Mohammed Shami strikes twice but Joe Root takes England to 163/3 at tea

Aug 01, 2018, 21:04 IST | PTI

At the break, Root was unbeaten on 65 while Jonny Bairstow was batting on 27 not out with England playing out 54 overs till now

Mohammed Shami strikes twice but Joe Root takes England to 163/3 at tea
India's Mohammed Shami (L) bowls on the first day of the first Test cricket match between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England / AFP

Mohammed struck twice in the second session before England skipper Joe Root scored his 41st Test half-century to guide the hosts to 163 for three at tea on the opening day of the first cricket against India at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

At the break, Root was unbeaten on 65 while Jonny Bairstow was batting on 27 not out with England playing out 54 overs till now. Shami (2/27) bowled an incisive spell after lunch, dismissing Keaton Jennings (42) and Dawid Malan (8) as India piled on the pressure in the second session.

Jennings was the first to go, but in an odd manner. Just prior to his dismissal, there was a pigeon near the pitch that distracted him and in the very next ball, he played on after the ball clipped his pads. It was a lucky breakthrough for India as their pacers found movement after the break. Ishant Sharma (0/37) and Shami bowled closer to the England batsmen and made them play more often with the latter reaping reward. England crossed the 100-run mark in the 36th over.

Ravichandran Ashwin (1/33) had a loud lbw shout against Malan which was turned down as India lost a review. But Malan never looked comfortable against Shami, who trapped him lbw eventually in the 40th over. The ball was doing just enough, and even DRS didn't help the batsman.

Bairstow though made sure that India didn't get an upper hand on the proceedings by adopting an attacking approach against Ashwin. Root, meanwhile, dropped anchor and ate up a lot more deliveries against the Indian pacers. His strike-rate dropped below 50, even as he completed his half-century off 107 balls.

It was his 12th half-century against India in 12 successive Tests. In all, he put on 51 runs for the fourth wicket with Bairstow. Root also became the quickest batsman to 6,000 Test runs in terms of time from his debut when he reached the landmark. Root got to the landmark in five years and 231 days of his Test career, surpassing former England captain Alastair Cook's mark of five years and 339 days with Root.

Earlier, England consolidated their position despite losing Cook early, reaching 83 for one at lunch after opting to bat. Ashwin was the only wicket-taker for India in the pre-lunch session, bowling Cook (13) with a ripper in the ninth over. The ball pitched on middle and turned away to knock back Cook's off-stump.

Ishant induced an edge from Jennings when he was on 9 but the chance was dropped in the slips by vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. To everyone's surprise, India captain Virat Kohli introduced Ashwin in only the seventh over of the morning, even before Shami and Hardik Pandya. The move yielded result instantly when Ashwin bowled Cook in only his second over to give India the breakthrough.

It was the eighth time Ashwin had dismissed the left-handed opener in Test cricket. Root, however, started off well and struck a few lusty boundaries to shift the momentum in his side's favour. Shami came on as a second-change bowler and bowled a tight first spell, albeit lacking enough penetration to get another wicket for India as England crossed 50 in the 16th over.

Jennings played a few pre-meditated sweeps shots against Ashwin, but he settled down soon after a nervous start to add 57 runs for the second wicket with Root. While the hosts had named their line-up yesterday, India surprisingly left out Cheteshwar Pujara in favour of Shikhar Dhawan, with KL Rahul slated to bat at number three.

India also went in with just the lone spinner in Ashwin, supporting a three-pronged pace attack.

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