3 than somebody who can just play out the bowling. Virat also likes fast bowlers. That’s where he is slightly different from the previous Indian captains although he has a luxury of having some of the finest bowlers in his armory. I believe Kohli thinks that Kuldeep is still too raw to play at this level. He has always preferred Chahal in ODIs and Ashwin-Jadeja in tests over the Chinaman. That might be the only reason for overlooking Kuldeep.

Although England lost Cook early, they were comfortably placed at 216-3. But the Indian Captain produced a moment of brilliance. He ran out Joe Root who has been searching for 3 figure score for quite a while now. And then wickets fell one after the other. Ravi Ashwin was outstanding and so was  Mohammed Shami. Brilliant spells from both with good support from Umesh and Ishant helped India to restrict England at 285-9 at the end of the day’s play. One will have to say that the visitors would be happier than the hosts with that scoreline to go.

Prasad Palkar

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