India in command despite Curran's heroics
England 1st Innings: 246 all out (Sam Curran 78, M Ali 40 & Bumrah 46-3, Ishant 26-2)
India 1st Innings: 19-0 (KL Rahul 11* & Dhawan 3*)
Once again, India's bowlers have kept their team in a commanding position after rolling-over the home team for just 246 runs on the first day of the fourth test at Southampton. At one time, England were tottering at 86 for 6. But the comeback men, Sam Curran (78) and Moeen Ali (45), stitched a crucial 81-run partnership and kept their team in the game.
Earlier in the day, after winning the toss, captain Joe Root opted to bat with two changes on a hard looking pitch which had some tinge of grass to hold the surface for the course the match. Virat Kohli went with an unchanged XI for the time in his captaincy. It paid off, as it took only 13 balls for the Indian bowlers to pick a wicket, as Bumrah bamboozled Jennings with an in-swinger. He then went past Root's defence and India went for review only to be signalled a 'no-ball'.
But Root, who looked uncomfortable from the beginning, went in a similar manner to Ishant Sharma. It was Ishant's 250th wicket in Tests and the lanky fast-bowler had kept things tight at one end and was rewarded with a wicket. After the first hour burst, Bumrah got a nick off Bairstow's bat with a ball that straightened enough to take the edge into the hands of Pant. Cook, faced 55 balls for his 17 before edging Hardik's moving-away delivery to Kohli, who took an outstanding catch at third slip.
After lunch, Shami got the wickets of Buttler and Stokes to leave England with 86-6. But it took 25 overs for India to break the partnership of Mo and Sam. Ashwin got the better of Ali, as the left-hander went for a slog sweep only to be taken by Bumrah. Then, Ishant came back to remove Rashid as he got the leggie in front of the wickets with an inswinging delivery. From there on Sam Curran took matters into his hands as he, along with Broad, combined a quick 63-run partnership in just 9.3 overs to take England to a respectable total.
In the 74th over, Bumrah got Broad on his pads for 17 to end up with figures of 3 for 46. And in 77th over of the day, Ashwin finishes with 2-40 in 14.4 overs, as he brought an end to England's first innings on 246 with Curran being the last man to be out. He made a valiant 78 off 136 balls with eight fours and one six. The bowlers shared wickets between them with 2-26 for Ishant in 16 overs, 2-51 for Shami in 18 overs, 1-51 to Pandya in 8 overs.
Openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan saw off the remaining four overs of England, as India finished at 19-0. Day 1 honours belong to India and they will look to overhaul England's total on the second day, and can press on for a much-needed lead to take full control of the match.
England will be disappointed with their effort, especially after winning the toss and it will be difficult for their bowlers to contend with the Indian batsmen as the Ageas Bowl is the best batting ground in this year's county season, averaging 34.40 per wicket.
England's top four average a combined 17.40 in the series, which is their lowest in a home series after averaging 16.4 against Aussies in 1902-03
Ishant was the slowest to 250 test wickets and got there in his 86th Test. In bowlers, Daniel Vettori was the second slowest with 81 Tests and all-rounder Kallis took 127 tests.
India went with an unchanged XI after 45 tests. Interestingly, this streak started at the same venue in 2014.