Jennings, Root steady after Cook falls cheaply



Keaton Jennings was put down on 9 by Ajinkya Rahane. © Getty

How many would have put their money on a spinner picking up the first wicket of the series in English conditions?

Ravichandran Ashwin, who has made a habit of proving people wrong through his career, produced a peach of a delivery in his second over – the ninth of the innings, to remove Alastair Cook. Since then, Joe Root and opener Keaton Jennings dug in well to forge a fifty partnership and keep the Indian bowlers at bay till Lunch of the first day of the five-match Test series in Birmingham.

India, who started the first Test with one spinner, no Cheteshwar Pujara and Hardik Pandya as their all-rounder, began proceedings with Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav as the new-ball bowlers. While Umesh sprayed it either on the pads or too far outside off, Ishant seemed to embrace the leader’s role, apart from the workhorse’s, well. Ishant, bowling his first over, beat Cook twice on the forward defence with some sharp seam movement. Although Cook survived Ishant’s incisive opening overs, Jennings edged one towards the slip cordon for Ajinkya Rahane to shell it. Rahane, standing at the fourth slip, dived in front of Virat Kohli at third slip, to grass a regulation chance.

Cook fell some time after as Ashwin got one to drift in beautifully before turning enough to beat the opener’s tentative forward prod. After that though, Root alongside Jennings batted cautiously first before putting the bad balls away to move towards a steady fifty-stand. Mohammed Shami came in as the second-change bowler and came close to being the best pacer on show in the session. He even tested Jennings by coming round the wicket and posed a few questions to the left-hander, generating enough movement both off the wicket and in the air.

With a 57-run stand, the duo has done well to ward off the Indian challenge.

Brief Scores: England 83/1 at Lunch (Keaton Jennings 38*, Joe Root 31*; R Ashwin 1-13) vs India.

© Cricbuzz


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