Yet if the Indian captain, who rode his luck to reach an extraordinary first-innings hundred, hangs around on Saturday morning, India will go on to what would be the best of their seven Test victories in England. India has the screaming crowds for limitedovers cricket, but few grounds create anything approaching an atmosphere for Test matches these days.
Leg spinner Adil Rashid then trapped Ishant Sharma leg before for 11, leaving India still needing 40 runs with only the final wicket in hand.
It was a morale-boosting moment for Malan, who had dropped three slip catches this match, including flooring Kohli on 21 and 51 during the star batsman’s first-innings 149 – his maiden Test century in England.
Ishant had two balls left in an over that had yielded two wickets already and he struck a third time, forcing an out-of-sorts Jos Buttler to poke behind.
Joe Root’s side won the one-day worldwide series between the teams 2-1 and lost the Twenty20 competition by the same margin last month.
Resuming on overnight 110 for five, India folded up for 162 in 54.2 overs despite Kohli’s combative 51 off 93 balls and Hardik Pandya’s 31. His skills are brilliant with the ball, he knows how to set the batsmen up and we have seen talent with the bat.
“He showed terrific discipline, I felt”, added Bangar, a former India batsman.
After Rashid’s departure, there was a noticeable change in Curran’s approach, and much like Kohli in his 149, made a decision to go all guns blazing against the Indian attack in a superb counter-attack. “We need to think how to regroup and get back for the next match”, he said.
“Credit to a great innings there”, said Curran. I have been encouraged by the way I have bowled at him so far. Towards the end of the innings, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav played second fiddle and stood around at the crease for a long time, despite scoring just 5 and 1 respectively. “There is no hiding from this game; we need to be positive, relentless”, Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
England´s Dawid Malan reacts after dropping a catch.
Thanks to Kohli, India were eventually dismissed for 274 – for a first-innings deficit of 13 runs – having been 3-59, 5-100 and 7-169 at various stages.
Kohli opened his shoulders late in his knock and finished with a total of 22 fours and a six off his penultimate ball as he successfully hogged the strike to demonstrate his excellent game management.
But the sight of Kohli walking purposefully from the middle with Dinesh Karthik and a job half done was not what England wanted. The easy thing to do is to criticize the batters, but it isn’t easy taking 20 wickets on a pitch like this. After a couple of dismissals in the second session of the opening day, Root them found valuable support from Jonny Bairstow as the two stitched a century stand between them.
India now looked to Pandya and Ishant Sharma to take them to just their seventh win in 58 Tests in England.
It was virtually Kohli versus England and when the Indian captain was trapped lbw off Ben Stokes in the 47th over, the absorbing game was only heading the home team’s way.
Soon after Kohli completed his fifty he was dropped again by Malan, with Stokes once more the unlucky bowler.