Sunday, September 19, 2021

England pick off Kohli early in first India Test


RAJKOT: England snared two quick wickets including the key scalp of Indian skipper Virat Kohli as the hosts reached 411-6 at lunch on the penultimate day of the first Test on Saturday.

At the break, Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha were each batting on 29 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association ground in Rajkot.

India trailed by 126 runs with four wickets in hand after England posted 537, their third highest total in the country, thanks to centuries from Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes.

Kohli was involved in a freak dismissal, stepping back on to his stumps after attempting to pull leg-spinner Adil Rashid when he was on 40.

He became the second Indian skipper to be hit-wicket after Lala Amarnath in the 1948-49 series at home against the West Indies.

The Indian skipper was also out in a similar fashion in a One Day International against England in Cardiff in 2011.

India, 319-4 overnight, started the day cautiously with Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane (13) not taking any unnecessary risks against a disciplined England attack.

But they were quick to latch on to poor deliveries with Rahane once imperiously pulling a short ball from Chris Woakes to the square leg fence.

Rahane’s flourish, however, proved short-lived as he lost his stumps to rookie left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari (2-77) after completely misjudging the length.

But it was the dismissal of the in-form Kohli who has scored two Test double centuries this year which hit India the hardest.

The otherwise prolific Kohli had been keen to improve his dismal average against England but failed to build on his good start. He hit five fours in his 95-ball knock.

Ashwin, who disappointed with the ball during England’s innings, had faced 50 balls so far, and put on 50 runs with Saha for the unbroken seventh wicket.

When England last toured India in 2012, Ashwin underlined his prowess with the bat by averaging over 60.

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