Root laughs off Kohli’s run out send-off

BIRMINGHAM: England’s bowler Sam Curran (2nd right) celebrates taking the wicket of India’s Hardik Pandya (left) for 22 runs on the second day of the first Test cricket match between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England yesterday. —AFP

BIRMINGHAM: England’s Sam Curran took three wickets in quick succession as India suffered a dramatic top-order collapse in the first Test at Edgbaston yesterday. Curran’s treble strike reduced India to 76 for three at lunch on the second day, a deficit of 211 runs after England made 287 in their first innings. Surrey left-arm swing bowler Curran, in only his second Test match, dismissed Murali Vijay, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan in an inspired spell of three wickets for eight runs in eight balls.

At lunch, the 20-year-old son of the late Zimbabwe all-rounder Kevin Curran, had figures of three for 23 in six overs. India were now looking to captain and star batsman Virat Kohli (nine not out) and Ajinkya Rahane (eight not out) to revive the innings in the first of a five-match series. It seemed as if openers Vijay and Dhawan had come through a tough spell against the new ball by taking India to 50 without loss.

But first-change Curran made it 50 for one in the 14th over when Vijay was lbw on review after missing a well pitched-up inswinger. Two balls later Curran dismissed Rahul for four via the batsman’s ugly flat-bat drag-on. Left-hander Dhawan, fortunate to see an edged drive off Curran fly past third slip Keaton Jennings, had no such luck when, on 26, he nicked a well-directed Curran outswinger to Dawid Malan at second slip. Earlier, it took India just 10 balls on to wrap up England’s first innings, the hosts adding two runs to their overnight 285 for nine before Curran was caught behind off Mohammed Shami for 24.

At that stage England, who won the toss, would have been disappointed at being dismissed for under 300 on a good batting pitch as they marked their 1,000th Test with an all-too familiar batting collapse. They had been well-placed at 216 for three on Wednesday thanks to a partnership of 104 between captain Joe Root (80) and Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow (70). But the run out of Root by Kohli, who gave his England counterpart a colorful send-off, sparked a slump that saw England lose six wickets for just 67 runs. India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, belying his reputation as a poor performer outside the sub-continent, took four for 62 in 26 overs and Shami three for 64 in 19.4 overs.

Root laughs off
Meanwhile, England captain Joe Root said the controversial send-off he received from India skipper Virat Kohli after being run out on the opening day of the first Test at Edgbaston was “quite funny” and added to the “theatre of the game”. England had been well-placed at 216 for three, with Root seemingly on course to score a first Test century since his 136 against the West Indies during last year’s day/night clash at Edgbaston. But his 11th Test fifty without a hundred since that innings ended in frustrating fashion when, with Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow calling him for a tight second run, he was run out for 80 by Kohli’s direct hit from midwicket.

It was also the finish of a stand worth 104 and the start of a collapse that saw England lose six wickets for 67 runs on the way to a stumps score of 285 for nine. Kohli rubbed salt into the wound by blowing kisses in the direction of Root and putting his finger to his lips. He also did the ‘mic drop’ gesture in imitation of Root’s celebration of his one-day series-clinching hundred against India at Headingley. Meanwhile the words Kohli appeared to utter in Root’s direction after the run out could yet lead to action by match referee Jeff Crowe, the former New Zealand captain.

“I didn’t see it at the time but I saw it last night,” Root told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special in an interview broadcast yesterday. “It actually adds to the theatre of the game. It’s good to have those little moments within things. I thought it was quite funny.” He added: “I’m sure within the five-match series there will be plenty of that stuff going on. It adds to the whole drama of this series.” Asked if Kohli’s celebration would fire England up, Root replied: “We’ll have to wait and see. I can’t see it becoming an issue throughout this game or moving forward. “But it makes entertaining cricket for everyone to watch, which is exactly what you want in Test cricket.”- Agencies