James Anderson, who ran through the Indian middle-order on Thursday, revealed that England were not deflated by the giant opening partnership and knew that they could trigger a collapse if they broke the stand. Anderson further said that it was ‘unusual’ to see Kohli perish so early in his innings.
On Day 1 England posted a below-par first-innings total of 183, but the hosts entered Day 2 knowing that, in bowling friendly conditions, they had an opportunity to hurt a wounded Indian batting unit. However, to England’s utter dismay, India showed no signs of fragility as almost two hours into the day, the two openers held fort, preventing England from striking even once. Both Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were disciplined and impenetrable, and together the duo posted India’s highest opening stand in England in 14 years, looking like they were on their way to break records.
Minutes before lunch, however, against the run of play, Rohit hooked a Ollie Robinson short ball straight to the fielder at fine leg, and the lapse in concentration triggered a remarkable collapse. England came out on the other side of lunch fired up, and with the clouds assisting the bowlers, the seamers ran through the Indian middle-order. 97/0 became 104/2 in 15 balls, and soon 104/2 became 112/4 as the hosts roared back into the game.
The man who triggered the collapse, unsurprisingly, was Jimmy Anderson, and speaking post the day’s play, the veteran revealed that England at no point were deflated, and knew that they had a chance if they hung in there.
"We knew if we got one wicket we could maybe get a cluster - and that's what we did,” Anderson said on Thursday.
"We stuck to our task really well as a group. I thought it was a really good fightback.
"To get a couple of quick ones like that was important, especially Virat, with him being such an influential player for them. It's always good to get him early."
Anderson incited the collapse by dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara for 4, but it was his dismissal of Virat Kohli that sent the internet into a meltdown. Having failed to dismiss the Indian skipper across 5 Tests in the 2018 tour, Anderson drew an outside edge off Kohli on the first ball on Thursday to send the Indian skipper packing for a golden duck.
It was the first time Anderson had dismissed Kohli in 7 years, and the 39-year-old revealed that there was an outpour of emotion post the wicket. Anderson further said that it was ‘unusual’ to see Kohli be enticed into a false stroke that early, with the Indian skipper poking his bat to a fourth-stump delivery that seamed away after swinging in.
“I feel like I’ve challenged Virat in that area before. He either played or missed or left it. He’s always been good enough to sort of get through and today it was just one of those days where he nicked it. Getting Kohli out that early was quite unusual,” Anderson said.
“He’s such a big wicket. To bowl the ball exactly where I wanted it to and for him to nick it as well. It was just an outpouring of emotions to get the team back into the game. Getting their best player out is something that doesn't happen all that often.”
Thursday was a great day on the field for England, but off the field, however, they were delivered news that could have serious ramifications for both the WT20 and The Ashes. Anderson described Jofra Archer’s injury as a ‘huge disappointment’, but hoped for the speedster fully recover and come back stronger, something he himself has done many a time over the course of his 19-year career.
"It's a huge disappointment for Jofra and the team. He has been a really influential part of the team for the last couple of years,” Anderson said of Archer.
"He's a huge miss with what is coming up in the rest of the year but, also, I think this injury is something that has been bugging him for quite a while so hopefully this can now be the end of it - get it healed, rehab it and come back stronger.
"As I say, he has been great for this team and we want him back, fully fit and firing."