India vs England, 4th Test: England lose four before lunch at Southampton
Jasprit Bumrah took two wickets in a very fine opening spell. @Getty

Virat Kohli lost his fourth toss in a row, said he would have loved to bat first, revealed an unchanged team for the first time in his 39 Tests as captain, and by lunch had helped India keep England  to 57/4 on day one at The Ageas Bowl.

Kohli’s role in England’s sorry state was a terrific reflex catch at third slip to get rid of Alastair Cook for  17 – the latest failure in what has become slow torture for English cricket’s leading run-getter. This left England at 36/4, and another 21 runs were added before lunch.  The credit for India having the upper hand goes primarily to Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma.

After Joe Root chose to bat on a true deck with a slight grass cover, England were reduced to 15/2 inside eight overs courtesy some fine new-ball bowling from Bumrah and Ishant. Keaton Jennings appeared to lose sight of a wildly swinging delivery from Bumrah that stayed low and hit him right in line with the stumps as he chose not to offer a shot. Out for a four-ball duck, Jennings batting average dipped to 21.94; he last got to a Test fifty in December 2016.

Bumrah then over-stepped to give Root a reprieve on 4. The ball was headed straight for leg stump, but another no-ball from Bumrah was a major frustration for India.

As it turned out, it did not cost them a single run. Without adding to his score, Root was out lbw to Ishant, courtesy a very fine delivery that came on with the angle and beat the England captain as he fell forward on his shot. It was Ishant’s 250th Test wicket, and 50th against England.

England scored 26 runs from 12 overs in the first hour and rarely looked comfortable. Jonny Bairstow, playing purely as a batsman, lasted 16 balls before he was made to play at another lovely ball from Bumrah which pitched, straightened and took the edge.

After Ishant bowed out with a terrific opening spell of 6-3-7-1, Hardik Pandya came on ended Cook’s 55-ball vigil on 17, the former England opener cutting and edging low to third slip where Kohli held a very fine catch before the ball could hit the ground.

A fifth chance came India’s way five minutes before lunch when Rishabh Pant got a low catch after a ball from Mohamed Shami nibbled the under edge of Joe Buttler’s bat as he shaped to leave it, but could not hold on. Buttler was dropped by Pant on 1 at Trent Bridge and scored his maiden Test century. What will this drop cost?