England vs. India: Virat Kohli puts on a batting masterclass - reactions
India’s star captain capitalises on England’s incompetence at Edgbaston
England dropped catches and fluffed lines on the second day of a compelling Test match at Edgbaston.
Virat Kohli benefited from England’s incompetence, scoring a scintillating 149 - his first Test hundred on English soil - to drag his side back into the first Test.
It would have been a different story had the home side not been so butter-fingered. Kohli was dropped on 21 and again on 51, two spilled chances that cost England dearly.
Consequently Kohli was able to steer his side from 100-5 to 274 all out, just 13 runs behind England’s first innings total, despite the fact no other Indian scored more than 26.
The tourists then removed the out-of-form Alastair Cook for a duck to leave the first Test beautifully poised at the start of the third day with England 9-1 in their second innings.
Curran’s learning curve
It wasn’t all gloom for England. Sam Curran, the 20-year-old left-arm swing bowler, produced an excellent display and took four wickets to suggest he has the potential to become world-class.
“It was pretty special,” said Curran, who took three wickets in one blistering eight-ball spell. “I can’t really remember it. It’s a pretty cool feeling for me to be playing with my heroes – Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad – and, running into bowl to a guy like Kohli. It’s a great learning curve.”
Kohli has dominated the Test from the start, running out Joe Root on day one and then sending the England captain back to the pavilion with a kiss and a mocking “dropped mic” gesture. Root subsequently laughed off the incident, saying: “It adds to the whole spectacle of Test cricket. Gives a bit of humour to it. It also makes for a very entertaining series.”
Catches win matches
But Root didn’t find much humour in the two chances that Dawid Malan spilled at second slip, nor in the last-wicket stand of 57 between Kohli and Umesh Yadav to which the latter contributed just one run.
The partnership allowed India captain Kohli to reach his century and he celebrated by kissing his wedding ring and acknowledging his wife, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma, who looked on from the pavilion.
For Kohli, the innings will help banish the painful memories of his last Test series in England, in 2014, when he failed to adapt to the conditions and finished with an average of 13.40.
Praising Kohli’s “terrific discipline”, Sanjay Bangar, India’s assistant coach, said of the century: “That innings of Virat has narrowed the gap massively. At one stage we were staring down the barrel, and the gap was huge, but because of his brilliance – and the commitment shown by the tail – it’s still even stevens for both sides.”
The third day of the first Test at Edgbaston starts at 11am today. The match is live on Sky Sports.