August 2, 2018
Virat Kohli may have lit the touch-paper on what could prove to be a fiery Test series after the India captain ran out Joe Root on the opening day at Edgbaston and then sent his opposite number packing with a ‘mic drop’ celebration.
It was Root’s own version of the gesture that signed off the one-day series victory by England at Headingley a fortnight ago. Kohli certainly relished offering a repeat when he capitalised on an error by Root and Jonny Bairstow, removing the former for 80 with a smart pick up and throw from the leg side as the pair attempted a second run.
While his accompanying comments may have included some swearing – and the International Cricket Council is cracking down on player behaviour – there appeared to be little evidence by which the match referee, Jeff Crowe, could hand down a disciplinary charge given Kohli’s distance from the stump microphones and on-field officials.
England’s Keaton Jennings looked to play down the incident after stumps – “Everybody is entitled to celebrate how they want to. That’s how he celebrated and that’s cool,” he said – and offered a positive spin on a disappointing day for the host side, with Root’s demise the first of a six‑wicket collapse after tea that saw them close on 285 for nine.
The opener, who made 42 before playing on to Mohammed Shami, said: “There has been a missed opportunity for us but after 88 overs there was still quite a bit of lateral movement. So with [close to] 300 on the board, if we can be relentless when we bowl you don’t actually know what a good score is until both sides have batted.”
On his own dismissal, which came the ball after a pigeon had landed close to the pitch and interrupted proceedings briefly, Jennings said: “I obviously made an error and misjudged the ball and it’s ended up on my stumps. You refocus between each ball and I wouldn’t say [the pigeon] distracted me at all.”
England have confirmed Ben Stokes could yet feature in the second Test at Lord’s next Thursday should his trial for affray in Bristol, which begins on Monday, be adjourned on its first or second day. The all-rounder, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge, is due to miss the match.