Although the conditions clearly favored the fast Kiwi line-up in, there were indeed some moments of brilliance from the Indian batsmen who applied themselves in raging swing conditions. Let's take a quick bite of everything that transpired during the 1st innings at Southampton!
A Commendable Opening Stand
For batsmen opening the for the 1st time in England, both Shubhman and Rohit looked a class apart. The way they negotiated the brutal swing from Boult and Jamieson calls for a praise. A good start was provided by them for the team which provided a foundation for the likes of Kohli, Rahane to come and express themselves. This 62-run stand was broken by Rohit falling prey to an outswinger by Jamieson, caught by Southee.
Packing it Up!
Having stitched a good 50+ stand between the captain and vice-captain, 143/3 at stumps promised an innings total of anywhere between 270-300. But as time would have had it, the new day brought new challenges for the Indian batsmen. The Kiwi pacers were paltry, with even the likes of Grandhomme generating a massive bit of deviation from the surface. The Indian skipper was the first victim of this Domino effect. Some late resistance was provided by the likes of Jadeja and Ashwin which saw India crossing 200 and bundling out for a rather respectable total off 217 at the end of their innings, with Rahane top-scoring at 49.
The Masters of Movement
Initially setting off the wrong foot for the first 15 overs, the Kiwis had a solid comeback and made full use of the swing-friendly conditions at The Ageas Bowl. Each of their bowler extracted swing and bounce from the surface, bowling tight lines to restrict scoring opportunities for India. The pick of the bowlers was Jamieson, finished with a 5-for with Boult and Wagner picking 2 wickets apiece.
But one can't write off the Indians yet. Coming out with an experienced and in-form bowling attack, these 217 runs could prove to be a daunting task for the Kiwis to scale, with new bowlers likely to extract swing with old ball too. A keen eye will also be on how the 2 spinners will fare in these swing friendly conditions.
The game is well poised and one good session from India is enough to change the context of the match. The summary of 2nd innings will be available on my next blog.
Stay awesome and keep hitting!!