It was an uneventful first session in the fourth Test in Mumbai. And England will be very grateful.
The two other times they have batted first in this series, they went into lunch after eventful first sessions. At Rajkot, England’s score at lunch on the first day read 101/3. At Mohali, their score read 92/4.
By contrast, it was a steady 117/1 in Mumbai.
There were a few moments though. Umesh Yadav got one to rise up from an awkward length and got the debutant Keaton Jennings to fend away awkwardly. But Karun Nair only managed a hand on it and it trickled away, another catch dropped off Yadav’s bowling. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, into the team for Mohammed Shami, went for a review after rapping Jennings on his pads, but the original decision of not-out was upheld. Ravichandran Ashwin and Jayant Yadav got two deliveries to turn sharply but England, thankfully, did not get a nick.
Instead, Alastair Cook and debutant Jennings were watchful at the start but slowly grew in confidence as the overs passed by. They were helped by a Wankhede surface which did not seem to have any demons in the surface, but also by a strange piece of captaincy from Virat Kohli. The Indian captain looked happy to give his English counterpart an easy single down the ground, ensuring England rotated the strike whenever required.
Jennings got to his half-century and it looked like Cook would follow him, but as has been the tone of this series, a rush of blood accounted for him. After hitting boundaries in the overs preceding it, the England captain stepped out to Ravindra Jadeja in his first over and was deceived all ends up, to be out stumped for 46. It was, on the whole, a waste of a wicket after the good work he had done.
England 117/1 (Keaton Jennings 65 not out, Alastair Cook 46; Ravindra Jadeja 1/6) vs India