Tuesday 29 September, 2020

India relying on Kohli again after Curran keeps England alive

James Anderson looks on as Virat Kohli scores runs.

James Anderson looks on as Virat Kohli scores runs.

India are relying on Virat Kohli to rescue them again after a thrilling third day on Friday in the first Test at Edgbaston in which England's Sam Curran starred once more.

Kohli's maiden Test hundred in England enabled India to keep pace with the hosts in their first innings, and they will be hoping for another pivotal effort from their captain as they reached stumps at 110-5 and requiring 84 runs to win the first Test.

Joe Root's men were 86-6 as Ishant Sharma (5-51) ran riot prior to lunch and he dismissed Jos Buttler (1) with the second ball of the second session to put India in command.

However, Curran, who claimed figures of 4-74 in India's first innings, cut loose in just his second Test for a stunning 63 off 65 deliveries that included nine fours and two maximums.

His efforts set India a target of 194, but Stuart Broad (2-29) struck early with the new ball to remove opening duo Murali Vijay (6) and Shikhar Dhawan (13).

By the close of play 14 wickets had fallen on Thursday, with the tension mounting as Kohli sat unbeaten on 43 and with the outcome in the match tantalisingly in the balance.

England resumed on 9-1 after losing Alastair Cook to Ravichandran Ashwin in the final session on Thursday and the off-spinner kept the pressure on to account for Keaton Jennings (8) and Root (14) with the assistance of two fine catches from KL Rahul.

Ishant dismissed Dawid Malan (20) with a sweet out-swinger around the wicket before a phenomenal lunch-interrupted over saw him he tempt edges from Jonny Bairstow (28), Ben Stokes (6) and Buttler to turn the complexion of the match well in India's favour.

Curran changed that, though. The 20-year-old drove Ashwin (3-59) to the ropes third ball and oozed class as he built a 48-run partnership with Adil Rashid (16), who had his off stump knocked down by Umesh Yadav (2-20) after Dhawan clumsily dropped him.

A magnificent six to the extra cover boundary off Ishant brought up Curran's half-century, but his blistering knock was brought to an end when he edged Yadav behind to Dinesh Karthik.

England may have worried their difficulties in the field were set to continue when Malan, who spilled the ball twice on Thursday, let Vijay slip through his fingers, but Bairstow took his first of four catches as Broad removed Dhawan.

After Ajinkya Rahane (2) sent Curran back to Bairstow, India promoted Ashwin from eight to six in a bid to provide the immovable Kohli with some stability.

The move failed to pay off as Ashwin feathered James Anderson behind on 13 to leave India at 78-5.

Karthik (18 not out) was able to see out the remainder of the day to set up a mouthwatering first session on Saturday, in which England will try to solve their Kohli conundrum.

Scores in the match:- England 287 & 180; India 274 & 110-5.

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