After England captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat first at Trent Bridge, India turned in an impressive bowling display to put themselves in the ascendancy at the end of Day 1 of the first Test.
The hosts were rolled over for just 183 in the first innings, with the prodigious swing on offer exploited by India’s pacers. Root was the only batsman to score above 30 as Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami scalped seven wickets among themselves. In reply, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul put on an unbroken 21-run opening partnership in 13 testing overs.
Here are three major talking points from Day 1 of the first Test between India and England.
#3 Massive middle-order collapse impedes England’s charge
Despite scoring only 61 runs in the first session, England would’ve been reasonably happy with their start at Lunch. Then, when Root and Bairstow were at the crease with the score reading 138/3, the hosts would’ve backed themselves to continue weathering the Indian storm in the second half of the day’s play.
However, Bairstow’s wicket triggered an astonishing collapse that saw England lose six wickets for just 22 runs. Dan Lawrence followed Bairstow back to the pavilion in the same over. Jos Buttler was harried and hassled for 18 runless balls before Bumrah found the edge of his bat.
Joe Root was dismissed off the first ball of a new spell from Shardul Thakur, who picked up the wicket of Ollie Robinson in the same over. Finally, Stuart Broad and James Anderson were sent packing by Bumrah despite Sam Curran waging a lone battle with the tail.
As India picked up wickets in pairs, England collapsed shockingly at a venue that has seen them become disappointingly prone to low totals. The hosts threw away the advantage with their careless batting in the most crucial phase of play in the first innings.
#2 India’s openers crucially survive the final passage of play
Despite the bowlers’ impressive display, India are ahead in the first Test only because of an unassuming opening partnership between Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
With around an hour to negotiate against James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson and Sam Curran, Rohit and Rahul showed impressive judgment outside off to survive the final passage of play. Although they were beaten on occasion and didn’t get too many loose deliveries, India’s openers showed great promise and confidence on Day 1.
Virat Kohli will want his batsmen to continue in the same vein during the first session of Day 2, when more swing is likely to be on the cards. The Indian skipper may have lost his umpteenth toss, but this might turn out to be a good one to lose.
#1 India’s bold four-pacer strategy pays dividends
By dropping Ravichandran Ashwin, India put all their eggs in the same basket – the pace department comprising of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj.
The move paid off as all four pacers exploited the assistance on offer to share the ten England wickets to fall. Bumrah swung the ball both ways and set up the batsmen; Shami was unerringly consistent and barely gave any run-scoring opportunities; Thakur picked up two important wickets; Siraj played an able supporting role.
It was a bold strategy from India, but it seems to have paid off – for now, at least. The pace quartet will look to bowl similarly in the second innings and vindicate the decision of Kohli and the team management.