It was a terrific day of Test cricket at Edgbaston, one that ebbed and flowed, but as is often the case, one moment overshadowed the rest: The send-off Virat Kohli gave Joe Root.
England dominated the first two sessions, with Root putting on partnerships of 72 and 104 with Keaton Jennings and Johnny Bairstow respectively.
Root closed in on a century, Bairstow notched up his half-century, and it was smooth sailing for England when, shortly into the final session, Kohli changed the flow of the game.
Bairstow pushed one into space towards mid-wicket and looked for a quick two, but Kohli chased, slid, gathered and threw, all in one motion, to effect a direct hit at the non-striker’s end with Root diving in vain.
As Root walked back, in evident disappointment at failing yet again to covert a fifty to three figures, Kohli celebrated with typical animation.
The India captain, quite evidently, hadn’t seen the funny side of Root’s mic-drop celebration in the final one-day international against Pakistan at Leeds. Kohli blew kisses, pressed his fingers to his lips, asking the crowd to pipe down, and then seemed to mouth expletives as he gestured the mic drop.
It could well be the moment that lights up the series.
Afterwards, Jennings, who scored a solid 42 before fortune deserted him, took the diplomatic route. “Everybody is entitled to celebrate how they want to,” said the 26-year-old opening batsman. “He (Kohli) celebrated, and that’s cool.”
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 1, 2018
It’s not entirely clear at this point how the International Cricket Council will look at the incident, though. The governing body is cracking down on player behaviour, and evidence on video might prompt Jeff Crowe, the match referee, to investigate.
That said, Kohli was a fair distance from the stump mics and the on-field umpires, and with little concrete evidence, it is unclear how Crowe can hand down a disciplinary charge to the Indian captain.
Kohli won’t mind either way, perhaps. His moment of magic changed the day. From 216-3, England slid to 285-9 by stumps, with Ravichandran Ashwin returning 4-60.
Kohli, and India, will take that.