Ultimately, India will feel it was their day after they restricted England’s first-innings lead to 13 runs before Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Alastair Cook cheaply once again before stumps at Birmingham.
England are 9-1 at the close of play after India had put up 274 runs in reply to their first-innings total of 287.
Here, we look at the key talking points from an exhilarating day of Test cricket.
SAM CURRAN DESTROYS INDIA’S TOP ORDER
All eyes would have been on James Anderson and Stuart Broad when India came out to bat on Thursday morning. However, it was young Sam Curran playing in only his second Test that stole the show at Edgbaston.
India openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay would have assumed that the worst was over when they saw off England’s new-ball pairing to bring up a 50-run stand. Curran though, had other ideas, as he showed England the value of having a left-armed seamer in their bowling attack.
Getting the ball to tail back in sharply into the right-hander, Curran troubled Vijay before finally trapping him plumb in front of the wicket in just his second over. Two deliveries and a streaky boundary through the slip cordon later, Curran had his second wicket of the over when KL Rahul dragged a wide delivery on to his stumps.
Soon it was three wickets in two overs for Curran when Dhawan could only edge an outswinging delivery into the hands of Dawid Malan at slip. From 50-0, India were reduced to 59-3 as Curran brought the Edgbaston crowd to its feet.
STOKES’ CENTURY OF TEST DISMISSALS
If Curran had wiped away India’s top-order, Ben Stokes was on hand to decimate the middle-order. After Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane had safely negotiated their way to lunch, Stokes came out firing in the second session as he got the Duke ball to generate some prodigious movement.
His spell after lunch created mayhem immediately with Rahane struggling to get to grips with the moving ball. The India middle-order batsman perished soon enough after he stabbed at a good length delivery outside off-stump only to edge it towards Keaton Jennings at third slip.
With his next over, Stokes shattered Dinesh Karthik’s stumps with a late inswinging delivery to complete his 100th dismissal in Test cricket. That feat means that Stokes is now only the fifth Englishman to have scored over 2, 5000 runs and picked up over 100 wickets in Test cricket.
KOHLI WAGES LONE BATTLE FOR INDIA WITH GRITTY TON
After his antics on Wednesday which created quite the stir in England, Virat Kohli was always going be the centre of attention when he came out to bat on Thursday. He was straight away put to the test against his old nemesis James Anderson. The India skipper was put under the pump as the red ball moved with vigour on a pitch which had burst into life after a much sedate opening day. Edges flew past the slip cordon, twice he was dropped in the slips, but yet he managed to somehow find the grit to survive.
In the end, not only did he survive, he flourished. Dawid Malan was the guilty party on both occasions he was dropped and the England batsman will not want to look Anderson and Stokes in the eye after how the day ultimately panned out.
With a steady determination to make amends for his disappointing 2014 tour, Kohli waged a lone battle against England’s pacers and in the end single-handedly dragged them to just 13 runs short of the England total. A lead of over a 100 seemed all but a formality for England at one stage but by the time they left the field, their shoulders had dropped and the momentum had clearly swung India’s way.
With the tail for company, Kohli had played one of his greatest Test innings, if not the best. A maiden ton in England was just reward for the manner in which he had dug in despite the adverse conditions and hostile bowling. He scored 134 runs in 10 innings the last time he was in England. On Thursday alone, he had scored 149.
Lehmann had resigned from his position as head coach of the Australian team following the ball-tampering scandal that erupted on their tour of South Africa earlier this year. Captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were then handed a one-year ban from international and domestic cricket by Cricket Australia while Cameron Bancroft was given a nine-month ban.
Following the saga, Australia’s dressing room culture came in for sharp criticism from all quarters but Lehmann has now defended his tenure in a recent interview with Macquarie Sports Radio with whom he has signed on as a commentator.
“There was a lot of talk about the Australian team being over-aggressive and there were some incidents in some games that they probably pushed it too far,” he said.
“But the ‘Australian way’, I think Justin Langer summed it up really well – a bit of banter on the field is good and playing that way.
“They got dealt with accordingly from the ICC and match referee when they crossed that line but the Australians play that way in essence a lot of the time.”
The 48-year-old feels that sledging is common place in international cricket and believes that the media have portrayed his men too harshly.
“You want to promote the game fairly and play hard but fair on the field. When I played, there was a lot worse sledging going on in those days and years before. They’re not as bad as portrayed in the media,” Lehmann said.
Shami was the most impressive of India’s pacers in the opening day of their first Test against England at Birmingham. The India man picked up a three-wicket haul as England were bowled out for 287 runs in their first innings.
Since India’s tour of South Africa earlier this year, Shami has seen himself be accused of multiple offences by his wife Hasin Jahan ranging from domestic violence to match-fixing allegations. He was subsequently dropped for the one-off Test against Afghanistan in June after failing the Yo-Yo fitness test. In between, the pacer also suffered a car accident where he sustained minor injuries.
Speaking to the media after his excellent first day at Edgbaston on Wednesday, Shami expressed his delight at getting back to doing what he does best.
“(The tour of) South Africa was a long time ago and there have been some off field issues after that. I had to fight a lot in between but my effort was that I have to keep doing what I love most and what is most important to me (cricket),” said the 28-year-old.
“I wanted to just keep doing my job and then see what happens to the rest of the stuff in my life. Whatever difficulties I face, first I wanted to play cricket and keep doing it. The result is in front of us.
“As a bowling unit and as an individual I am very happy today. This is the thing I have worked hard for and we have been able to bring it forward successfully.
“There are ups and downs in life and in your family. But when playing for your country there is a responsibility and when you do that job properly, I think that’s the best thing. So I am very happy with today.”