Pacers put India on top on first day of series opener

NOTTINGHAM, Aug 4: Indian pacers breathed fire in helpful conditions to dismiss a vulnerable England batting line-up for 183 and put their team in a strong position on day one of the first Test here today.
Jasprit Bumrah (4/46), who was not at his best during the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, was back in his element and ran through the opposition alongside his new ball partner Mohammad Shami (3/28).
In fact, all the pacers including Mohammad Siraj (1/48) and Shardul Thakur (2/41) made the ball talk throughout the England innings lasting 65.4 overs, vindicating the team management’s decision to go for a four-pronged pace attack while leaving out premier spinner R Ashwin from the playing XI.
Ravindra Jadeja was picked as the sole spinner in the XI ahead of Ashwin, raising a few eyebrows.
In response, K L Rahul, playing his first Test in two years, and Rohit Sharma, took India to 21 for no loss at stumps, surviving 13 testing overs from England fast bowlers.
For a packed crowd at Trent Bridge, it was a treat to watch the Indian pacers display their supreme skills. Shami moved the ball both ways, Bumrah bowled his fast swinging yorkers, Thakur flaunted his natural outswinger and Siraj used the scrambled seam to perfection.
India bowled brilliantly but their job was made easier by the English batsmen, who looked under prepared for red ball cricket after coming fresh from white ball games in The Hundred.
Skipper Joe Root (64) was the only batsman who looked comfortable in the middle and Jonny Bairstow, to a certain extent, as the duo shared a 72-run stand.
England, who were 138 for four at tea, lost their last six wickets for 45 runs and if it was not for Sam Curran’s unbeaten 27 towards the end, they would Shami, who had removed Bairtsow at the stroke of tea, struck four balls after the break by having Daniel Lawrence caught down the leg side, a soft dismissal.
Struggling to get off the mark, Jos Butter attempted a loose drive off Bumrah on his 18th ball only to edge it back to Rishabh Pant.
Thakur got the prized wicket of Root with a beautiful delivery that swung away slightly from the middle and leg stump to crash the England skipper’s pads, trapping him in front. He had Ollie Robinson caught at mid-on three balls later.
Bumrah polished off the tail like he usually does — his fast and full away swingers from middle stump proving too good for left-handers like Stuart Broad and James Anderson.
In the afternoon session, Root and Bairstow frustrated the Indian bowlers with solid Test match batting in challenging conditions, before Shami broke their stand by dismissing the latter.
Like the first session, Indian pacers beat the batsmen regularly but Root and Bairstow (29 off 71) played with grit and patience to thwart their attempts. (PTI)