Mon, Aug 06, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Stokes stars in England win over India

ALL-ROUNDERS STEP UP:Man-of-the-match Sam Curran backed up his 4-74 in the first innings with 63 runs to set a target that India fell short of, thanks to Ben Stokes

AFP, BIRMINGHAM, England

England’s Ben Stokes celebrates a wicket against India at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England, on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Ben Stokes starred on Saturday as England beat India by 31 runs to win a thrilling first Test at Edgbaston, drawing first blood in the five-match series.

The all-rounder took three wickets on the decisive fourth day, including the prized scalp of India captain and first-innings centurion Virat Kohli.

Fellow England all-rounder Sam Curran was named man-of-the-match after starring with both bat and ball.

KOHLI KEY

It might be too simple to say “get Kohli out and you get India out,” but perhaps not by too much. The India captain made a masterful 149 in the first innings as he completed a maiden Test century on English soil. In the process he scored more runs in one innings than the 134 he managed in 10 knocks during his first Test tour of England four years ago.

For as long as Kohli was batting in India’s second innings, they had hope of reaching a victory target of 194, but when he was out for 51, England were on their way.

Kohli scored exactly 200 runs in the match, but, concerningly for the tourists, he was the only India batsman to make a 50 in either innings.

The skipper was downbeat after the match, despite his 22nd Test ton.

“It was just like any hundred I score,” he said. “Back in the day I used to think about playing in different conditions, different countries, but when you become captain it’s about taking your team across the line.”

CURRAN MATURES

Before this match there were concerns that Curran lacked the pace to trouble international batsmen and that he in turn might struggle to score runs against Test attacks.

The Surrey left-arm swing bowler, playing just his second match at this level, responded by taking a Test-best 4-74 in India’s first-innings of 274.

He then revived England after they slumped to 87-7 in their second innings with a dashing 63 — his maiden Test 50 — that took them to 180 all out and meant India faced a challenging target.

STOKES FACTOR

Stokes is the kind of cricketer all captains want in their side — someone with the ability to make things happen with bat or ball.

With India edging their way toward victory on Saturday, it was no surprise when England captain Joe Root brought the Durham all-rounder on as first change.

It was typical of Stokes that he had dangerman Kohli out LBW with just his third delivery and three balls later had Mohammed Shami caught behind to leave India floundering at 141-8.

However, England face the tricky decision of balancing their side without Stokes, as he is set to miss next week’s second Test at Lord’s because of a clash of dates with his trial on a charge of affray.

SLIP-UPS

England and India resembled one another in their poor close-catching. Several slips chances went down to the despair of bowlers on both sides, who deserved better support from their fielders.

Dawid Malan will have been particularly relieved that England emerged victorious after twice flooring Kohli, on 21 and 51, in the cordon during the skipper’s century.

ULTIMATE TESTS

Test matches have been providing cricket fans with thrills and spills for 141 years and this match was a prime example.

For all the blistering big-hitting of the white-ball game, the way the momentum shifted from one day to the next at Edgbaston, culminating in a gripping final session, underlined that nothing in cricket can beat the drama of a hard-fought Test.

It was a particularly timely reminder to the England and Wales Cricket Board of the long game’s enduring worth as it continues planning to reinvent the wheel by launching a proposed 100-ball format in 2020.

This story has been viewed 3213 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top