England vs India, 4th Test, Day 1, Session 1: High-on-confidence India start from where they left off at Trent Bridge
A rejuvenated Indian side headed to Southampton with the aim of leveling the series. India had sealed the deal in Trent Bridge quite comfortably after being 2-0 down.
Southampton welcomed the two teams with a nice, sunny weather and a pitch Virat Kohli labeled as “the best of the tour so far”. But the coin toss ruled once again in favor of the hosts and Joe Root didn’t hesitate in choosing to bat first.
Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings have had a forgettable series so far with Cook averaging an ordinary 16.0 in the series and Jennings averaging 18.8. And Indian bowlers didn’t have any plans for making life easier for the English batsmen with the new Dukes ball. Jasprit Bumrah, who had made an impressive comeback into the side in the last Test match at Trent Bridge continued to rile the batsmen up right from the start. He had a fiery Ishant Sharma for company and the two bowled an intriguing spell to put the visitors right on top within the first hour of play.
In the third over of the innings, Jasprit Bumrah produced a ripper that forced Jennings to walk back without troubling the scorers. The ball pitched on the off stump and Jennings was looking to leave it. But the ball curved inside and trapped him plumb in front of the stumps. India drew first blood. The swing on the ball left everybody gobsmacked. Bumrah had swung a cricket ball more only twice in his Test career.
No sooner than the English captain had walked out at No. 3, Bumrah had hit his pads too. Although the umpire had turned down the appeal, Bumrah who was riding high, was confident enough to ask for a review. It looked as if Bumrah had struck again. But his accolades were short-lived as the TV replay showed that Bumrah had overstepped. ONCE AGAIN. Jasprit Bumrah’s problems with his front foot keep on persisting and hurting India.
Root’s reprieve, however, didn’t last long as Ishant had him LBW as well. England lost their skipper as well as a review. England were 26/2 at drinks with Cook trying to negotiate the new ball and Jonny Bairstow trying his best to get the hang of the conditions.
India’s position strengthened even further when Bairstow nicked one to Pant off Bumrah in the over just after drinks. Virat introduced Hardik Pandya straightaway. It didn't take the Indian all-rounder too long to get the better of Cook when the Test veteran tried slapping a ball that could have safely been left alone and edged it to Virat's safe hands in the slips. Cook's misery in the tournament continued and left England wanting more from their most experienced player.
Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler saw off the ball till the end of the first session in Southampton as England posted 57/4 at Lunch. With England 4 down already, India are on top. The visitors will look to get through the English line-up as soon as possible with the day still bright and sunny.