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India vs England 3rd Test – Talking points from Day 1

England Openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed ended Day 1 on a strong note after India were bowled out for only 78 runs in the first innings of the third Test at Headingley in Leeds. KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, captain Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were sent back to the dugout in the first session of the match itself. After lunch, Rohit Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah were sent back in quick succession. James Anderson picked up three wickets, while Craig Overton and Sam Curran claimed two wickets in two deliveries respectively. At stumps on Day 1, England were at 120/0 after 42 overs, having left behind the loss at Lord’s.

Here are all the talking points from the first day’s play from the Leeds Test. 

India’s Third Lowest First Innings Total

India’s batsmen slumped to 78 all out in the first innings of the third Test. They lost their last five wickets for only 11 runs and only two batters – Rohit Sharma (19) and Ajinkya Rahane (18) could get to the double digit mark. This was the first time that India had no batters reaching 20 runs in Test cricket. 

The 78 all out is India’s ninth lowest score in Test cricket. Their lowest is the 36 against Australia in Adelaide last year. It was also the third lowest first innings total for India after winning the toss and opting to bat first. The other two on the list are the 75 against West Indies in 1987 and 76 against South Africa in in 2008. 

Since being dismissed for 42 at Lord’s in 1974, this is also India’s lowest Test total against England.

Virat Kohli wins the toss in England for the first time in Tests

This was the first ever instance of Virat Kohli winning the toss in England in Test cricket. Kohli has generally had bad lucks with tosses, but even more so against England in Tests, where he lost 10 tosses before finally opening his account in Leeds.

The 31-year-old tops the list of Indian captains to lose most number of tosses in Test cricket. Out of the 64 Test matches that Kohli has captained India in, he has lost the toss on 36 occasions.

“It’s a surprise I’ve won the toss,” the Indian captain said after winning the toss at Leeds, before announcing that his team would bat first. But his decision did not work out the way he would have liked to. KL Rahul, who scored a fine century in the previous Test at Lord’s, was dismissed for a golden duck in the first over of the game and from there on, the wickets kept falling frequently. 

James Anderson gets Kohli again 

It was James Anderson’s morning spell that laid the foundation for India’s embarrassing collapse. In his eight overs in the first session, the fast bowler got three important wickets – that of KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara and then Virat Kohli. The Indian skipper walked out to bat with India in deep trouble at four runs for two wickets. His 17-ball stay at the crease came to an end when Anderson’s delivery took the outside edge of his bat and went straight into the hands of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. 

With that wicket, Anderson joined Australia’s Nathan Lyon in dismissing Kohli for the maximum number of times in Test cricket. Both Anderson and Lyon have now taken Kohli’s wicket seven times in Test cricket. Earlier in the on-going series, Anderson removed Kohli for a duck in the first Test. 

Kohli vs Anderson has always been seen as a great rivalry. The English bowler wrote in his column for the Telegraph UK that England have done well to keep Kohli from scoring runs in this series. “We have to remember Virat is averaging 20 in the series, proving we have bowled well at a great player – but I would rather he was averaging 80 and we were 1-0 up.”

Virat Kohli’s dry run continues 

Meanwhile, Kohli’s dry run in international cricket continues. He last scored an international century 50 innings back, and has not gone scored any 50+ runs innings in the on-going series. Kohli has averaged less than 25 in 10 Tests since the start of 2020, which is now worrying not just fans but former cricketers too.

Speaking for Sony Sports, Sunil Gavaskar said, “”He (Virat) should give a quick call to SRT (Tendulkar) and ask what should I do?. He should do what Sachin Tendulkar did at Sydney. Say to himself that I am not going to play the cover drive.” He also mentioned that he is worried about the manner in which the Indian skipper has been losing his wicket. “That is a bit of a worry for me, because he is getting dismissed at the fifth, sixth and even seventh stump. In 2014, he was getting out more around the off-stump.”

England openers share a 120-run partnership 

England openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed managed to go past India’s first innings total of 78 runs without losing a wicket. Both the openers scored their respective half-centuries and took the team’s total to 120/0 in 42 overs before the day’s play came to an end. While Burns is not out on 52, Hameed is unbeaten on 60 runs. This is England’s first opening partnership of 100+ since Burns and Dom Sibley shared 114 for the first wicket against West Indies in July 2020. 

India will have to look for quick wickets on Day 2 if they are to peg back into the contest. 

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Umaima Saeed
A writer who primarily writes on cricket. As of 2021, she has covered cricket for more than a dozen publications.

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