Yorkshire Day suddenly fell flat for England at Edgbaston as Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root’s high hopes were dashed against India.
England were on course for a substantial first-innings total while Root (80) and his fellow Yorkshireman Bairstow (70) were sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 104 in only 23 overs.
But just as the hosts threatened to dominate their 1,000th Test, Root was cut off in his prime – run out, once more short of a 14th Test century which has eluded him for the past year.
Ravi Ashwin finished with four for 60 as England folded to an underwhelming 285 for nine at stumps.
England would have been all out, in fact, had a tough caught-behind chance been held when Sam Curran edged Mohammad Shami’s penultimate ball of day one.
For his trouble, the first of three wickets to fall for eight runs from 216 for three, Root’s misfortune was accompanied by a full-house ‘send-off’ from his opposite number Virat Kohli.
It was the India captain who produced the brilliant piece of fielding, with a direct-hit throw on the turn when Bairstow called for an ambitious second run after playing the ball barely to the edge of the square at midwicket.
Behind Root as he stormed off, Kohli then celebrated by blowing a kiss, mouthing some fruity advice, putting his finger to his lips and adding a “mic-drop” mime – mocking Root’s gesture last month, after clinching the one-day international series at Headingley with a second successive hundred. It seemed Bairstow owed his captain some extra runs, and he might have been well-advised to stay put for other reasons, too – but he got little further before he edged onto his own stumps trying to cut Umesh Yadav.
Then new England vice-captain Jos Buttler was lbw for a second-ball duck, pushing forward to Ashwin – and after Ben Stokes poked a catch back at the off-spinner, it was left to Curran and Adil Rashid to limit the damage.
It was a miserable passage of play for England in the hour after tea, on a day when they had long seemed sure to vindicate Root’s decision to bat first on a pitch of even pace and true bounce.
Root did at least bag one notable career milestone, displacing Alastair Cook as his country’s quickest to 6,000 Test runs when he reached 40 here.
Afterwards, England batsman Keaton Jennings insisted Kohli was entitled to celebrate however he wanted after pulling off the brilliant run-out of Root which turned day one in India’s favour.
Jennings had earlier helped Root put on 72 for the second wicket, but was long back in the pavilion by the time the captain was short of his ground answering Bairstow’s improbable call for a second run.
“Everybody is entitled to celebrate how they want to,” said Jennings. “He celebrated, and that’s cool.”
It remains to be seen whether match referee Jeff Crowe takes the same view, or decides instead some censure is in order for Kohli.
As for relations between Root and Bairstow, Jennings confirmed no hard feelings – despite the former’s obvious annoyance at losing his wicket through little fault of his own.
“It’s fine,” said the opener. “That’s cricket… it’s based on human error. Whether it was a mix-up, I don’t know, I wasn’t in the middle. It’s down to them to shake hands, have a beer tonight and sort it out.” Asked if England were disappointed with their close-of-play score, Jennings said: “Yes and no.
“It has been a little bit of a missed opportunity for us. So from our point of view, we’ve got [nearly] 300 on the board – and if we can come out and be pretty relentless tomorrow, you don’t actually know what a good score is until both sides have batted.”
Ashwin was chosen as India’s only spinner and after his four-wicket haul his seam-bowling team-mate Shami has no issue with the tourists’ selection.
“You can’t say that we will miss an extra spinner,” he said. “We have to play with what we have got, believe in the team selection – and work harder... without thinking of what you are missing.”