England started the 5 match test series against India as the underdogs but they outplayed India during the first day of the opening test at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. The visitors won the toss, elected to bat and were soon given a number of lifelines as India dropped two easy catches that allowed the English openers to see of the new ball and put on 47 on the board.
The pitch did not offer a lot of turn and bounce, which allowed the England batsman to play Ashwin and Jadeja with ease. Joe Root and Moeen Ali put together a 179 run partnership that helped England finish the day at 311 for four. Root made another hundred against the Indians before falling to U Yadav for 124. Ali remains unbeaten at the crease on 99 along with Stokes who is on 19.
This was the first time this season that Captain Virat Kohli looked under pressure as his bowlers struggled to find a breakthrough. Kohli used India’s third spinner A Mishra for just 10 overs in the day, while Ashwin bowled 31 and Jadeja sent down 21. Kohli to a certain extend allowed the England batsmen to get away as he did not set fields to create chances but rather waited on the batsmen to commit a mistake.
Kohli will have to be aggressive tomorrow if he wants an early breakthrough. England on the other hand will want to score a minimum of 500 so that they can put pressure on the Indian batting line-up as they are playing 5 bowlers and could be in trouble if England get a few early wickets.
In a statement, Root said “We always thought seam might be a bit useful early on, and the guys at the top did well. We just knew we needed to build a partnership. I thought Mo was outstanding as well, look forward to watching him continue tomorrow.”
The wicket is expected to favor the batsman tomorrow and then slowly start to wear down towards the final session of the day. From day 3 onwards, the spinners will be able to find more purchase and batting is expected to get a lot more difficult. England will dearly want to win the first test and go 1-0 up in the series as it will then mean India need to win 3 out of the 4 matches to win the series.