England won the toss and opted to bat first in the opening Test of the five-match series against India in Rajkot. The Alastair Cook-led side enjoyed a brisk start comprising the skipper himself alongside debutant Haseeb Hameed. By the end of the day, England were in a comfortable position at 311/4 after a not so steady stay during the first session. At stumps, Moeen Ali stood at 99 and he was joined by Ben Stokes at 19. Earlier, Joe Root scored a century to take the visitors into a better place but he fell in a controversial manner. Here are the five talking points after the first day in Rajkot:
Joe Root’s hundred snatches things from India
England were 47/1 after losing Cook and that brought Root to the middle. He combined with Hameed, Ben Duckett for small stands before the arrival of Ali brought about the steadiness needed for England after lunch. Root played a steady inning by being calm against the spin and cautious against the pace. He would smartly play the reverse sweep, when possible, to give the bowlers unease over the line to be deployed.
Root – Ali stand
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At lunch, England were 102/3 and looked jittery with suggestions of more wickets to come for India. However, the combination of Root and Ali disrupted all those expectations for the Indian players and fans in attendance. The duo put together 179 runs for the fourth wicket to give India a wicketless post-lunch session. It could prove to be a decisive stand in the match and could very well decide the outcome.
Did Umesh Yadav catch it?
It was the 81st over of the inning being bowled by Umesh Yadav and it was pitched up. Root, at 124, punched it right back but instead of keeping it low, played it rather uppishly back to Yadav on his follow through. The ball was a bit low for Umesh to get himself down but he did to get his hands down and collected the ball but ever so briefly. The umpires conferred but left the third umpire to decide and the decision read ‘OUT’ on the big screen.
The dismissal brought back memories of the famous Herschelle Gibbs drop of Steve Waugh at the 1999 World Cup when the now former South African player celebrated way too early and lost control of the ball. The decision went on to hurt the Proteas as Waugh sealed the deal for the Aussies.
Dropped catches hurt India
India picked up three wickets in the first session, none in the post lunch and then one in the final session. But the hosts could have had a better day had they been better with their fielding. There were three catches for India that went begging. On the third ball of the day, Ajinkya Rahane put down Cook, Virat Kohli arguably dropped Cook again, and then Murali Vijay squandered a chance to send Hameed back.
Decision Review System (DRS) makes India debut
DRS has for years been a contentious and topic of debate for India. However, recently the BCCI and the Indian team accepted the usage of technology and the India-England series is the first instance of its implementation. On the opening day, DRS was used twice and both were unsuccessful reviews.