Day two: Kohli's gritty ton gives India the edge

Indian captain Virat Kohli scored a marvellous 149 to steer India to 274 and rescue his side from a batting collapse. England leads by 22 runs at the end of day two of the first test.

Indian captain Virat Kohli celebrates after completing his century against England on Thursday. This was his first hundred on English soil.   -  AP

A loud, eager cheer echoed around Edgbaston as James Anderson ran in to bowl to Virat Kohli for the first time on Thursday. This was a contest that had been awaited and built up for four years, one billed as a test of Kohli's mettle, a barometer of India's chances in England. This was a battle, quite simply, that a whole series had been distilled down to. Kohli lost and won; Anderson won and lost; in the end India heaved a colossal sigh of relief.

Day two: As it happened

There are days when Test cricket burns slowly, simmers gently, and takes its own, sweet time in the sun to make progress. Then there are days like this: of arresting, unrelenting, intense drama. Anderson had the measure of Kohli for large parts of the second day of the first Test – troubling him, teasing him, testing his patience, finding the edge – but ultimately could not dislodge him. Instead, it was Kohli who thrived, biding his time, soaking up all the stress, and making the most of two dropped chances to produce a marvellous, gritty 149.

His century dragged India to 274, only 13 behind England's first-innings score. The home side had a few tricky overs to get through before the close of play and on came Ravichandran Ashwin, to produce a carbon copy of the delivery that had claimed Alastair Cook in the first innings. At stumps England was nine for one, as Kohli walked off pumping his fist.

India v England, 1st Test: Day Two in pictures

At one stage, though, the prospect of India finishing the day in the ascendancy seemed remote. With the exception of the captain, this was yet another poor batting performance, a desperate struggle against the moving ball. Shikhar Dhawan looked uneasy while K. L. Rahul fell to a bad shot as Sam Curran ripped out the top three with his left-arm swing. India made it to lunch dazed, having lost three for nine in the space of 14 balls.

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There was worse to come after the interval, when Ben Stokes roared in from the Pavilion End. Ajinkya Rahane edged him to fourth slip trying to pull out of a shot half an hour into the session. Dinesh Karthik was bowled neck and crop for a duck shortly after.

At the other end, Anderson soldiered on, bowling virtually non-stop. He sent down 15 of the first 16 overs of the innings from the City End, desperately seeking a wicket. Kohli did his best not to be lured into lazy shots but it was still not enough: he edged Anderson behind a few times: a couple of times the ball fell short; on the final occasion it carried to second slip, where David Malan shelled the simplest of chances.

Virat Kohli smashed 22 fours and a six on his way to a mammoth 149 against England on Thursday.

Kohli was on 21 then, a score he would remain on without progress for 26 deliveries. Next ball, from the other end, Stokes drew an edge from Hardik Pandya, but Cook put the offering down at first slip. At 100 for five, India was hanging on precariously. By the time the tea interval came around, Kohli had faced 43 deliveries of Anderson's, managing only six runs off two scoring shots.

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After tea, Kohli was dropped again, off Stokes on 51. It was a difficult chance but Malan was the culprit again. Anderson bowled Ashwin and looked to the heavens, some reward for his efforts at last. But Kohli remained. He added 35 runs for the ninth wicket with Ishant Sharma, and 57 for the tenth with Umesh. He steered Stokes through third man to raise his hundred, and then flogged a tired English attack.