After a considerable break, England and India finally locked horns with each other in the fourth Test of the five-match series at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton on Thursday (August 30).
Opting to bat first, the English top order once again failed to make a mark. While Jasprit Bumrah claimed the wickets of Keaton Jennings (0) and Jonny Bairstow (6); Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya removed Joe Root (4) and Alastair Cook (17) respectively to reduce the home team to 57/4 at Lunch.
In the second session, Mohammad Shami dented England by removing Jos Buttler (21) early. Although Ben Stokes showed resilience with a gritty 23-run knock, he was eventually dismissed by a beautiful in-swinging delivery from Shami.
After Stokes’ departure, Moeen Ali and Sam Curran stitched a significant 81-run partnership to bail England out of trouble. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin got rid of Moeen on 40.
Returning into the playing XI after a surprising omission at Trent Bridge, Curran was determined to do well. He forged a valuable 63-run stand for the ninth wicket with Stuart Broad and in the process completed his second half-century of the series.
Curran was eventually dismissed by Ashwin but not before the southpaw scored a glorious 78 and took England to 246. The hosts would be mighty pleased with the final score given that they were reeling at 86/6 at one stage.
Indian openers KL Rahul (11*) and Shikhar Dhawan (3*) made sure that the visitors don’t suffer any hiccup on an opening day. In their four overs, India scored 19/0, trailing England in the first innings by 227 runs.
Twitter experts were impressed to see the way Curran crafted his innings amidst the batting collapse while they also praised the Indian pacers.
Here are some of the tweets from the first day’s play:
Well played Sam Curran.....breath of fresh air !!— Ian Botham (@BeefyBotham) August 30, 2018
Batting getting easier. In spite of a fine England recovery, I still think this was more India's day then England's.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 30, 2018
50 too many for me. India really need to bat well in the 1st inn. #ENGvIND— Deep Dasgupta (@DeepDasgupta7) August 30, 2018
Total of 246 is fine recovery from 86-6 by Eng, but India would have taken this happily at start of play after losing toss. What’s crucial is how their batsmen cope in time remaining tonite. Couple of wickets and balance could tilt other way— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) August 30, 2018
246...you’d take it seven days a week after being asked to bowl first on a good deck.— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) August 30, 2018
Reaching there from 86/6 and you’d look back with some regret. Tricky period this for the openers #EngvInd
A 20 yr old is giving England a sniff of more than decent score on this pitch ... #ENGvIND— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 30, 2018
Honestly it’s hard to digest this English side is ‘contracted’ professionally..many past/present reputations lie in tatters..!!!— Bishan Bedi (@BishanBedi) August 30, 2018