England Beat India: 5 Things We Learnt From The 1st Test

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It was a blockbuster Test match at Edgbaston where fans witnessed an epic spectacle. The match swung one way and the other throughout, but in the end, England went on to beat India by 31 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the 5-match series. Ben Stokes dismissed Hardik Pandya, who was the last wicket to fall, as England celebrated a stunning victory inside 4 days.
Stokes was the chief architect of England’s victory with 4/40 in the 2nd innings. In pursuit of 194, India was bowled out for 162 runs with Virat Kohli top-scoring with 51.
While India came up short, their performance was a far cry from their dismal tour in 2014. That bodes well for the remainder of the series, what promises to be a keenly contested affair.
Let us have a look at the things we learned from the first Test at Edgbaston.
All-round Curran can deliver a solid punch

Sam Curran
Sam Curran’s decisive 2nd innings run won England the First Test of the series (Image: Cricwizz)

It was a dream performance by England youngster Sam Curran, who was by far the best player for England, in this Test. The 20-year-old ran riot and picked 4 wickets in the first innings including a fiery spell where he took 3 important scalps.
His demeaning spell put India on the back foot and from there on it also helped the others to come in and continue the positive work. His vitality came into existence in the 2nd innings where he hit a commanding 63-run knock after England were reeling at 87/7.
Those runs made the difference in the end. The performance drew praise from skipper Joe Root, who feels he now has two Ben Stokes in the side. Curran showed the resolve with both bat and ball.
Stokes produces two phases of gold
Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes was instrumental on the last day to win the test for his side (Image: Hindustan Times)

The hero for England was Ben Stokes and he bowled like a lion in both the innings.
The all-rounder bowled a lethal spell in tandem with James Anderson to get Ajinkya Rahane and Dinesh Karthik as India came down to 100/5 in the first innings. While Rahane was caught fishing, DK was done by a classic in-swinger. He also had Hardik Pandya in all sorts of trouble.
Stokes then came hard on Day 4 and got Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami in the same over. It changed the game completely. The all-rounder sealed the victory by having Hardik Pandya caught at first slip to finish with 4-40. England was magnificent with the ball and Stokes played a prime role in that.
Indian batsmen did not apply themselves
England vs India 1st Test
The Sorry story of oversees tour continues for Shikhar Dhawan. How long will India persist with him? (Image: Cricketcountry.com)

The Indian batsmen did not do enough and never showed the temperament needed to hang in there. There is no doubt that England bowled well, but when one looks at some of the dismissals, the shots on offer were poor.
Shikhar Dhawan’s footwork was missing after getting a start in both innings. The nothing shot saw him edge the ball twice. Similar story continued with a struggling Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul who struggled to get going.
But the worst of them all was Ajinkya Rahane, who might be dropped for the 2nd Test as he looked clueless in both the innings. The vice-captain struggled to get going and looked like a player in major need of confidence and mental strength. India needed its batsmen to step up and they couldn’t deliver when it mattered.
Credit to Indian bowlers for 20 wickets
The spin-pace duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma almost won the match for India (Image inuth.com)

The Indian bowlers continued their good work and picked 20 wickets. Together the pacers did a commendable job and were brilliant just like they had done well in South Africa earlier this year.
Ishant Sharma was the star of the show with a five-for in the 2nd innings that included three scalps in an over. He ran in with a lot of steam and intensity. Mohammed Shami showed that he is on top of his fitness and put in a valuable shift.
Umesh Yadav bowled quick and chipped in. The man of the moment was Ravichandran Ashwin, who was superb with 7 wickets to his name and got Alastair Cook twice. He handled the new ball well while opening the innings. This shows the character of this attack, who promises more fireworks in coming time.
Nobody better than Kohli
Virat Kohli was by-far the best batsman on the field (Image: NDTV Sports)

He was the best batsman on the field by a margin. The 149 runs Kohli scored in the first inning is definitely one of his best and the manner in which he showed the calmness to battle tough period shows why he is such a treat.
The modern-day great also showed his value in the 2nd innings and almost pulled off a victory. He batted well with the tail and added 92 runs in the first innings and the run-out of Joe Root was exceptional as well.
Overall, from his captaincy to the decision making shown, Kohli was at a different level. Kohli got 200 or more runs for the 11th time in a Test and leads the proceedings by an Indian batsman.
What more he needs to do to win? We certainly are getting back to the 90’s where Tendulkar had to carry the team the way Kohli is doing presently.

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