James Anderson led from the front and Matthew Potts landed the prize scalp of Virat Kohli as England made the running on day one of their rearranged series-decider against India.
England had the the tourists 174 for five at tea on a rain-interrupted afternoon at Edgbaston, with Rishabh Pant (53 not out) and Ravindra Jadeja (32no) steering a fightback.
The pair were in the midst of a lively counter-attack worth 76 but Anderson’s haul of three wickets and another two from Potts, including star man Kohli for 11, meant England were handily placed.
Home skipper Ben Stokes inserted India after winning the toss, emboldened by his side’s three fearless run chases in the series whitewash over New Zealand and hoping to maximise the morning cloud cover.
Nobody does that better than Anderson and he ensured England got something to show for their first crack with the new ball. Gill had banked almost half-an-hour at the crease and was just starting to move through the gears when he pushed hard at Anderson on 17 and fed Zak Crawley at second slip.
With the ball seaming around handily the stage seemed set for Cheteshwar Pujara, who has acclimatised in prolific fashion during an overseas spell at Sussex. But his calm start never evolved into anything more threatening.
Having rightly overturned a caught behind off Broad on 13 he did not add to his score, tempted forward by Anderson after a change of ends and nicking a lifting delivery for Crawley’s second catch of the morning. The Kent batter put one down in between his two successful takes, sparing Hanuma Vihari after Potts got the better of him.
Kohli received a loud but mixed reception as he strode out at number four, reflecting his broader A-list status more than his modest recent run, but he had barely begun when rain arrived. The players were kept off for over two hours, including an early lunch, but Potts almost made it worth the wait when the first ball back pinged perilously close to leg stump via Kohli’s inside edge.
The Durham seamer continued steaming in and proceeded to pick up two big wickets in seven deliveries.
Vihari was first, for a leaden-footed lbw, but the main event saw Kohli flattening his own stumps with a drag-on. Unsure whether to leave or play in the channel he did not commit fully to either option and paid the price, with the
Eric Hollies Stand bidding him “cheerio” as Potts revelled in the moment.
Having dismissed New Zealand captain Kane Williamson three times in four innings, Potts’ knack of landing the biggest fish had struck again.
By the time Sam Billings pulled off an acrobatic one-gloved catch down leg, Shreyas Iyer having been suckered in by an Anderson bouncer than jagged off the seam, India were in trouble at 98 for five.
Pant trusted his attacking instincts to see him through, swinging hard in pursuit of the boundaries that would shift the pressure.
He offered up a chance off Broad just five, but Joe Root’s take at slip was not approved by the third umpire. From there he racked up a run-a-ball half-century, including a three-ball sequence of two fours and a six off Jack Leach’s spin.
With Jadeja for support, India clawed back some of the lost ground heading into an extended final session.
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