England’s 1000th Test and their first against India this summer started today at Edgbaston. Most of the talk before the match, on the England front, revolved around the inclusion of Adil Rashid, a man who opted out of playing red ball cricket for his county, Yorkshire, in 2018. He goes into this series with a good deal of pressure on his shoulders.
As far an India were concerned their batting line up open for discussion before the game, with Shikhar Dhawan being picked ahead of Pujara. The performance of captain Virat Kohli was discussed at length as well, he last played red ball cricket in England in 2014 and didn’t impress. But, 4 years is a long time in sport and he’s become one of, if not, the best batsman in the world, his runs will be key to his team in this 5 match series.
I messed about looking for parking, I’m really loathe to add the cost of paid parking to my already steep summer of cricket and know that street parking is available with a reasonable walk. I’ve just checked and I got free parking and walked 5.6 miles which is a result all round. However that messing around meant I missed the toss, a toss Joe Root won, he elected to bat, which seems to be his preference no matter what the conditions are.
I’d treated myself to a seat in the Skyline, at £86 that was a pricey seat. I was very disappointed to find I had what I’d call a restricted view, even more so when I discovered those sitting one row behind had been sold restricted view seats for £21! Luckily the wicket was in a position where I had a good view of that at least!
I was sat next to 3 brothers originally from Yorkshire, Steve, Andy and Chris, they all live in different places now, Kent, Huddersfield and Durham and go to a test match together each summer. They were a delight to spend the day with! We had more Yorkshire people behind, Pankaj and his family, all in all it was a very convivial day!
Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings opened the batting, I’ve not been a huge fan of Jennings, but he looked the more comfortable of the two. Virat Kohli brought Ravi Ashwin on to bowl very early and it proved to be an inspired choice! He bowled Alastair Cook with a peach of a ball!
Cook was gone for a disappointing 13 and England were 26 for 1. Joe Root came in at 3, the position so many have been clamouring for him to fill. Which Root would we get? Well, we got the one in the mood for runs albeit it at a sensible, steady pace. That was just what was needed after an early wicket.
It was good to see Jamie Porter at Edgbaston, even just as a water carrier, I hope to see him get a start at some stage in the series.
Jennings and Root batted sedately until lunch, on their return there was a troublesome pigeon, he didn’t seem to want to move away from the square and Jennings and then both batsmen got involved in trying to move the thing. A couple of balls later a Mohammed Shami ball beat Jennings, I captured the ball hitting the stumps, but not the one bail that toppled off. Jennings had scored 42 and England were 98 for 2.
Dawid Malan came in at 4, his place remains to be one questioned and he did himself no favours in this innings. He’d made only 8 and survived an LBW appeal before he was actually trapped LBW by a Shami ball, his feet were static and he was bang to rights. England were 112 for 3.
Those questions will keep coming. Jonny Bairstow came striding in at 5, he moves up and down the order depending on the format. That gave us Yorkshire at the crease, to the delight of my neighbours! Root and Bairstow batted well together, both are wonderful to watch and India were again wondering where a wicket would come from.
Both men reached and exceeded their half century, tea time came and went, they were o a roll. One thing that was very noticeable was the amount of time Jadeja spent on the field as 12th man, an outstanding fielder he’s a good man to have in your locker! But, it was another great fielder who made the breakthrough for India. Jonny Bairstow hit a ball to Virat Kohli and maybe forgot how much faster he is between the wickets than Root, who had been out there for 3.5 hours, Root had no chance of making the second run and was run out for 80. A huge wicket for India! Kohli’s reaction was a bit extreme, and I believe may have included a few choice words (in fact I’ve just seen them on the screen, not good at all) , but the man does wear his heart on his sleeve. The pair had made 104 and England were 216 for 4.
Day 2 is fast approaching as I’m writing this so I’m going to be brief with the rest of the England innings. The run our signalled something of a collapse for the home team. Bairstow was bowled by Umesh Yadav for 70. They had the powerful middle order of Stokes and Buttler to follow, but neither made an impact this time. Stokes was out for 21 caught and bowled Ashwin and Buttler was trapped LBW or a Duck by Ashwin.
Adil Rashid, who can be handy with the bat, made just 13 before Sharma caught him LBW and Stuart Broad looked like he didn’t want to be there, he became Ashwin’s 4th wicket, out LBW for 1.
Sam Curran had been battling away and was joined by Jimmy Anderson, a hugely popular player, every ball he survived was cheered. England finished the day on 285 for 9. Losing 5 wickets for just 69 runs. The session if not the day belonged to India.