A shot in the arm for Test cricket as England win India thriller

Ben Stokes gets key wicket of Virat Kohli as Joe Root’s side take stunning series opener

Ben Stokes celebrates taking the crucial wicket of Virat Kohli. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty

Ben Stokes celebrates taking the crucial wicket of Virat Kohli. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty

 

England 287 & 180, India 274 & 162: England win by 31 runs

England finally broke Virat Kohli’s resistance to secure a 31-run victory over India after a titanic struggle in their 1,000th Test match.

Ben Stokes (four for 40) delivered the telling blows on the fourth morning of the Specsavers series opener at Edgbaston, where Kohli appeared to be leading his team home after adding a second-innings half-century to his tour de force 149 at his first attempt.

But in his first over after replacing James Anderson at the City End, Stokes had the India captain lbw playing across his pad for 51, and then doubled up with the wicket of Mohammed Shami — fencing a catch behind.

Hardik Pandya emerged instead as the only threat to England, but he was last out in a total of 162 when he edged Stokes to Alastair Cook at slip.

India had resumed on 110 for five, with a target of 194 to win and Kohli the key in almost everyone’s mind.

Anderson gave England, and their expectant crowd, a fine start on a sunny morning, but it was not the wicket he told a press conference the previous evening he would go to bed dreaming about.

The immediate prize of Kohli was not to be, but second-best was Dinesh Karthik - ending a troublesome stand of 34 which had narrowed the margins while England’s bowlers tired on Friday.

It was heartening too that when Anderson found the edge, Dawid Malan was safe at second slip.

Malan had dropped Kohli on 21 in the first innings, as well as two others in the match.

But when he held Karthik, he took his ratio to 50-50, with three catches to offset his drops.

England celebrate their first Test victory over India at Edgbaston. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters
England celebrate their first Test victory over India at Edgbaston. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

It was by design that England limited Kohli to nine deliveries in eight overs at the other end, but a straight-driven four by Pandya off Stuart Broad indicated he had found a plausible new partner.

Kohli brought up his patient, 88-ball half-century with just his fourth four — glanced fine off Anderson — and after two more driven boundaries by Pandya in Broad’s next over, England appeared to be running out of time.

Stokes was having none of that, however.

It took him just three balls to get Kohli, and another three to shift Shami and leave India needing a further 53 from their last two wickets.

At a venue which has seen its share of Test theatre over the years, notably England’s two-run victory over Australia in the 2005 Ashes, there was unsurprisingly still a little way to go.

England captain Joe Root displayed a gambler’s instinct when with 42 needed he brought on leg-spinner Adil Rashid.

It proved wise, though, as Rashid repaid his fellow Yorkshireman with a googly to have Ishant Sharma lbw — confirmed on review.

Then Stokes, who must report to Bristol Crown Court on Monday morning to answer a charge of affray and will therefore miss the second Test at Lord’s, signed off with the last wicket.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.