Birmingham: England consolidated their position despite losing Alastair Cook early, reaching 83 for one at lunch on the opening day of the first cricket Test against India, here today.

Keaton Jennings was batting on 38, while skipper Joe Root was unbeaten on 31 at the break after England won the toss and opted to bat. Ravichandran Ashwin (1/13) was the only wicket-taker for India as he bowled Cook (13) with a ripper in the ninth over. The ball pitched on middle and turned away to knock back Cook’s off-stump.

Umesh Yadav (0/29) and Ishant Sharma (0/17) started off the proceedings for India with the new ball, and the latter in particular got a good shape going. Cook and Jennings, both left-handers, struggled against Ishant’s away-going movement. Ishant induced an edge from Jennings when he was on 9 but the chance was dropped in the slips by vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.

To everyone’s surprise, India captain Virat Kohli introduced Ashwin in only the seventh over of the morning, even before Mohammed Shami (0/17) and Hardik Pandya (0/6). The move yielded result instantly when Ashwin bowled Cook in only his second over to give India the breakthrough. It was the eighth time Ashwin had dismissed the left-handed opener in Test cricket. Root, however, started off well and struck a few lusty boundaries to shift the momentum in his side’s favour.

Shami came on as a second-change bowler and bowled a tight first spell, albeit lacking enough penetration to get another wicket for India as England crossed 50 in the 16th over. Jennings played a few pre-meditated sweeps shots against Ashwin, but he settled down soon after a nervous start to add 57 runs for the second wicket with Root.

While the hosts had named their line-up yesterday, India surprisingly left out Cheteshwar Pujara in favour of Shikhar Dhawan, with KL Rahul slated to bat at number three. India also went in with just the lone spinner in Ashwin, supporting a three-pronged pace attack.

Scoreboard at lunch on the opening day of the first cricket Test between India and England here today.

England 1st Innings: 
Alastair Cook b Ashwin   13

Keaton Jennings batting   38

Joe Root batting   31
Extras: (B-0, LB-1, W-0, NB-0) 1
Total: (for 1 wkt in 28 overs)  83
Fall of wickets: 26-1
Bowling: Umesh Yadav 7-0-29-0, Ishant Sharma 6-1-17-0, Ravichandran Ashwin 7-2-13-1, Mohammed Shami 6-1-17-0, Hardik Pandya 2-0-6-0.

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