5 talking points from England vs India day one as Woakes makes dream return

The first day of the fourth Test between England and India at Headingley ended with the game finely poised, as 13 wickets fell on a dramatic start to the game.

Chris Woakes marked his return to the team with four wickets as England bowled India out for just 191, but India fought back with the ball and were able to get the in-form Joe Root out cheaply.

After winning the toss and choosing to bowl first, it was Woakes who made the first breakthrough, getting Rohit Sharma caught behind with a beauty for 11.

Ollie Robinson then removed KL Rahul for 17, before James Anderson got Cheteshwar Pujara caught behind for 4.

Ravi Jadeja, surprisingly pushed up to number five, battled hard for a while before getting caught at slip for 10 off Woakes.

India captain Virat Kohli reached 50 but he could not go on and reach three figures, falling to Robinson for the third time in this series.

Ajinkya Rahane was then dismissed on the stroke of tea for 14, with Craig Overton picking up his first wicket of the match thanks to an excellent catch from Moeen Ali.

Rishabh Pant did get a life after he was dropped by Overton off the bowling of Woakes, but he perished soon after, getting caught at mid-off by Ali after a reckless hoick.

Shardul Thakur then looked to play some shots and struck 10 boundaries in an excellent counter-attacking knock.

Thakur made 57, the highest score in the Indian innings, before he was out LBW to Woakes.

England then managed to finish the innings off quickly, with just one more run added for the final two wickets as India were bowled out for 191.

In response, England reached 53-3 at close of play, with Dawid Malan and the nightwatchman Craig Overton the two not out batters.

Rory Burns was the first wicket to fall, getting bowled by Jasprit Bumrah for five, and Haseeb Hameed soon followed for a 12 ball duck.

India then got the key wicket of Root for just 21, with Umesh Yadav bowling him with a delivery which nipped back.

Malan and Overton were able to see England through to the end of day one and here are five talking points from the day's play.

Woakes' dream return

Ahead of the Test, Joe Root described the last year as "an absolute nightmare" for Woakes, who last played a Test match in August 2020.

He missed the Test series against Sri Lanka after Moeen Ali tested positive for coronavirus and Woakes was found to be a close contact and he has also been struggling with a heel injury.

However, the 32-year-old was able to make his return at The Oval and he could not have wished for a better start to his spell, bowling a wicket maiden to remove Sharma.

Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, former England captain Michael Vaughan said: "That's a nice start back for Chris Woakes. He is a wizard for the England team because he can produce a bit of magic. That was a beauty."

Woakes ended the day with figures of 4-55, having also dismissed Jadeja, Pant and Thakur and it could have been more if England had held their catches.


Anderson's impressive record against Pujara

Anderson has bowled excellently throughout this series and he has enjoyed an impressive record when going up against Pujara.

In every single one of India's first innings, Anderson has dismissed Pujara for a single figure score.

Anderson got Pujara caught behind for four in the first Test at Trent Bridge and then caught at third slip for nine at Lord's.

Pujara was then caught behind again at Headingley, this time for just one, before Anderson dismissed him once more at The Oval for four.

Interestingly, Anderson is yet to dismiss Pujara at all in the second innings this series.

It was also the 11th time that Anderson has got him out in Test cricket, meaning no other player has dismissed Pujara more often.

Jadeja above Rahane

Rahane has been struggling for form in this series so far and he is currently averaging 19, prompting talk about whether he should be dropped.

Despite keeping him in the team for the fourth Test, India dropped him down the order, with Jadeja getting promoted ahead of him and Pant.

Speaking on Sky Sports, former England captain Michael Atherton said: "I suspect they want to get through the hardest bit of the day – or what they perceive to be the hardest bit of the day – and just provide a little bit of a buffer for Rahane and Pant. But really what it shows is that India are a batsman light. They can’t quite balance the side properly."

Former West Indies quick Michael Holding added: "I think perhaps they have put Jadeja up there as he is a left-hander. They put him there to try and break up the right-handers at the top of the order or they figured that the bowling was just too spot-on for the right-handers."

However, the move was unsuccessful, with Jadeja getting caught at slip by Root for just 10.

Thakur's counter-attack

Recalled to the team for his abilities with the ball, it was with the bat that Thakur made an impact on day one as he launched a fabulous counter-attack on England's seamers.

He walked in with India 127-7 and put on a 64-run partnership with Umesh Yadav.

Thakur smashed three sixes and seven fours in his knock and made the fastest ever fifty at The Oval, breaking a record held by Sir Ian Botham.

He was eventually given out LBW for 57, having top scored for India, and his knock could be crucial as India picked up three early wickets before the close of play.

Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, former England bowler Jonathan Agnew said: "Thakur's tremendous innings comes to an end. Well done Chris Woakes. That was violent but extremely entertaining."

No Ashwin again

The absence of Ravichandran Ashwin from the India team has been a talking point throughout this series and the off-spinner was once again left out at The Oval.

Explaining the reasons behind Ashwin's absence, Kohli said: "England have four left-handers and we thought it is a good match-up for Ravindra Jadeja along with the seam bowlers. Plus the balance Jadeja gives us with the bat is important."

However, many former players disagreed with Ashwin's omission, with legendary spinner Shane Warne telling Sky Sports: "I would have played Ashwin.

"It is going to turn here, you don't pick a side just for the first innings, it will turn. Plus, he's got five Test hundreds, you're playing a batsman as well as someone who can bowl."

Former England spinner Phil Tufnell told BBC Test Match Special: "I can't believe India have left out Ravichandran Ashwin again. Is there another Test team in the world who would leave out one of the best-ranked bowlers in the world?"

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