James Anderson makes Virat Kohli rue his call as England dominate Headingley Test

Hosts dismiss India for a paltry 78 and then enjoy a century stand from their openers

Just when everyone thinks they have Test cricket all figured out, Virat Kohli goes and wins a toss and everything goes haywire.

For the second time in the past eight months, India’s captain called correctly ahead of an away Test match, and chose to bat. This time around his side were bowled out for a measly 78 on a wild first day at Headingley.

Which was at least an improvement on the last time, back at Adelaide in December in a Test which ended with India being bowled out for 36.

That was their worst ever Test total. Their first innings at Headingley this time around was their seventh lowest.

Few could have seen it coming given the lead in to the game. India were riding high on the fumes of one of their most famous wins last time out. Their hosts, by contrast, were stuck in the doldrums.

Things had only got worse for England after their final day capitulation at Lord’s. Fast bowler Mark Wood was added to an invalid list that already included Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, amongst others.

All of which meant they started a Test match with a bowling attack in which 39-year-old James Anderson was the fastest.

And yet their battery of seamers proved ideally suited to the task, given the friendly bowling conditions.

It was Anderson who started it, with the wicket of KL Rahul – who had been player of the match last time out – for a duck with the fifth ball of the match.

By the time Anderson finished his spell, he had figures of three for six – which also included the prized wicket of Kohli - off eight overs.

Given he had taken all the wickets by that point, it added further weight to the idea that England’s oldest players carries this side.

And yet his young proteges were only too happy to pick up the slack. Ollie Robinson took the next two wickets to fall, before Craig Overton and Sam Curran each had the chance of hat-tricks.

Between them, Overton and Curran took four wickets for no runs in the space of six balls.

Coincidentally, the score was stuck on 67 at that point. If England needed any reminder as to the fact the game was far from won as yet, then that was the score they had made in the first innings of their epic, Ben Stokes-inspired Ashes win at the same ground two years ago.

Happily for the home side, their new, ponytailed opening partnership set about making sure England consolidated their dominance.

By the close, Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed had yet to be parted, taking England to 120 for no loss, and a lead of 42.

Updated: August 25th 2021, 5:50 PM
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