(England 287 and 180 beat India 274 and 162 by 31 runs)
England rode on key strikes from Ben Stokes (4 for 40), one of which included the big fish Virat Kohli's wicket, to win the first Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham by 31 runs on Saturday (August 4). India began the fourth day at 110 for 5 but kept losing wickets at regular intervals. They were bundled out for a paltry score of 162 after an hour and a half of absorbing cricket which kept most people at the edge of the seats,
Besides Stokes heroics, James Anderson and Stuart Broad chipped in with two wickets apiece while Adil Rashid picked a solitary wicket off four overs. For India, Hardik Pandya (31) stuck around but was left with a lot to do on his own as the tail crumbled around him.
Plays of the Day
All eyes were on Anderson to bowl England to a win. He started well, sending Dinesh Karthik on his way in the very first over of the day. But the major threat was a relentless Kohli who refused to give in. After a five-over spell from Anderson, Joe Root turned to Stokes in desperate need of a wicket and boy he delivered and how! The 21-year-old trapped Kohli (51) with an in-dipper off the third delivery of his spell to shut the door on India. Once Kohli - who accounted for 46% of India's runs in this Test -was in the shed, India were never going to win it.
Performer of the Day
With players like Stokes, it is not always about the numbers but the impact they have on a particular game and Edgbaston was one such example. Even after bagging Kohli's wicket, the Durham allrounder struck in the same over to remove a clueless Mohammed Shami (0) to take England to the brink. He deservingly finished the game off when he found an edge off Hardik Pandya's (31) bat which was safely pouched by Alaistar Cook at first slip. His figures on Day four read 4.2-1-15-3.
England have taken the decisive 1-0 lead. India, however, have some leeway to claw their way back in the series since this is a five-match series. With a cloud over Stokes’ availability for the Lord's Test which starts from Thursday, England quickly need an alternative. Both teams might ponder over picking an extra spinner. India will go back to the drawing board and will have to fare better against the moving ball. Looks like this series will give a lot of joy to Test cricket lovers.